Assistant coach excited about team’s potential

October 11, 2011

Ann Talamantes-Ristow is a freshman all over again.

Solano’s first-year assistant coach joined the program in the summer after spending 16 years as the girls basketball coach at Hogan High in Vallejo. She made a trip to the Sac-Joaquin Section title game in 2006, but admits there’s a steep learning curve in the fast-paced college game.

“The Solano program is very different than most of the high school programs these girls – and myself – come from,” said Ann. “They are being challenged to work harder than they have before, and also play differently than they did in high school.”

Though official practice began on Oct. 1, the team has been in the gym and in the classroom working on all aspects of their game and learning offensive and defensive systems since school started in mid-August.

Carrying that classroom knowledge to the basketball court can sometimes provide a challenge.

“I have seen growth in some aspects of the girls’ game,” said Ann, “and I have also seen some of the mistakes being made over and over, which is frustrating.”

Ann, however, is optimistic about the team and feels their potential is tremendous.

“As soon as they get outside their comfort zone, they’ll figure it out,” she said.

The players will have to run one mile in a specified time set by the coaching staff. If they beat their time, they earn their uniform.

“The girls are really understanding the reality of making their mile time in a few short weeks,” Ann said. “Coach Matt lets them know their mile times during their longer runs so they know where they’re at and where they need to be.”

Ann said being at this level reminds her how much she loves the game.

“It’s a very exciting time….To watch this group of young ladies develop their skills and grow as individuals,” she said.

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Coach Conni reflects on offseason conditioning

July 22, 2011

In her second summer as an assistant coach with the Solano Community College women’s basketball program, Conni Holloway is not afraid to share her opinion with the players. Whether they are an incoming freshman or a returning sophomore, Coach Conni knows the importance of working hard at your game year-round.

While she says that the transition from the end of the 2010-11 season to the spring and summer was tough on the soon-t0-be sophomores, they quickly stepped into leadership roles.

“It was good that the graduating sophomores were still around to help with some leadership issues,” said Conni, who played at Solano from 2005-06. “Coach Matt relied on them a lot to mentor the freshmen on how to be a leader.”

Sophomore forward Shannon Rankin showed some leadership traits this summer and Conni was pleased with the effort she made.

“She showed some frustration at times, but I just reminded her that she was a freshman too and to be patient,” said Conni.

Sophomores Tara Cooley and Ruby Leon, who will both be relied upon heavily this season not just for their leadership, but for their offensive and defensive skills, have been helpful in the spring and summer basketball classes.

“Tara communicated really well to the freshmen about where to be and how things are done around here,” said Conni. “Ruby leads by example on the court and sets the pace during drills. The other players feed off her aggressiveness.”

Conni pointed out that even though Dejatnai Johnson will be redshirting this year, she has assumed a more vocal position on the team as well.

“She loves to light fires under the players,” said Conni. “She knows that she is still an ingredient on this team and is a verbal communicator.”

Conni has been pleased with the work ethic of all the players and is pleased that everyone is picking up the drills quickly. That will make for an easy transition once basketball season begins.

“We have formed our family and it’s exciting to not only see our sophomores grow, but our freshmen learning,” said Conni.


Assistant coaches compare coaching to playing

February 23, 2011

Assistant coaches Natatlie Cooley and Conni Holloway are two former Solano players who are instrumental in advising this year’s Solano players on a variety of issues. Whether they are confided in to talk about basketball or personal matters, the Falcons know they can turn to Natalie and Conni at any time.

Natalie and Conni took some time to talk to us about what it means to be an assistant coach as a former player.

Conni Holloway

Being a coach and a former player means a lot to me because players and coaches put in a lot of hard work and dedication. Being a player at Solano meant a lot to me, because you work your butt off during practice and games. When you win games and a championship you feel good about it and all the sacrifice that went into winning. You also develop relationships with teammates and the coaches that will never be forgotten.

As a coach you sacrifice more family time and me time for the sake of the players and the program. It may go unnoticed but it still feels rewarding to know that what you are doing pays off when you win games and a championship.

As a mother, wife, student, coach and friend, life becomes tangled and sometimes you have to sacrifice one thing for the next and you have to sit back and wonder, “Did I make the best decision?” Not only for me but for the people that surround your life.

Winning a championship means more than a banner, it means that “EVERY SACRIFICE, EVERY PRACTICE, EVERY LONG RIDE IN THE VANS, EVERYTIME YOU’RE GONE FROM HOME MEANT SOMETHING.” Now I can show my daughters what we accomplished together.

I tell the players all the time that it all starts at practice, once you have fully understood that, then you’re prepared for every game. I text them about things they need to improve or just words of encouragement. At the end of the day they are young ladies of the game and what they go through in life matters whether we win or lose.

Natalie Cooley

This was my first year in probably 10 years that I have not played basketball. At first, the transition of coaching from playing was hard. When Coach Matt first said “on the line,” I wanted to run to the line! There are days it’s hard to watch the girls compete in such great practice drills and not be part of it. However, after a few months I began to realize the benefit of coaching- connecting with the girls.

My favorite part about coaching is advising a player about a move or technique or expectation and the player reacts with such eagerness to learn! I love when players say, “Hey Coach Nat can you watch me for a minute? Can you tell me if I’m doing this correctly?” I love to help those who want to learn and their attitude makes coaching so rewarding!

Being a Solano basketball player reflects so much of who you are as a person. As the season ends, practice and games may end and sophomores may leave, but what you learn from Coach Matt and the Solano program lasts forever. You learn that discipline, dedication, hard work and friendship never end and in order to be successful you must continue with what you learned at Solano. Every player who comes out of the Solano program becomes a better person whether physically, mentally or academically. I hope the girls understand the great accomplishment they all have gone through by getting through another successful year of Solano basketball. I hope when the year ends they will be proud that they got through a program that many cannot handle and what that means about their character and about their future.


Assistants prepping for big game

January 18, 2011

Everyone is getting ready for Solano’s big game on Wednesday against Los Medanos in Pittsburg. Assistant coaches Conni Holloway and Natalie Cooley took some time to tell us how they prepare for a big game:

Assistant coach Conni Holloway, standing, talks with sophomore Destinee Sinegal during a recent game.

“I watched the film from our last game against Los Medanos when we played them in December,” said Conni. “I texted the team about what they need to do better or work on during practice this week. I also felt that I needed to be more vocal than usual in practice. I don’t like yelling because I feel they understand me more when I pull them to the side.

“I feel that our role as assistant coaches are to motivate them and explain the importance of this game, sometimes freshman don’t understand so it’s our job to really send that message. I also know how much Coach Matt sees everything so I try to repeat him, and look for things he may have not covered that I noticed. Motivating them is big for me!”

“The key is definitely to keep them pumped up for the big game,” agreed Natalie. “They are already getting excited for this game on Wednesday and I think our job is to make sure they understand we CAN win this game! And they need the desire to win. We have to encourage them to have the desire to win so we can compete!”

Solano and Los Medanos tip off on Wednesday night in Pittsburg at 5:30 p.m. The Falcons would love to see their hometown fans in attendance at the game.


Summer Camp!

April 13, 2009

Solano’s Basketball summer camp is right around the corner!  Please review our brochure here for more information.


Solano Women’s Basketball 2009 Banquet

April 13, 2009

Please join us for our annual banquet. There will be plenty of food and fun! Everyone will be recognized, awards presented, and we will view the highlight film. We look forward to seeing everyone together again!

Where: Hilton Garden Inn in Fairfield. Take Travis Blvd. off of 80 and turn on Gateway Blvd. The Hilton is tucked in the back passed all of the restaurants.
When: Sunday, April 26th @ 4:30
What: Buffer dinner, dessert, awards and more
Dress: nice, casual
Cost: $15 per guest
RSVP: Yes, please notify us with your number of people by April 21st
Note: Please try to be prompt. Dinner will be ready by 4:45. We will eat, mingle, and then present awards and view the documentary film. Thanks! See you there!


The State Tournament this weekend…

March 12, 2009

Coach Matt is in Fresno for the weekend for the State Tournament. It’s a long, 5 day weekend, and the events start today.

The sophomores will be participating in the Sophomore Showcase there this weekend as well, where they will have another opportunity to play in front of 4-year coaches and try to get more interest.