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All in the family for Orlandinis

Sam and Jenna Orlandini, two Sacred Heart graduates, are banking on a successful year at their respective universities.

August 19, 2011|By Edgar Melik-Stepanyan, Special to the News-Press

Both of their coaches say their standout volleyball players are leaders.

One just happens to play at Cal State Northridge and the other is at the University of Washington.

Both of their coaches rave about their athletes' intelligence on the court.

One is an offensive tone-setter who will enter her senior year at Northridge, while the other is a defensive force who'll be a redshirt sophomore and started every game as a freshman.

Both of their coaches say the expectations are high for not only their stars, but for their respective teams.

Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy graduates Sam and Jenna Orlandini say they're ready to meet those expectations.

They have been excelling at what they've been asked to do ever since they donned a volleyball jersey, whether it was at Flintridge Sacred Heart or at their respective universities.

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Sam will start at setter for the fourth consecutive year at Northridge, where she has accumulated 2,608 career assists, third all-time in school history.

Her role will be different this year.

Northridge, which begins its season on Friday in the Utah Classic, lost four of its key components from the 2010 team to graduation, and will have an influx of young talent that will try to build off last year's team, which improved its win total from five to 13 from the previous season.

"We have 10 returning players and five freshmen coming in," says Sam, who'll be one of three seniors on a team that features two juniors, six sophomores and five freshmen. "It's really about teaching the freshmen the ways of our team. That could definitely be a challenge. I think we can do that, and hopefully win more games than last year."

Being a vocal leader on the court is something Sam, 21, has become accustomed to.

She was a captain last year at Flintridge Sacred Heart, where her mark of 4,263 career assists is an all-time state record, according to totals reported to CalHiSports.com, and also ranks among the top-five career totals reported in the National High School Sports Record Book.

"I try to lead by example, for the most part, just showing the girls how to work hard and being a good leader," says Sam, a 2008 graduate who was also a three-time Mission League champion, and, on the prevailing side of 111 matches, is the winningest player in the history of a program that advanced to at least a CIF semifinal in each of her four years as a starter.

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