DAYTON — Jordan King is no stranger to the Northern 3A. She played volleyball, basketball and softball for the Fernley Vaqueros before graduating in 2013.
And, now she is Dayton High’s new volleyball coach after Monica Halvorsen stepped down following a 19-13 record last season.
King, who coached the Fernley freshman team last season, left the Vaqueros’ program after a new varsity coach was hired this season.
“The athletic director at Fernley knew I still wanted to coach,” she said after a recent workout. “I heard about the opening here (at Dayton), and I applied.”
King, whose team opens its season this weekend at the Yerington Tournament, has had just eight days of practice with her new squad thats full of sophomores and juniors. She has just four seniors on the squad.
“We scrimmaged Douglas, South Tahoe and Carson last week with just three days of practice,” King said. “I thought we did really well. I’m excited to see how we do this weekend.
“The biggest adjustment is not our youth, but learning how the girls like to work; how we adapt to each other.”
The Dust Devils have four seniors — right-side hitter Luisa Flores (5 kills), outside hitter Ashley Mason (126 kills, 118 digs), middle blocker Becca Mason and newcomer and outside hitter Nyah Olivera.
“Luisa is the energy of the team,” King said. “I like the way the Masons pass the ball.”
The junior class is led by outside hitter Brianda Diaz (154 kills, 204 digs), outside hitter Jessie Matlock, who sat out with a shoulder injury last year, and setter Grace Wells (24 kills, 13 assists, 40 digs).
“She (Diaz) rubs off on everybody else,” King said. “She is an outstanding hitter.”
Setter Tamia Powell leads the sophomore class. She will set in the Dust Devils’ 6-2 attack.
Stephanie Kiernan, a late-season call-up last year, is the libero, Taylor Kinney wil play outside and right side, and Julie Rogacs is in the middle.
King said having two ballhandlers on the court at the same time will help, especially with serve receive.
The Dust Devils, who finished one point shy of the league title, open this weekend at the Douglas JV Tournament.
“This season should be another good competitive one for us,” said coach Luis Melgarijo. “We have 11 returning players and 11 new with a pretty good balance of young and older players.
“We are working hard with plenty of motivation to get the second league title in Dayton history. I think our team has really come together in the past week. We have good leadership to guide and help each other reach our season goals.”
The key returning players are senior Victor Gomez (17 goals, 6 assists), junior Jacob Duran (4 goals, 5 assists), Marco Torres (42 steals and 1 goal) and goalie Gabriel Dums (68 saves, 2 PKs saved, 3 shutouts).
Coach Jared Miklich has six returning seniors and juniors plus five freshmen on this year’s roster.
Dayton is coming off a 4-8-3 record. Six of the eight losses were by one goal.
“We have a good group of five freshman who are working hard to fill in some holes in our line-up,” Miklich said. “We will be working with a new, freshman goalkeeper this year. She will be an outstanding keeper for our program.
“We will be looking to our returning starters for leadership on the field to help our new players get up to speed. Our captains, Alaura Greenwalt and Karla Montana are providing some strong leadership.”
Miklich has also been impressed with Gemma Acevedo and Perla Lozano.
“They have worked particularly hard preparing themselves for this season,” Miklich said. “They are both in really good shape. McKenzie Frazier has been working hard this past week at practice. We are also looking forward to having Sydney Strickler move up the field to a forward position.”
Greenwalt had six goals and six assists a year ago, while Strickler, Frazier and Claire Holloway added two each.