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Chelsea Reilley Takes over as NVC Volleyball Head Coach

Chelsea Reilley looks at her job as the new head volleyball coach at Napa Valley College as a challenge in so many ways.

There is the challenge to turn the program around.

There is the challenge to recruit players and assemble a roster.

There is the challenge to put a team on the floor that can compete and win and contend for a Bay Valley Conference title.

“I am so excited for the season,” Reilley said in a phone interview last week. “There’s still work to be done. I want to get there, to that winning season. I’d love to vie for a conference title and maybe make postseason.

“I do know that it’s a long process. We’re going the right way.”

Reilley was named as the Storm’s coach, replacing Rachel Hadley, who stepped down, Napa Valley Athletic Director Jerry Dunlap announced. Hadley is leaving the area and relocating to Southern California.

Reilley resigned after three seasons as Justin-Siena High School’s coach. She led the Braves to a 39-33 overall record, with three straight appearances in the CIF North Coast Section playoffs and two trips to the CIF State Championships. Justin-Siena won the Vine Valley Athletic League title in 2018.

“We definitely are very excited to have Chelsea join us,” said Dunlap. “She’s very familiar with our staff at Napa Valley College. To have somebody like Chelsea right there, wanting to do it, just made things a lot easier. She knows what she’s doing. We knew we were getting a quality person already. It’s kind of been seamless, just moving her in.

“We had the opportunity to watch her coach at Justin the past few years, and she did an outstanding job there. What’s really exciting, too, she has been in the (VVAL) the past few years at Justin-Siena and has a really nice rapport with local high school coaches, and has been doing an excellent job recruiting so far, this offseason, especially during these times.

“At our level, it’s about who can we get in – what kind of student-athletes we can have on our campus. That recruiting piece is a huge factor, and she’s hit the ground running. It sounds like she has some good recruits coming in.”

Napa Valley didn’t win a match during the 2018 season, going 0-18.

The Storm ended the 2019 season in victorious fashion, sweeping its last two Bay Valley matches, against Contra Costa-San Pablo, 3-0, and against Mendocino-Ukiah, 3-0. The program was led by Hadley and Robert Stamps, the Director of Volleyball.

“They put so much effort and time into it to rebuild,” said Reilley. “I think being able to step in this year, we’ve seen huge strides. I’m thankful to them for everything they’ve done. Their hard work definitely shows.”

Napa Valley (6-16 overall, 4-10 Bay Valley) finished seventh in the conference and was 4-6 in its last 10 matches.

The Storm started off last year’s season by winning its opening match of the Napa Valley Classic, 3-2 over Lassen Susanville. They began the San Jose Classic the following week by beating Skyline-San Bruno, 3-2, in an opening match.

Cassidy Schweizer, a sophomore setter, and Sophia Green, a sophomore libero, were named to the All-Bay Valley team. Schweizer was selected second-team All-BVC and Green was chosen honorable mention.

Schweizer had 150 kills with a .214 attack percentage, averaging 1.95 kills per set. She had 102 digs, averaging 1.32 digs per set, 15 total blocks and 216.5 points.

Green had 233 digs, averaging 3.03 digs per set. She also had 10 kills and 70 points.

“I’m excited to be able to step in where (Hadley) left off,” said Reilley. “It’s going to be really fun. I’m definitely excited to be moving on to a higher level, a different kind of challenge. It’s a year-long effort, where you’re constantly recruiting and looking for people to come join you. I like sort of doing the research and reaching out to people. It’s definitely challenging, just making sure that you’re getting in touch with the girls that are intending to play at Napa.”

A lot of Reilley’s work, so far, has been done via phone calls with prospective players. She has not been able to meet in person with recruits because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The interest we’re getting is really, really great this year,” she said.

Years at Justin-Siena

Reilley took over as Justin-Siena’s coach in 2017, the Braves’ last season in the Marin County Athletic League. Justin-Siena (11-13 overall, 5-5 MCAL) went 1-1 in the North Coast Section playoffs, beating Arcata, 3-0, and losing to Branson-Ross, 3-2. The Braves lost in the first round of the Division V state playoffs to Escalon, 3-1.

In 2018, Justin-Siena (19-6 overall, 11-1 VVAL) was 2-1 in the NCS playoffs, with wins over Del Norte-Crescent City, 3-0, and University-San Francisco, 3-1, and a loss to Branson, 3-2. The Braves lost in the state Division III playoffs to Nevada Union-Grass Valley, 3-0.

During the 2019 season, Justin-Siena (9-14 overall, 6-6 VVAL) was 1-1 in the NCS playoffs, with a win over Kelseyville, 3-0, and a loss to Roseland University Prep-Santa Rosa, 3-0.

Reilley enjoyed her three years at Justin-Siena.

“It’s a great community. I couldn’t have asked for a better team to join when we first moved out here to Napa,” she said. “I loved the families. I loved the players.”

Background in volleyball

Reilley has an extensive background in volleyball.

She is a 2004 graduate of Archbishop Mitty-San Jose and as a starting outside hitter, was selected second-team All-West Catholic Athletic League and second-team All-San Jose Mercury News, as the Monarchs won WCAL, CIF Central Coast Section, Northern California and CIF state championships in 2003.

Mitty finished as the CCS and Northern California runner-up during the 2002 season.

“It was a great program. I loved every minute of playing there,” she said. “I learned so much from my playing experience there. We had so much discipline.

“The little things that we did at Mitty, I’ve really brought with me and tried to implement at Justin-Siena and hopefully now at Napa Valley.”

Reilley played volleyball at Santa Clara University for one season, as a defensive specialist and outside hitter. She graduated from Santa Clara in 2008 with a degree in communications.

She continued her playing career at the college club level, from 2005-2008 with Santa Clara Women’s Club Volleyball. She was recognized for her play, earning second-team All-American Division 1 in 2006, most valuable player honors of the Northern California Collegiate Volleyball League in 2008, and first-team All-League during the 2006 and 2007 seasons.

Reilley was with San Jose State Women’s Club Volleyball from 2009-2011, earning second team All-American Division 1 honors in 2010 and 2011. She was named first team All-League Division 1 in 2010 and 2011. She was named as the SJSU Club Sports Athlete of the Year in 2011.

She started out coaching with Club Yahoo! 12s Power League (juniors) as an assistant from 2004-06.

Other coaching stops include:
* Head JV coach, Los Altos High, 2007.
* Assistant coach, Los Altos High varsity, 2008.
* Assistant coach, Santa Clara Men’s Club Volleyball, 2009 and 2010.
* Assistant coach, San Jose State Women’s Club Volleyball, 2011-2013.
* Head coach, San Jose State Women’s Club Volleyball, 2013-2014.
* Assistant coach, Sonoma State Women’s Club Volleyball, 2014-2019. Sonoma State won Division II National Championships in 2018 and 2019.

Marty James is a freelance writer who makes his home in Napa. He retired on June 4, after spending 40 years as a sports writer, sports editor and executive sports editor for the Napa Valley Register, a daily newspaper in Napa County. He is a 1979 graduate of Sacramento State and a member of the California Golf Writers & Broadcasters Association, Associated Press Sports Editors, and California Prep Sports Media Association. He was inducted into the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Hall of Fame in 2016 and the Vintage High School Athletic Hall of Fame in September of 2019.

By MARTY JAMES

martyjames.sports@gmail.com

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