Carson High’s Roberts to play volleyball at Niagara University
Carson High standout Jaycie Roberts, one of the best players in Northern Nevada the last four years, will attend Niagara University on a volleyball scholarship.
In front of family, friends and school officials, Roberts made her decision official on Wednesday. Roberts was a four-year starter and three-year captain at Carson. She also played several years for the Silver State Volleyball Club.
“It was a beautiful campus, the girls were nice and the business major is awesome,” Roberts said last week. “They have a 98 percent (placement) rate after graduation. I haven’t decided what type of business I want to go into. They have a program where you can test various (business) programs out.
“I was hesitant originally to sign because it was so far away. I wanted to stay on the West Coast because of the weather and a chance to play beach volleyball, but the visit to the campus changed my mind. I’m totally excited. It is so far away. The school side is scary. I think it will be fine after a couple of months.”
The 5-foot-9 Roberts, who started for CHS as a libero her freshman year and averaged more than 10 digs per match, is being recruited by Niagara as a defensive specialist/libero.
Vilis Ozols, the Niagara head coach, said Roberts came on his radar after Silver State recruiter Jim Saari reached out to him.
“Jim said he had a special kid playing at the club and reached out to us,” Ozols said. “I got a chance to see her play in Las Vegas at a national qualifier. I also watched film and I liked what I saw. She is a great kid with an excellent volleyball IQ.
“We are bringing her in mainly as a defensive specialist. We feel she has the skills to help us right out of the gate. She very well may play elsewhere. I know she could play up front (offensively), but my biggest concern is blocking. It’s defense at the net that concerns me.”
Roberts has been one of the most dominant hitters the last three years, amassing 1,008 kills and 712 digs. Her freshman numbers weren’t available.
Niagara’s roster has six players 6-feet or taller, including 6-5 sophomore-to-be middle blocker Aleksandra Steins.
“They are pretty big,” Roberts said. “It may be a rough transition back into that (libero) spot. I played a little there with my club team last year because our regular libero had blood sugar issues. I think it will click (after a while). I’ve played there most of my life.”
Roberts was the glue that held Carson’s defense together her freshman year. She was fearless, constantly digging up balls for most hitters would have been points. Roberts never met a ball she couldn’t dig, and to get one down against her took a pretty good play.
“I think she will pick it back up right away,” Carson High coach Robert Maw said. “When she played back row for us, she was a psuedo libero even though we already had one on the floor (Abigail Pradere). I think she will be fine.
“I wouldn’t be surprised after the coach sees her hit that she doesn’t get time in the front row. I think schools look at size. I think a lot of people underestimate her; her hops and the ability to get up in the air. I think she will be able to compete with these girls.”
Roberts is one of four defensive specialists on the roster. Junior Taylor Kellis, sophomore Emillie Wright and senior Rylie Hunt, the two-time Libero of the Year in the MAAC, all return.
“In our scheme, the best defensive player is the libero,” Ozols said. “The biggest thing is learning to adjust to the bigger fronts.”