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Coaching Staff

2014 Volleyball

Jason Smith New Jason Smith

Volleyball - Head Coach

Email: Jason Smith

Smith’s dedication to what his student-athletes accomplish on the court is matched by his devotion to what their academic outcomes are, since all six of his Matador Volleyball squads have been named NJCAA All-Academic Teams, earning the honor by having a cumulative 3.0 grade point average or higher. The 2013 season didn’t disappoint for Jason Smith as he saw his squad win both on and off the court. His team won the ACCAC/Region 1 regular season and postseason titles, they were District C Champions and earned a berth into the NJCAA National Tournament and boasted the third highest GPA in the nation. Smith was even honored as the District C Head Coach of the Year in 2013. In his six years total at AWC, Smith sports an overall record of 116-59. Around his two eras at AWC, Smith has been an integral part of Mountain West Conference volleyball at two different schools.  In 2008 & 2009, Smith was the lead assistant for the volleyball team at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, helping lead the Lady Rebs to a 16-win season his first year.  Before coming to AWC the first time, Smith made his four-year college coaching debut at the University of Utah as their volleyball team’s assistant coach and recruiting coordinator for three seasons.  Smith came to Utah from NCAA Division II Ferris State, where as an assistant, he helped lead them to a pair of 20-win seasons and an NCAA Division II Tournament bid.  In the past, Smith was also an assistant at Iowa Western CC when they finished 10th in the NJCAA Tournament.  Smith earned a bachelor’s degree in business and economics while competing on the Volleyball team at Graceland College.  Smith and his longtime love, AWC Assistant Volleyball Coach Jennifer Smith, are celebrating their third year of marriage this year.

Lorayne Chandler

Volleyball - Assistant Coach

Assistant Coach Lorayne Chandler begins her first year on Jason Smith’s staff here at Arizona Western College. Chandler also currently serves as the head coach of the Gila Ridge High School Women’s Volleyball team; a post she has held since last season. Coach Chandler grew up in Tuleta, Texas and graduated from Pettus High School in 2005 before going on to attend Richland College in Dallas, Texas, where she played volleyball for two years. Coach Chandler transferred to Texas A&M, where she graduated in 2009. In 2010, Coach Chandler attended Texas Christian University, where she gained experience as an administrative assistant for the TCU Volleyball team. Chandler is NFHS Certified and USA Volleyball Impact certified.

Amy Jensen

Volleyball - Assistant Coach

With a passion for volleyball and a love of the community, Amy Jensen is excited to play an active role as an assistant coach to the Lady Matador Volleyball program this season. Born and raised in Yuma, Amy played as a right-side hitter at Cibola High School graduating in 2003. Following graduation Jensen went on to play on a 3rd level national team in Wavre/Limal, Belgium while she was there as an Rotary International exchange student. Following her study abroad, Jensen was recruited by then coach James Finley, playing for the Lady Matadors in the 2004 and 2005 seasons as a defensive specialist and right side hitter respectively. Though her playing career ended there, Jensen went on to graduate from Northern Arizona University with a BA in Interdisciplinary Studies and currently works full-time as a Realtor in the Yuma area, but she still finds the time to get on the court whenever possible.

 Jennifer Lake

 Jennifer Smith

Volleyball - Assistant Coach

Jennifer Smith begins her 4th season as the Lady Matadors’ Director of Volleyball Operations, helping the coaching staff and student-athletes with day-to-day office and game day logistics.  Smith took her position well beyond office administration, as she runs the Lady Matadors social media outlets to help promote the volleyball program as well as the team’s matches and camps. Smith is in charge of coordinating team travel along with pre-game & post-game meals.  Smith has been able to effectively funnel her vast experience in administrative duties, managerial duties, technology and social networking into her first experience working with a college athletic program.  Smith came to Yuma after spending over 15 years working for a construction company in Las Vegas, Nevada, ascending the ladder from courier and receptionist to Accounts Receivable Manager, Credit and Collections Manager, and Contract Billings Manager. Jennifer enjoys spending time on creating various websites, as well as working to expand her company: Jenn’s Gems, which specializes in handcrafted gemstone jewelry.

Jennifer Tagaban

Jennifer Tagaban

Volleyball - Assistant Coach

E-Mail:  Jennifer Tagaban

Tagaban begins Year #8 on the Matador Volleyball coaching staff, and her tenth year as a Matador overall.  What’s amazing is that Tagaban has never been part of a Matador Volleyball team that didn’t at least reach the Region I Finals.  Her Matador career started in 2002 as a student-athlete, when the Pomona, California, native signed with the Mats after becoming a dominating starting setter for two years at Cibola High School, earning All-Southwest Region honors as a senior.  As a Lady Matador, Tagaban showed then-Lady Matadors’ Head Volleyball Coach James Finley what a quick study she was, and went from the Lady Matadors’ bench to his starting lineup as a sophomore, earning All-ACCAC Honorable Mention honors her second year.  Tagaban’s teams as a Matador player were carbon copies of each other, since the ’02 & ’03 Lady Mats each won a Region I title, earned an NJCAA Tournament berth and finished 7th in the nation.  That was the end of Tagaban’s playing career, since she focused solely on academics (after getting her Associate’s degree from AWC) at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, earning a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration in 2006.  It wasn’t long after she received her diploma that her college coaching career began, thanks to the offer she took from Jason Smith to return home to Yuma and become his assistant.  Besides her two years playing at AWC, Tagaban also knows the volleyball floor at ‘The House’ well from her three years of playing club volleyball for Club Salsa under Finley and former Lady Matadors’ Head Volleyball Coach Kerry Messersmith on the same court.  In addition to her volleyball duties at AWC, Tagaban begins her 4th year as the school’s Coordinator of Residential Life. 

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