East County Sports

UCSB-bound Triplett leads El Cap volley



By Nick Pellegrino
ECS staff writer

Madison Triplett

LAKESIDE — Madison Triplett, a third-generation student-athlete is making her mark at El Capitan High School.

An outside hitter for the girls’ volleyball team, the junior is the first member of her class to make a college commitment, agreeing to play for UC Santa Barbara in 2024.

Triplett, who plays club ball for Coast Volleyball Club, is currently focused on helping El Capitan defend its Grossmont Hills League championship. On Monday (Sept. 19), the Vaqueros dropped the opening set if their home opener to visiting Helix then took three straight sets for a comfortable victory at historic Foster Gymnasium.

“We’re a very young tram, so we need to develop leadership super early this year,” said Triplett, who plans to major in psychology with a minor in exercise science. “We’re becoming closer and bonding, figuring out how to lead each other.”

A quick lesson learned early against the Highlanders led to the come-from-behind triumph.

“We came out expecting to go through the motions,” she admitted. “We didn’t realize Helix was a tougher team than we expected, so we had to put out the work effort and come out with better energy.”

El Capitan was a Final Four team in CIF last season but lost five senior starters. However, the ’22 Vaq Attack has filled many of their holes in the starting rotation.

Among the seven returning players, the lone senior is Alyssa DeYoung, who plays at middle-blocker, flanked by middle Savannah Simpson on the back half of the rotation.

Meanwhile, Triplett is joined by the hitting ability of sophomore Madelyn Wutzke on the outside, leaving the Vaqueros with two lethal spikers at all times.

Attempting to piece the offense together is setter Hannah McGrath, who was not the scheduled starter.

“Ruby Ennis was supposed to be our setter, but she tore her meniscus on the first day of tryouts,” Triplett recalled. “Right now, Hannah has stepped in and has started every match for us, doing very well.”

The new head coach of the Vaqueros is Brennan Wong-Pau, who was promoted from the junior varsity and freshmen ranks to replace Bert Novicio, who originally stepped in for Eric Sato, the former U.S. Olympic gold medalist, who moved over to help coach at Grossmont.

Triplett knows Sato from playing with Coast VBC and his visits to El Cap to see many of his former players. At one time, Sato was considered the top defensive player in the world.

“Sometimes he comes by and watches our matches,” she added. “He’ll bring his medals and tell us stories about his playing days. too.”

El Capitan (12-5 overall, 1-0 GHL) continue league play at West Hills on Wednesdsay, then return home next week for battles with Granite Hills and Santana.

Note: Madison’s mother, Ashley Triplett, once played softball for the Vaqueros during the first reign as head coach by current mentor Joe Cota.


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