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PAUL RODRIGUEZ, PAUL RODRIGUEZ, STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
Esperanza volleyball player Gina Lipscomb, a three-year starter and outside hitter, led the Aztecs to the Division 2 title of Dave Mohs Memorial Tournament this season.

Esperanza's Lipscomb follows her drive to win

STAFF WRITER

ANAHEIM – It didn’t take long for Esperanza coach Isaac Owens to understand the type of player Gina Lipscomb was and what she could become.

“It was her sophomore year,” Owens said recently. “I wanted to know if she wanted to be on JV and start or (be on) varsity, where she probably wasn’t going to play much.”

The decision, she says, was easy.

“That was the goal my sophomore year: I’m making varsity, no matter what,” Lipscomb said. “I didn’t care if I wasn’t going to get that much playing time, but I told him that I was going to be starting.

“He put me on (varsity). I kind of worked my way up and proved that I was better than some of the juniors, even seniors, and I got that starting position. I was starting later in league and into CIF.”

Lipscomb helped the Aztecs reach the semifinals of the CIF-SS playoffs that year. She is now a three-year starter and senior co-captain of the Aztecs.

“She’s one of the more competitive kids I’ve coached,” Owens said.

Competitiveness is practically a way of life for Lipscomb.

“My parents are very competitive. When we lose it is not a good day,” she said. “There’s a winner and loser and sometimes you might be the loser, but you have to deal with it and learn how you can get better from losing.”

Lipscomb started taking volleyball seriously when she joined a club team in the sixth grade. As a seventh grader, she helped her junior high team win titles.

As a freshman at Esperanza, she helped lead the JV team to the league title.

“I was 5-7 as a freshman,” she said. “Now I’m 5-11. I’ve developed a lot throughout high school. I had good technique, but I wasn’t as strong as I am now.”

True to her drive, she has always been determined to become the best player on the court, regardless of the level.

“She’s never satisfied or OK with her performance,” Owens said. “She always feels like she can do better.”

Owens points to Lipscomb’s performance this season in a five-set loss to Orange Lutheran as one of her more impressive nights.

“I think she had 72 attempts, finished with 35 kills and five errors,” he said. “She led us in digs … Even though we were on the losing end, Gina was a big reason why we had a chance. She does everything well.”

Lipscomb has also developed as a leader.

“She’s definitely worked on bringing people together on the court,” junior opposite hitter Avery Stowell said. “She’ll help each person individually so they can know what they need to do on the court. She’s really good about letting the team know what needs to be done to win.”

The Aztecs captured the Dave Mohs Memorial Tournament Division 2 title earlier this season, with Lipscomb leading the way and earning MVP honors.

Still, she believes she has more room for growth.

“I wouldn’t say I’m the perfect leader,” she said. “I think I’ve definitely learned how to be a leader by looking up to the captains when I was a sophomore and a junior.

“I’m also the youngest in my family, so I’ve never been the one that kind of set the example, I’ve always been the follower. But I think it is good for me as a student-athlete to learn how to be a leader, learn how to be big dog and teach everyone and encourage people to do things that maybe I can do, but they can’t and show them my take on it. I think that will help me also going into college.”

Lipscomb also plays beach volleyball. She is interested in pursuing both - indoor and beach volleyball - in college and professionally. She has received recruiting interest from several universities, including Long Beach State (indoor and beach) and Eastern Washington.

For now, she is focusing on ending her senior year on the right note.

“We’re trying to get across to everyone that you have to work hard every single practice, so that we can win,” she said. “We’re trying to keep everybody in the winning mindset, to keep working hard, so we need everyone to stay focused and keep getting better.”

Contact the writer: dcalhoun@scng.com


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