The Silver State 17-Gold volleyball team earned an automatic bid to the 2002 United States Junior Olympic National Championships after finishing in second place at the Far Western National Qualifier this past weekend in Sacramento, Calif.
Silver State went 9-1 in the tournament, losing only to the Nevada Juniors from Las Vegas, the second ranked team in the nation. It was the first time that two Nevada teams met in the finals of a national event.
17-Gold, made up of Northern Nevada high school players, beat four teams in the tournament that had already qualified for the Junior Olympics.
"I can't even begin to describe how great the girls played," said coach Steve George. "They played with passion, a sense of purpose, and several times rallied to beat top teams after losing the first game of a match. If we play like this at the Junior Olympics, there's no doubt in my mind we can beat anyone."
Among the players who George praised were Carly Sorensen, Tristin Adams, Emily Haas and Rachael DeRiemer.
"Although everyone on the team played a key role in various matches, I have to give special praise to Carly Sorensen who was just unbelievable," George said. "She dominated her position, playing incredible volleyball all three days. Tristin Adams and Emily Haas also had outstanding tournaments and Rachael DeRiemer was on fire in several matches."
28 teams compete in each age division at the Junior Olympics. 24 teams earn automatic bids and the other four are selected as at-large teams based on finishes in qualifier events.
Of the 10 members of the team, seven are Carson County players. DeRiemer, Shannon Devereaux and Alyssa Wilson are from Carson. Emily Haas, Brittany Addeo and Michele Paterson are from Douglas and Joanna Hixon is the lone representative for Galena.
Other members of the team are North Tahoe's Teal Ericson and Fallon's Adams and Sorensen. The Junior Olympics will be held this summer in Salt Lake City.
In other local volleyball news, the Silver State 14-Gold won its division at the Far Western Championships in Santa Clara, Calif. It was the first win of the year for the squad after finishing in third in their last two tournaments.
The Gold-14 rallied to win four-straight matches to end the tournament.
"I was real pleased with the effort on the last day," said coach Rich Harvey. "We had to play without any substitutes and they never gave up."
Defensively, Lauren Kelly and Megan Myers provided solid play. "Lauren made some great saves," Harvey said. "She and Megan kept us in a couple of games by making good defensive plays when we needed it."
Jennifer Easton led the team in serving points and played a solid tournament defensively at setter.
The Gold-14 team had finished third in its last two tournaments.
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