PALATINE HILL -- Lewis & Clark volleyball head coach Stacie Matz-Gordon announced the addition of two new assistant coaches on Thursday ahead of the start of the Pioneers season next month.
Sam Harthun and Aquiles Montoya will help Matz-Gordon and returning assistant coach Jeanette Lee this season. The Pios are off a fourth-place finish in the Northwest Conference last year, their highest finish since 2011.
"Both Sam and Aquiles are looking to pursue a collegiate coaching career and we are so excited they are beginning their journey at Lewis & Clark," said Matz-Gordon, who enters her fourth season as head coach.
Harthun (pictured left), a native of Oregon City, Ore., which is nine miles from the Lewis & Clark campus, joins the Pios staff after a decorated competitive career for the University of Alaska-Fairbanks Nanooks, an NCAA Div. II program. After earning Great Northwest Athletic Conference Freshman of the Year in 2012, she was named to the All-GNAC First-Team three times from 2013-15. The six-time GNAC Offensive Player of the Week holds the all-time kills record at UAF and the GNAC, while also posting all-time GNAC marks for kills in a single match (40) and points in a single match (41).
"Sam has an incredibly skilled background that boasts excellent technical capabilities and knows the Portland-area really well because she's from here," said Matz-Gordon, who enters her fourth year as head coach. "She'll be great at relating to our student-athletes since she just finished her collegiate experience, while also challenging them as a school and conference record holder."
UAF nominated Harthun as its NCAA Woman of the Year in 2015, which was the second year she received an All-West Region Honorable Mention selection.
Montoya brings championship experience to the Pios after winning a national gold medal at the USA Volleyball High Performance Indoor Championships in 2014. This past year, he served as the head assistant for the NCVA Junior International Boys, which beat Team Canada to win international gold at the same event.
"Aquiles is an acclaimed coach who we believe can help us in our pursuit of an NWC championship," said Matz-Gordon. "He's a classically-trained middle and right side who has had tremendous success during both his playing and coaching career."
An alumnus of California High School in San Ramon, Calif., Montoya went on to compete at Santa Barbara City College where he was twice in the top five of California community colleges for hitting percentage and total blocks. Named all-conference first-team and most valuable player his sophomore year, Montoya earned a scholarship to NCAA Div. I Grand Canyon University, hitting .413 and .500 during his two seasons as a middle blocker.
Lewis & Clark begins the 2016 season with tournaments in Colorado (Sept. 2-3) and Texas (Sept. 9-10) before opening NWC play in Tacoma against Puget Sound and Pacific Lutheran on Sept. 16-17. The Pioneers first home game is on Sept. 23 against George Fox.