June 15, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

Former Crean Lutheran volleyball star Anna Unke returning to lead girls program

Anna Unke will lead the Crean Lutheran girls volleyball program. (Photo courtesy Crean Lutheran High School).

Former Crean Lutheran High School and Irvine Valley College standout Anna Unke has been named varsity girls volleyball coach and director of the program, Athletic Director Eric Olson announced Thursday.

“It is with great excitement that I can announce Anna Unke as Crean Lutheran’s new girls indoor coach and volleyball program director,” Olson said in a statement from the school. “Born into a Lutheran home, Anna is strong in her faith and committed to not only volleyball but honoring Jesus in all we do.

“We look forward to Anna serving our Saints student-athletes in the classroom, weight room and on the court. Anna’s remarkable expertise and deep understanding of the sport makes her an invaluable addition to our amazing Saints coaching staff. Her track record of performance and excellence on the court as a player and as a coach is a testament to her dedication and championship approach. I look forward to Coach Unke leading and inspiring our girls volleyball program for years to come.”

Unke said she is looking forward to leading the program.

“I feel very blessed to be returning to my alma mater to coach,” she said. “Crean Lutheran is a very special place, and I am so excited to be a part of the volleyball program as well as the students’ lives in the classroom.”

“Playing at Crean Lutheran set me up for success in collegiate volleyball, allowing me to reach my goal of playing Division 1 volleyball.”

This past fall, Unke was the indoor women’s volleyball head coach at Irvine Valley College, leading the Lasers to a 22-5 record and co-conference title.

Unke led the Lasers back to the state tournament for the first time since she played at IVC in 2019.

Unke has been a high school coach at JSerra for both indoor and beach and helped lead the beach squad to the semifinals of the recent CIF event this past spring. She also has coached with the San Clemente Volleyball Club for the past two years.

Unke had a remarkable playing career at Crean Lutheran where she was a three-year varsity starter and two-year team captain. She is the Crean Lutheran single-season assist leader setting the record in 2017 (520 assists) and is also the career assist leader (1,324).

Unke competed in indoor and beach volleyball at Irvine Valley College and helped the Lasers place third or higher three times (two indoor, one beach) at state tournaments.

She then went on to earn her Bachelor of Science degree in Kinesiology with a focus on exercise science at Cal State Bakersfield in 2022, where she was again a two-year starter for the Roadrunner squads with indoor and beach.

Unke led the CSUB beach volleyball team to a Top 20 ranking  in the country for the first time in program history.

“I hope to help each athlete who comes through the program reach their full potential and help those who aspire to play at the next level get connected to a program that is right for them.” she said. “ I want to establish a culture that emphasizes a growth mindset, grit, and a family dynamic within the girls. I am extremely excited to get in the gym this upcoming summer.”

Unke replaces Monty Johns, who stepped down after the season, Olson added.

—Courtesy Crean Lutheran Athletics