UMATILLA — Desirae Zamudio admitted she was a little nervous taking over the Umatilla High School volleyball program.
The Vikings went 0-20 last year, and had a record of 14-75 over the past four seasons. They have lost 24 matches in a row dating to the 2017 season.
“I gave it a lot of thought,” Zamudio said of applying for the job. “I was waiting to see if someone a little more qualified applied, but no one did. I was hoping to be an assistant coach for a couple of years.”
Zamudio replaces Sonia Ego, who coached the Vikings the past four seasons.
“Sometimes you just need new blood,” Umatilla athletic director Scott Bow said.
A 2001 graduate of Umatilla High, Zamudio is a media assistant at the high school. She played volleyball, basketball and softball in high school.
In an effort to try and get the program off the ground, she recently had Blue Mountain Community College coach Ceanna Larson host a clinic. Players from Umatilla and area schools attended.
Umatilla, which lost four players to graduation, had just six players participate in the clinic.
“I think a lot of it has to do with being new,” Zamudio said. “They don’t know what to expect. We are hoping to do more camps. I think you have to make them believe in you, the program and themselves.”
Zamudio is doing her best to give her players her best. She got advice from Larson during the Vikings clinic, and she will be attending a coaching clinic next month in Portland.
The Vikings, who compete in the Eastern Oregon League, will open play Sept. 5 with a nonleague home match against Mac-Hi. Their first league match is Sept. 12 against visiting Riverside.