Hemet star seeking 4th title

BY ERIC-PAUL JOHNSON

   STAFF WRITER ejohnson@pe.com 
   Most high school athletes would consider themselves fortunate to win one CIFSouthern Section championship in their career.

   Imagine what Tristan Self is feeling as she goes for a fourth.

   “It’s been an absolutely amazing ride,” said the veteran setter of Hemet’s girls volleyball team. “I feel very lucky and blessed to have been a part of some wonderful teams over the years.”

   Self has been the team’s starting setter and floor general since the 2010 season. She displayed experience and leadership beyond her years that season and helped Hemet capture the Division 4A championship, the program’s first section crown.

   Hemet defended that championship the following seasons and made it a threepeat last season by winning in Division 4AA. Self now stands on the verge of joining some select company.

   Only five volleyball players in Riverside County history have managed to capture four section championships in a career. That quintet consists of Jamie DeKiewiet, ReAnne Lappinga, Staci Burger, Summer Stewart and Janelle Krick, who helped Hemet Baptist Christian win four straight titles from 1998-2001.

   “To make it four in a row would be very exciting,” Self said. “Not many people anywhere can say they have four rings.”

   Self has grown by leaps and bounds since 2010, when she was the lone freshman on a team loaded with seniors. Self has been one of the Bulldogs’ team captains the past three seasons.

   “My confidence is the area where I feel I’ve grown the most,” Self said. “Becoming a captain early in my career helped with that and allowed me to become the leader my team needed.”

   Mark Self, Tristan’s father and an assistant coach at Hemet, said the program has had 39 different players on the roster over the past four seasons. Self continues to show the ability to adapt to new teammates.

   “We lost 11 players off last year’s team, so it’s great to have a few players with experience,” Mark Self said. “In Tristan’s case, she knows the game well and can be like a coach on the floor.”

   Hemet opened up its season by sweeping Riverside La Sierra, an impressive win 
considering the Eagles already had posted a victory against CIF-State Division 2 runner-up Riverside King.

   Self returns her top hitter on the outside in senior cocaptain Baylee Christian. Others options include sophomore outside hitter Jillian Nickens and senior middle blocker Jessica Brown.

   “We lost some pretty talented players, so we definitely have to keep working to get better each day,” Self 
said, “We have to be focused and stay prepared mentally.”
TERRY PIERSON/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

   Hemet’s Tristan Self (8) sets the ball against La Sierra during a match in Hemet.

TEAMS TO WATCH
   • Corona Santiago — The Sharks opened up the season by winning the Inland Empire Classic

   • Hemet — The Bulldogs try to become third area volleyball team to win four straight CIF-SS titles

   • Lake Arrowhead Rim of the World — The Scots are the defending CIF-SS Division 3AA champs

   • Redlands East Valley — The Wildcats have won seven of the past eight Citrus Belt League titles

   • Riverside King — The Wolves won a section title and advanced to the Division 2 state title game

   • Riverside La Sierra — The Eagles will be seeking their sixth consecutive league championship

   • Riverside Poly — The Bears advanced to the CIF-SS Division 3AA quarterfinals last season
DATES TO REMEMBER
   • Sept. 17: Hemet at Riverside King

   • Oct. 3: Redlands East Valley at Lake Arrowhead Rim of the World

   • Oct. 9: Riverside King at Corona Santiago

   • Oct. 15: San Bernardino Aquinas at Ontario Christian

   • Oct. 19: Wildcat Classic at Redlands East Valley

   • Oct. 24: Jurupa Valley at Riverside La Sierra

   • Oct. 29: Moreno Valley Valley View at Riverside Poly

   • Nov. 9: CIF-SS playoffs begin
OTHER PLAYERS TO WATCH
   • Sascha Dominique, Redlands East Valley, Jr. — Middle blocker had 199 kills and 72 total blocks last season

   • Kalei Greeley, Riverside King, Sr. — Hawaii-bound outside hitter was last season’s area player of the year

   • Chanel Hoffman, Corona Santiago, Sr. — UC Santa Barbara-bound outside hitter had 371 kills last season

   • Rylee Kiger, Norco, Sr. — Outside hitter who led the Cougars with 345 kills and 45 aces last season

   • Amanda Kirtley, San Bernardino Aquinas, Jr. — Outside hitter who also is a stellar back-row defender

   • Daisia LaBrie, Riverside La Sierra, Jr. — Outside hitter had career-high 31 kills in win over Riverside King

   • Lauren Page, Riverside King, Jr. — Emerged last season as one of the area’s top middle blockers


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