Even though she hasn’t been able to conduct official tryouts yet, Lisa Becerra already appreciates being the new Hollister High girls volleyball coach.
“One thing that is exciting for me is there is a certain grit that exists in this community,” she said. “That’s something that really resonates with me because as a 5-foot-10 player in high school and college, I was undersized so I had to learn at an early age about grit and relied on it. It became a defining part of who I am as a player and coach. There is a little grit we can build on, and I can see that already and I’m really excited to build on it.”
Becerra has 20-plus years of combined coaching experience at the high school and club level. Most notably, she helped lead St. Ignatius to a Central Coast Section championship in 2010 and served as an assistant coach at Mitty when the Monarchs won three consecutive CIF State Championships from 2015-2017 in dominating fashion.
She’s also spent time coaching at Vision, arguably the premier club volleyball organization in Northern California. Becerra was born and raised in Aptos, and was a four-year varsity starter and first-team all-league player at Aptos High, before earning a scholarship to play at Georgia State starting in the fall of 2002.
Becerra lives in Hollister with her husband and three kids, ages 11, 9 and 5. She works as a mortgage lender and knew she would return to coaching after taking a four-year break upon giving birth to her third child. Hollister always fields a quality girls volleyball team, and depending on the year, one capable of winning league and CCS titles.
Having worked under former Mitty coach Bret Almazan-Cezar—the winningest coach in state history—Becerra knows how a program should be run and it all starts with building a thriving environment where the players are having fun, the practices are fair but demanding, and instilling in the players a competitive mindset to never, ever give up.
For Becerra, it’s more about honing in on the process and the wins will take care of itself.
“You can define wins and losses as success and obviously you want to win more than you want to lose, but for me, the No. 1 thing is creating a culture where we’re getting better everyday,” Becerra said. “I want to establish a culture where everyone is bought in and we have a deep commitment everyday just to be a little bit better than yesterday. The results will follow that sort of mentality. I would love to see this group make the postseason, and it’s certainly where this program should be.”
Becerra loves competition, whether it’s on the volleyball court or off.
“People joke when I get out of the car, I have this unspoken race to get to the front door before my husband,” she said. “I’m a competitor through and through. I thrive off that environment and I’d like to bring that to each program I’m part of.”
Even though the West Catholic Athletic League schools tend to dominate the CCS playoff landscape, Becerra said her team won’t give an inch to anybody.
“I don’t back down from any challenge and facing any WCAL team this season is an exciting opportunity,” she said. “That’s what I want these kids’ perspective to be. That whoever is on the other side of the net, it’s an opportunity and we’re never intimidated. I want to beat anybody I walk in front of—that’s how I am as a person.”
Becerra said she can’t wait once official tryouts and practice starts on Aug. 5. It’s then she’ll get a better gauge of the players she’ll have the opportunity to work with and coach. The Haybalers finished a distant second to Salinas last year in the Pacific Coast League Gabilan Division.
They’re projected to return standout seniors Bethany Mondala and Audrey Blaettler along with junior Briley Lackey, who was injured for most of last season but has plenty of potential.
Sports editor Emanuel Lee can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org