Carson volleyball set for season
If a high school volleyball team is going to have just one senior, it’s nice to have her at setter.
And Carson has one of the best setters in the state in senior Lindsay Ford, who is receiving interest in the college level. Carson coach Shana Wilkins is counting on Ford’s experienced leadership for her young team this year that also features two juniors and 11 sophomores.
“We are very young,” Wilkins said. But that doesn’t mean expectations aren’t high for Wilkins.
Even though the Senators are young they have six players with varsity experience. “We’ll do really well,” Wilkins said.
Wilkins said she hopes her team can contend for the Sierra League title and even for one of the two spots from the North to the NIAA 4A State Championships.
“That’s always ultimately the goal,” said Wilkins about making state. “I think we’re very talented.
“We have a lot of athletes. That’s awesome. You can’t train athletes as fast as you can train volleyball players. You can train volleyball players.”
And it starts with Ford. “She is awesome,” Wilkins said. “She’ll be one of the best setters in the state this year. That will help my young players.”
The two juniors who return are outside hitters Nicole Carlevato and Morgan Nuckols.
Three sophomores also had varsity experience last year as freshmen – Right side hitter Shannon Earwood, sophomore middle blocker Sandie Howard and middle blocker Nikki Keller.
Earwood and Keller are coming back from knee injuries. Howard is the tallest player on the team at 6-3.
While Carson may not be as strong of a blocking team as in the past, it should be stronger defensively. “We’re better defensively,” Wilkins said.
And with Howard, Keller and the 5-9 Kailey Taylor, another middle blocker, Wilkins said her team should be able to hold its own at the net.
“We’ll be a decent blocking team,” Wilkins said. About Keller, Wilkins said, “She’s 5-10 with long arms and can jump.”
About Taylor, Wilkins said, “She can jump through the roof. She’s going to do really well. She can block really well.”
Another outside hitter will be Breanna Anderson. “She’s going to be a great hitter,” Wilkins said.
Danae Eckart is also an outside hitter, who’s an outstanding defensive player. “She’s just all over the place,” Wilkins said.
Also on the outside will be Blaike King, who played for the Capital City Volleyball Club’s 16 and under team. Wilkins was quick to point out that the number of players who are playing club volleyball has increased considerably.
She said the talent level of the program has improved, adding that the freshman and junior varsity teams are loaded with talent. Wilkins gave much of the credit to the Capital City Volleyball Club. “I had more kids that played club this year,” she said.
An interesting twist this year will be the introduction of the libero, which is used on the college level. The libero is a defensive specialist, who wears a different colored jersey, and can be substituted more liberally into the back row.
While the libero has to stay in the back row, she can hit as long as the ball is below the plane of the net. But the libero’s main purpose is to play defense and the libero is normally strong in passing and on serve return.
Wilkins is looking forward to the chance to use a libero. “It’s the best thing in the world,” she said.
Among the candidates to be the libero are defensive specialists Mavil Diaz, Anjelica Blad and Hannah Hein.
Wilkins looks for a wide open Sierra League race. Douglas and South Tahoe have traditionally been strong and Wilkins also looks for Reno High to be among the top teams.
“I think we should be right there with them,” Wilkins said. “We want to be in the fight for the first or second out of league.”
Galena, the two-time defending state champion, should again be among the top Northern 4A teams contending for a state berth.