Chaffey player, seven others head to Oklahoma

Seven volleyball players from Southern California, six of whom competed in the Foothill Conference, will be taking their games to a little-known town in Oklahoma in the fall.

The contingent headed to Bacone College in Muskogee, Okla. is headed by Chaffey College libero Emilie Shewmaker and Citrus College setter Janelle Martinez who are close friends.

Rounding out the group are outside hitter Riley Collins of conference champion College of the Desert and outside hitter Dorinda Cherry, outside hitter Amy Mulcock, rightside hitter Jewel Robinson and middle blocker Kami Speir, all out of Mt. San Jacinto.

The fact that eight athletes from the area are headed to a town of 38,000 located a half hour out of Tulsa didn’t happen by accident.

The Bacone program is directed by Indio native Bianca Oakley, who played volleyball and softball at Desert, continued her playing career at Bacone and just completed her first year as head coach.

“She wanted to recruit a lot of California players,” said Shewmaker, who has visited the school twice. “It should be fun with all of us going out there together.”

Shewmaker said had talked to Collins at some tournaments but didn’t know any of the girls from Mt. San Jacinto until meeting one of them on her first visit. Now she is trying to arrange a beach day for the eight to get together before they head off to college.

“It would be nice to get to know each other a little bit before we get there,” she said.

Shewmaker (Don Lugo) played in 61 games and recorded 294 digs for the Panthers, who finished 6-12 overall and 5-7 in Foothill Conference play.

Martinez, a native of Rancho Cucamonga who played at South Hills High School, chalked up 478 assists in 52 games for an average of 9.19 per game for the Owls (10-15, 4-6), who were fourth in the Western States Conference South Division.