MiraCosta women’s volleyball team sets up impressive debut season under new coach


Aria Ines

The women’s volleyball team huddles around Coach Johnson before practice formally starts in the MiraCosta College gymnasium.

MiraCosta College’s women’s volleyball impressed over a long and difficult season, citing teamwork as their primary reason for success. The Spartans’ 17-6 season ended following a dramatic 3-2 away loss to Moorpark College in the first round of the California Community College Athletic Association regional playoffs.

The Spartans earned themselves a third-place league finish, with many attributing a large portion of the success to head coach David Johnson. Johnson helped improve the team’s record in his first season in charge, notching an imposing 11 wins in Conference play.

“It was a fantastic first season with this group and they have definitely moved the program forward, their contributions will be felt by the next wave of players to come through MiraCosta,” Johnson said.

Behind the team’s solid overall play is Johnson’s unique coaching philosophy, a philosophy he’s cultivated since he started coaching in 1991.

Aria Ines
Head coach David Johnson on his way to greet The Chariot’s journalists during a team practice break.

“I’m a very direct person. I like to talk, I like to argue, and early on I worked really hard at just telling the team what I need them to do,” Johnson said. “If I’m going to ask you to do something, I have to have reasoning behind it. If I have a reason, I’ll get an immediate buy-in from my players.”

Johnson employs a unique approach to focusing his players on the task at hand. Before practice, the coach has his players form a circle and sit quietly for 5 minutes, meditating. Meditation is a common form of self-treatment and is one of Johnson’s favorite strategies against his players’ dissociation.

“It allows them to be present. Whatever you were worried about today, whatever was going on in your daily life at school, work, family, boyfriend, girlfriend – you have 5 minutes to get ready for an hour and forty-five minutes of hard work,” Johnson said.

Johnson’s adaptability as a head coach is also noteworthy.

“I have removed the word ‘don’t’ from my library,” the head coach said. “If I ever use the word don’t, my players are allowed to punch me in the arm and yell, ‘Thank you Captain Obvious.’”

Johnson’s techniques have not gone unnoticed. His players like his coaching style, attributing to it a sense of camaraderie and positive teamwork.

Freshman setter Summer Hoslet, who was an all-league honorable mention, felt confident about her chemistry with her teammates.

“I haven’t been on a team like this before. We’re playing because we love it. We got a new coach this year and he’s done a great job of bringing the team closer,” Hoslett said.

All-league first-team player Madison Nichols also benefited from her relationship with her teammates.

“We have a lot of chemistry on and off the court. We all like to compete, so we push each other to work harder and do better,” said Nichols.

While coaching was a large part of the team’s success, a talented and motivated squad was still necessary. Luckily for Coach Johnson, he had just that.

A number of impressive individual awards accompanied the team’s success. Outside hitter Savannah So’oto was named in the all-league first team, as well as an all-region player, a prestigious award voted by the coaches and given to each of the top 12 players in Southern California.

Alongside Sooto was middle/opposite Nichols, who was also voted into the first-team all-league. The list doesn’t stop there, with libero Paola Peralta and defensive specialist Cameron Martinez both being named to the second-team all-league. Honorable all-league mentions include setter Summer Hoslett, middle/outside hitter Mikayla Hicks, middle Aria Barker, and setter Guilia Cefalu.

Johnson has a lot of respect for his players and what they’ve accomplished.

“This space has become the common denominator for success. I think their commitment to each other as a team is something that makes them special” said Johnson. “They battle for each other, which is the hallmark of a good team”

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