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Edison's Matt Skolnik is the Register's Orange County girls volleyball coach of the year. (Photo by Matt Masin, Orange County Register, SCNG)

Girls volleyball coach of the year: Edison's Matt Skolnik

STAFF WRITER

Matt Skolnik had an lowkey start to his volleyball coaching career.

“When I was 17, I was asked to coach for Balboa Bay (club),” Skolnik said. “I was playing at Balboa Bay at the time, and Trent Jackson, who was my high school (at Canyon), asked me to coach a 14s team with him. That was kind of the start of my desire to be a coach.”

Fast forward 15 years, Skolnik is still doing what he loves.

He is in his third year as the girls volleyball coach at Edison, which reached a new level of success this season. The Chargers won a share of the Sunset League title, and finished the season by capturing a CIF SoCal Regional title and their first CIF State Division I title.

For his efforts, Skolnik is the Register’s Orange County girls volleyball coach of the year.

The Chargers’ season started in the annual Ann Kang Invitational in Hawaii.

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ALL-COUNTY GIRLS VOLLEYBALL 

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“We played some tough teams and that showed us that we had the potential to be a really good team,” Skolnik said. “Losing to Mira Costa showed that we had a long way to go still, but beating teams like Iolani, Kahuku, who ended up being nationally ranked teams, and Carroll from Southlake, Texas, showed that we definitely had the opportunity to be a really good team.”

The Chargers finished fourth in the tournament.

They followed that by finishing 10th in the Durango Fall Classic and tying for third in the Orange County Championships.

The Chargers’ foundation was built in Skolnik’s first year, as he gave the team’s current group of seniors valuable playing time as underclassmen.

“We were able to a get a lot of experience for those girls at a really young age,” Skolnik said. “They were the players that deserved to be on the court for a long period of time. Hannah (Phair) was a starter as a sophomore. (Libero) Dani (Dennison) started as a sophomore. (Setter) Lindsey (Sparks) started as a freshman. So after three years of them starting, it definitely gave them an opportunity to be the caliber of players we needed to make a state-championship run.”

The Chargers were eliminated from the CIF-SS playoffs in the quarterfinals. After a nearly two-week break, they entered the regionals with their sights set on winning a state title.

“The girls had an ambition to do well and they wanted to win something,” Skolnik said. “To have a second opportunity, a second chance, definitely rekindled their fire to win.”

Contact the writer: dcalhoun@scng.com


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