Coach looks to breathe life into team after a couple of rough seasons

Emanuel Espinoza, Staff Writer

Cosumnes River College’s volleyball team’s new season brings more than just new players and a fresh start, it comes with a new coach: Cassie Baxter.

Before coming to coach the Hawks, Baxter was an assistant coach for the Sierra College volleyball team, the Wolverines. When she is not coaching, Baxter teaches at a middle school.

Baxter said that she is well aware of the fact that the team hasn’t been doing well, ending their 2013 season at 0-14, according to California Community College Athletic Association, and plans to change that.

“This year we plan to at least compete with our conference at the Big 8,” Baxter said. “In the past, the seasons haven’t gone so well, so we hope to have more wins.”

One way Baxter hopes to turn the team around is through her coaching methods.

“My coaching methods are play to the bitter end and fight as much as possible, as well as building relationships with the girls,” Baxter said. “In practice, we work a lot on individual skill as well as team defense and team offense.”

Freshman outside hitter Jessica Winship said that Baxter is helping the team a lot and encourages them a lot.

“She is nice when she needs to be, and is strict when we deserve it,” Winship said.

Freshman right-side hitter Antoinette Stephens said that Coach Baxter is very real, down-to-earth and straightforward.

“Her coaching methods are very thorough,” Stephens said. “She’ll have us do something over and over again until we get it.”

According to an article on the CRC Hawks’ website, Baxter served as team captain for ARC’s volleyball team in 2005 and as a 2-year captain and starter for the basketball team.

Baxter said she attended El Camino High School and then went to American River College before transferring to Cal State East Bay to play volleyball.

Baxter said that her background is fully in athletics and she teaches physical education at Mills Middle School in Rancho Cordova during the day, and in the afternoon, she coaches volleyball at CRC.

In addition to her credentials as a player, Baxter earned her Bachelor’s of Science degree in kinesiology with an emphasis in physical education teaching from CSEB as well as completed her California K-12 teaching credential afterwards, according to the same article. In the past year Baxter earned a Master’s Degree in education curriculum.

Assistant Coach Molly Hanrahan has known Coach Baxter for five years. They both coach, but she said that Baxter coaches at the college level whereas she coaches at the high school level.

Baxter and Hanrahan have coached the club team at the Sacramento Performance Volleyball Club for the last year and plan to continue next year. They also play volleyball together at La Sierra Community Center, Hanrahan said.

Hanrahan said that it was Baxter who came to her for the assistant coaching position.

“Cassie kind of approached me because we’ve been friends for a while, and played together,” Hanrahan said. “She knew I was looking for a new coaching position. I was looking for a new adventure, so she approached me and asked me if I would be interested. It all kind of followed from there, and I think we’re a great tandem together, we worked well together so far, and it’s been a lot of fun. Right now, we’re really working and feeding off each other really well.”

Athletic director Liz Belyea said that Baxter was referred to her by a couple of a people as a good person to come and coach at CRC.

“She’s outstanding as a coach,” Belyea said. “She knows the game very well and she’s also very enthusiastic and eager to do well, so I think she’ll bring a lot to the team.”