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Family enterprise at RVC

ERIC WITTMERSHAUS,

THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

You might say volleyball is the Andrews family business. With dad Jim in his first year as head coach and daughters Hannah and Kierstin on the front line, the Rincon Valley Christian Eagles piled up a 27-6 record and narrowly lost a nail-biter North Coast Section Division 6 championship game to Anderson Valley for the second year in a row.

Outside hitter Hannah Andrews, a senior, was a focal point of the Eagles' attack, with skills she honed competing alongside the North Coast's top large-school players at Empire Volleyball Club. For the second year in a row, Andrews is The Press Democrat's All-Empire small school volleyball athlete of the year.

"She has a few different arm swings, and she sees the court really well," said St. Vincent coach Teri Scott, calling Andrews "the best" small school player. "She has multiple shots which are really hard to see. She covers the court pretty well, even all the way around" in the rotation.

Jim Andrews said he and his wife, Nancy, view volleyball almost as their daughters' job -- a chance to earn a college scholarship by playing a sport, as opposed to working during the summer and socking away money in a savings account.

"He basically told me you could play volleyball and exercise and have fun, or you could become a waitress and earn your money (toward a college education) that way," Hannah Andrews said, recalling a brief moment when she was 14 and found her commitment to volleyball wavering.

The close-knit Andrews family spends a lot of time together. Hannah, a senior, Kierstin, a sophomore, and Annika, an eighth-grader, are all partly home-schooled, and all three play club volleyball at Empire. Still, having her dad as head coach and Kierstin on the court for her senior season was new this year for Hannah Andrews.

"I like playing with her a lot because I understand how she likes playing," she said of her sister. The toughest part, Hannah said, is after the game.

"It's a little tougher when we're at home and we're talking about the game," she said. "When you're family, you don't sugarcoat stuff as much."

After being recruited by numerous college programs, Hannah will head off to play for Concordia University next fall. The Christian college in Irvine won an NAIA title last season after finishing runner-up the previous year. In the classroom, she plans to study biology, with an eye on a possible career in dermatology, she said.

Recruited by larger schools, including Cal State Fullerton, which offered a full scholarship, Hannah said she chose Concordia because it's closer to home than some of the East Coast and Midwest schools that expressed interest. That, and the smaller, more intimate classes at Concordia appealed to her.

"I didn't want to go to a super-big college," she said. "I think I learn better in a smaller environment."

Jim Andrews is every bit the proud father, and the proud coach.

"As a parent, I couldn't be more proud of her, and as a coach, having someone go into a really good volleyball program like that is awesome," he said.