DAYTON - If the first weekend is any indication, the Dayton High volleyball team is gearing up for a successful season.
The Dust Devils racked up seven wins in eight matches at last weekend's Yerington Tournament, and are only five wins away from the 12 wins recorded in 2011.
"Things are looking up," said Dayton coach Monica Halverson. "We're working real hard together. We have a lot of depth on the back line. It's going to be awesome to watch them go."
The team is led by junior outside hitter Madison Foley, who has been a dominant player in her first two varsity seasons.
"She is head an shoulders above everybody else," Halverson said. "She has become a teacher out there. She plays all the time. I think she went to three or four camps in the off-season. She goes out there with a purpose. She leads by example.
"I don't want this to be the Madi Foley show. Other girls are stepping up. Ashley Vickers is a strong hitter. She's right up there with Madi."
Vickers and Foley lead a group of five juniors. Setter Jessie Coons, right-side hitter Lettie Lynch and libero Taryn Schriner are the others.
"Schriner is the best passer I've ever seen," Halverson said.
Setter Alyse Fletcher and right-side hitter Makaila Marshall are the only returning seniors. Heather Niemi, a backrow player, is the only other senior on the squad.
Newcomers are utility player Shannon Waski, middle blocker Kaylee Turner, utility player Elvia Diaz, middle blocker Cora Williams and middle blocker Cheyanne Strong.
"Our sophomore class is strong," Halverson said. "Cora has come into her own."
The Dust Devils play in the Lowry Invitational this weekend.
Shawn Anderson has good reason to smile these days.
The Dust Devils' cross-country coach has 16 runners this year, and he'll be able to field a complete girls team this season.
The veteran coach has high hopes for his boys team which includes top runners Aaron Elisa, Joe Law, Jamie Woods, Skyler Rose, Philip Hevener and Nick Langstaff.
"I think we have a chance to make state," Anderson said. "We came pretty close last year. I think we will do real well. Aaron ran all summer long, Jamie too. Joe is always running well."
The girls' squad is led by Katrina Breithaupt, who made it to state last year and medaled.
"I think she'll finish top-2 in the state," Anderson said. Hannah Elissa, Isabella Anderson, Samantha Hinton and Zara Landis, a winner of several meets at the junior high level, comprise the rest of the roster.
Coach Jared Miklich returns 10 players from last season's team that went 3-12-2 overall. Despite the record, Miklich felt a lot of positive things happened, and as a result he has a 23-person roster.
"We were able to accomplish a lot of good things," Miklich said. "We have a majority of sophomores and juniors this year, and we even have three freshman on the team. With larger numbers, it will allow me to sub a little more and change positions."
The top returnees are goalie Muranda Fowler, defender Savannah Parsons, forward Devon Cates and midfielder Maribel Ledezma.
"Maribel is very athletic," Miklich said. "I think I will keep her in the midfield. Devon is fast and she has a powerful shot."
The other seniors are Cassidy Council, Marlayna Martinez, Erika McCoy and Caitlyn Mabry. Isabel Villafana, Gemma Ramirez, Kylie Pack, Malia Montero, Perla Landa and Vanessa Castaneda comprise the junior class. Brittni Anderson, Caitlyn Cornwell, Richanda Hernandez, Brisieda Lozano, Veronica Pritchard and Reid Madison are the sophomores. The freshmen are Genesis Franco, Yessenia Madera and Cienna Mason.
Coach Karl Watts also has seen an increase in numbers this year despite the fact his squad won just three games last year.
"We have 21 right now," Watts said. "We have a lot of freshman. I tried to get a JV program going, but we needed a few more players. That's our goal for next year.
"The program is definitely rising. We scrimmaged Douglas, and I thought our defense did a reasonable good job against them."
Watts' club suffered some embarrassing defeats at the hands of some of the tougher schools last year, and he wants to be more competitive this year and hopefully pull off an upset or two.
"We'd like to narrow the score, especially against teams like South Tahoe, Sparks and Truckee," Watts said.
Watts has four seniors on the squad, and three of them are starters. Danny Alfano, a defender, and P.J. Vasquez, a forward, and keeper Edgar Diaz are expected to contribute heavily. Diaz didn't play last season. Sophomore midfielder Sergio Talavera and sophomore Martin Rubio will see significant action on the back line.
Watts also has been impressed with freshman midfielder Jaime Avila.
Senior Steve Canas will see action at midfielder and forward. Keeper Jeff Brooks, forward-midfielder Isaac Brooks, forward Andrew Goodman, midfielder-forward Spencer Ruiz, midfielder-forward Ryan Greenwalt and midfielder Julio Navarette comprise the junior class. Midfielder Jesse Garcia and defender Shay Hamblin are the sophomores besides Talavera and Rubio. Ivan Alfano, Stephen Watts, Chris Fitch and Anthony Medina are the freshmen on the squad.