Veteran volleyball coach to lead Cuyamaca College women’s team


Laura Ratto

EL CAJON – Cuyamaca College is welcoming a new women’s head indoor volleyball coach.

Laura Ratto will lead the Coyotes, as the team rebuilds after a two-year hiatus during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ratto brings to the role more than 26 years of experience coaching volleyball, from the middle school to international levels. Most recently, she served as assistant volleyball coach at University of Saint Katherine in San Marcos. She previously coached volleyball and soccer at Southwestern College, club volleyball at San Diego State University and middle school students in San Diego. Internationally, she developed a sports psychology program for Poland’s Olympic Training Center and has coached top teams in Mauritius and Italy. Ratto also holds degrees in psychology and kinesiology.

“I know I can make a big impact with my background and what I’ve studied,” she said. “This is where I want to be.”

Ratto, an Oakland native, has a stellar history as a volleyball player herself. A former member of the NCAA Division I indoor volleyball team at the University of California, Riverside, Ratto was a two-year captain, a Scholar Athlete of the Year in 2000, and a Rhodes Scholar nominee. She still holds records at her alma mater. After college, Ratto went on to play beach volleyball professionally, and represented the United States in international competitions in Mexico and France.

“I moved to San Diego to play beach volleyball professionally,” she said. “Southern California is the beach volleyball mecca. There are more partnership opportunities and you can play year round.”

Ratto earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from UC Riverside and a master’s in kinesiology with a specialization in exercise and applied sports psychology from San Diego State University. She is certified as a strength and conditioning specialist, giving her expertise in how to develop top-notch physical training regimens.

At Cuyamaca College, Ratto is most looking forward to building the women’s volleyball program, and supporting student-athletes along their journeys.

“I can’t wait to utilize my background in sports psychology to help players progress, whether they want to play for one or two years, transfer to a four year university to continue their volleyball career, or have a great experience playing while here,” she said.

Also joining the women’s volleyball coaching staff are assistant coach Brianna Gardner, and recruitment coordinator Jillian Blanchard.

Gardner played indoor volleyball at the University of Montana and University of Houston before going on to play professionally in Europe. She has coached indoor volleyball both domestically and internationally.

Blanchard played at the University of New Brunswick in Canada, and was a member of the Canadian Beach Volleyball Program. She has coached at the college and club levels.

For more information, visit Cuyamaca College’s athletics website.