Carson volleyball ready for new season
The pecking order was set last year in the Sierra League and Damonte Ranch, Reno High and Douglas established their positions.
Carson finished fourth in the Sierra League to make the Northern 4A playoffs. With 10 returning players, the Senators are hoping to break through and crack the top three. But it should be as tough as ever.
“We should be pretty good talent-wise,” Carson coach Shana Wilkins said. “We’re very talented.”
Wilkins said her program is to the point now skill-wise that her team can focus on “advanced skills” in practice and “fine tune our game.”
But Wilkins said the downfall to the Sierra League is the top three teams, which includes the defending NIAA 4A state champion in Damonte, should be as strong as ever.
“Not even showing up, that puts us down a little bit,” said Wilkins about where her team could be projected to finish.
Wilkins, though, isn’t giving up on being able to challenge the league’s top three teams.
“I think we’ll be able to compete with those teams,” she said. “Something could go our way and we could beat one of those teams. That’s our goal.”
Carson is experienced and young at the same time. There are only two new players on the 12-person roster, but there are also just two seniors as well as 10 juniors.
The biggest concern for Carson is replacing the only player it lost from last year, setting Lindsay Ford, who has gone on to a Division I school, the University of Hartford. Junior Shannon Earwood, who backed up Ford last year, will take over the setting duties.
“She was training last year to take over the position,” Wilkins said. “It will be a big job for her but I think she’ll be able to do it. She’s learning real quick.
“Hopefully we won’t struggle too much. We’re talented but we’ll see if we can put it together when it counts.”
Rounding out the roster are junior right side hitter Danae Eckart, senior outside hitter Nicole Carlevato, junior middle blockers Kailey Taylor and Kristina Diamond, junior outside hitter Breanna Anderson, junior middle blocker Nikki Keller, senior outside hitter Morgan Nuckolls, junior outside hitter Blaike King, junior defensive specialist Mavel Diaz and junior defensive specialist Katie McEwan.
Newcomer Bridgett Huish, a junior, will be the back up setter and can also play right side hitter.
Since her team is so strong defensively, Wilkins said she doesn’t know if she’s going to use a libero this year.
“I don’t know if we’re going to use one yet,” she said. “My kids are really good at defense. I know a lot of them worked hard in the off season and got real good at defense.”
Wilkins said the fact that her players continue to participate in club volleyball has upgraded the program’s skill level.
Carson will have a chance to see where it stands right away as it will open the season in a tournament in Las Vegas on Friday and Saturday. Douglas, Manogue and Damonte along with top schools from Las Vegas will play in the event.