Steve George will have a unique and certainly an impartial view of the Northern 4A Regional high school volleyball tournament this weekend in Minden.
Impartial, for one, because the Carson City man will be working as a game official for the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association (NIAA) during the tournament Friday and Saturday at Douglas High School. For another, he will be familiar with just about every player on the court, some of whom play for the Silver State Volleyball Club program he coaches.
"It works out real well for me. I'm trying to recruit players so I'd have to go and watch anyway. This way I can go watch and get paid (for officiating) at the same time," George said, chuckling.
There will be ample supply of talent at the Northern 4A tournament: Carly Sorenson and Tristen Adams of Fallon, Emily Haas and Brittany Addeo of Douglas, Joanna Hixon of Galena and Rachael DeRiemer, Alyssa Wilson and Shannon Devereaux of Carson, among others. All played for the Silver State Volleyball Club's Gold 17-year-old age group team that captured third-place at the United States Junior Olympics last summer. Each of those players figures to play prominent roles this weekend in what promises to be a good tournament.
Carson plays McQueen at 2 p.m., Galena plays South Tahoe at 4, Douglas plays Elko at 6 and Wooster and Fallon play at 8. Action in the semifinals begins at 11 a.m. on Saturday, with the championship match tentatively scheduled for 6 p.m.
Three berths into the NIAA/U.S. Bank State Tournament at Galena High School next week, Nov. 14-16, will be at stake and the fight for those spots appears wide open. However, there are two clear favorites: High Desert League champion Fallon (18-0) and Douglas (12-5).
"Clearly, the two favorites are Fallon and Douglas," George said. "Fallon is a very good team and they have two of the best players in northern Nevada in Carly Sorenson and Tristen Adams, who have both verbally committed to (the University of) Nevada. And I think Douglas has both the experience and the talent."
Douglas also features talented outside hitter Emily Haas, who has verbally committed to sign with the University of San Diego in February. There are other individuals to keep an eye on, too. Carson outside hitter DeRiemer and Douglas setter Addeo are both close to making decisions on college programs they want to play for, according to George.
Likewise, there are other teams that figure to be in the championship hunt.
"I think Galena has the talent to win it. They are so young, they may be a year away from having their best team, but they do have physical talent. Carson has played well with everybody and you have to throw South Tahoe into the mix because they've played well. All of those teams have a legitimate chance at those three spots to get to the state tournament."
George takes one position -- setter -- into account in establishing Fallon and Douglas as the teams to beat. Fallon has Adams, an all-conference performer since her freshman year, and Douglas has Addeo.
"Each of these teams have talented kids on their roster, I just think Fallon and Douglas have a little more experience at setter with Tristen and Brittney," George said.
Looking ahead to the state tournament, Green Valley and Durango are poised to bring formidable teams from the two Las Vegas regions. Green Valley is the defending state champion. Durango was a semifinalist at last year's state tournament.
Many of the players off those two squads are also members of the Nevada Juniors -- rivals of the Silver State Volleyball Club during the spring season.
"Nevada Juniors is our sister club so we see a lot of each other at the tournaments," George said. "We are rivals -- our club was third at nationals, theirs was fifth -- but we are friendly rivals. These kids are best friends. They look forward to playing in the same tournaments together, and when we do, we always make it a point to go out and eat dinner together at least once during the weekend."
The Silver State Volleyball Club will hold tryouts for its winter and spring season on Sunday and Monday, Nov. 17-18, at the club's facility, located at 4251 Highway 50 East in Carson City.
High school juniors and seniors will have their tryouts from 1-2:30 p.m. and freshmen and sophomores from 3:30 to 5 p.m. on Nov. 17. Students in sixth through eighth grades will try out on Nov. 18 from 6 to 7:30 p.m.
The cost of tryouts is $20 and all students under the age of 18 need to be accompanied by a parent to sign a waiver of release form. For information, call (775) 241-0723 or (775) 684-7178, or email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dave Price is a sports writer for the Nevada Appeal