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LSSU Volleyball Coach Mallory Larranaga Comments




Mallory Larranaga starts her inaugural Laker season as head volleyball coach this year. In this video she lays out her transition to LSSU and shares insights on the team she will be leading during the 2015-16 season. ------ SAULT STE. MARIE – For most new head coaches at Lake Superior State, the challenge of selling a prospect on the upside of living in a small, sports-minded northern Michigan community with long winters would be overwhelming. For Lake Superior State’s new head volleyball coach, Mallory Larranaga, it’s routine. Through hockey, namely the Alaska Gold Kings semi pro team and the original Soo Indians Junior A hockey program, Sault Ste. Marie and Fairbanks, Alaska, have enjoyed a 40-year connection. Another link was added with the appointment of Larranaga to LSSU’s staff. The Oregon native set several attacking records at UAF from 2001-05 and coached the Nanooks for four years, serving as head coach during the past two seasons. Larranaga replaces Jennifer Constantino, who resigned from her head coaching position to become LSSU’s full-time NCAA compliance and Title IX officer. “The No. 1 thing for me is being in a place where community is such an important thing,” Larranaga said. “I really rely on building relationships. This is a great place to have a successful team. It’s in a community that wants to support Lake State athletics and the volleyball team.” Larranaga still holds Great Northwest Athletic Conference records for most kills in a three-set match (27), single-season kills per set (4.91), single-season points per set (5.58) and most career (21) and single-season (11) matches with 20 or more kills. She ranks fifth in GNAC career kills with 1,363 and eighth in average kills per set (3.83). She was a two-time UAF team captain, three-time GNAC All-Academic Team selection, 2004 AVCA and Daktronics all-region honoree, 2004 AVCA All-America Honorable Mention and 2010 inductee into the UAF Sports Hall of Fame. “I am very pleased that we are welcoming Coach Larranaga and her family to the Laker Athletic Department,” LSSU Director of Athletics Kris Dunbar said. “It is an exciting time for the volleyball program. Coach Larranaga will be a great asset for Laker Volleyball and the community of Sault Ste. Marie.” Larranaga and her husband, Efren, are making the long trek from Alaska with their three sons, Canyon (9), Harper (7) and Hudson (3) arrived in Sault Ste. Marie in early July. Efren played hockey for the Soo Indians in the 1990s and is a 2002 graduate of UAF, where he lettered in hockey for four seasons. Mallory’s June visit during the interview process was her second to the Upper Peninsula, but first from a volleyball perspective. “I like the small-town feel,” she said. “Fairbanks is a small town in a northern, cold climate. I’m used to recruiting those athletes who want an adventure, great character athletes who want to experience 30-below instead of being afraid of it.” Larranaga met a few LSSU players during the interview process and is excited to meet the rest of her new team. When she hits the recruiting trail, she hopes to make the most of LSSU’s new “One Rate at Lake State” tuition incentive. Larranaga began a rebuilding process at UAF with a disciplined approach and plans to instill similar systems at LSSU. “Our volleyball program was really built on character and hard work,” she said. “It was great to have athletes who bought in fast during those two years. We completely rebuilt the program, and they will be wildly successful. We want to work hard for you, and we want you to work hard for each other…I’m really military in terms of training. There is a method to and reason for everything I do. It’s going to take a little while with a new group. We’re not here to be average. We need to look at ourselves a different way.” Larranaga is the seventh head coach in the 41-year history of LSSU volleyball.

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