Darrell Moody: Jaycie Roberts has successful first season at Niagara | NevadaAppeal.com

Darrell Moody: Jaycie Roberts has successful first season at Niagara

Jaycie Roberts was an instant hit for the Niagara University volleyball team.

Roberts, a freshman and Carson High grad, was named to the all-MAAC rookie team recently. The season ended with a semifinal loss to Iona, a match that saw Roberts garner six kills, 10 digs and a block. Niagara ended the season with an 18-10 record.

For the season, Roberts had 221 kills, which was second on the team and a third-best 283 digs. She accounted for 251 points, second to Nicole Matheis.

"We were very excited with Jaycie's contributions to the team," coach Vilis Ozols said. "She ended up being one of the top freshmen in the conference and that was reflected in her selection to the rookie team.

"She had wonderful numbers, both offensively and defensively. Her mental toughness and experience allowed her to contribute in a way few freshmen are able to."

Roberts was recruited primarily as a defensive specialist, but injuries to two outside hitters opened the door to a starting spot.

Recommended Stories For You

"It was a fortunate set of circumstance that opened the door for a lot of her success this season," Ozols said. "She never relinquished the position even as the injuries resolved themselves. Having said that, it will be a interesting preseason.

"Jaycie is good enough to compete at two positions, outside hitter and libero. We also have recruits coming in at those positions, so it will make for some heated competition.

"The one position that is virtually unthinkable for Jaycie is for her to be on the bench because she is just a valuable contributor."

•••

While Roberts is just getting started with her collegiate career, ex-Dayton star Madison Foley ended her Nevada career recently.

Foley concluded her career with 13 kills and four digs in a loss to Boise State. Foley finished with 218 kills on the season, fourth-best on the squad, and she also had 186 digs, which was fifth-best on the team. She had 15 matches where she recorded 10 or more kills.

The high point of her season came against Utah State when she served up her 118th career ace, which put her third all-time.

•••

I truly thought Nick Saban was above politicking, yet there he was after the Auburn loss telling reporters the Crimson Tide deserved a chance at the playoffs.

Maybe Saban should have thought about that when he scheduled a walkover so late in the season. I have no problems with cupcakes per se, but make it in the first 2-3 weeks in the season not in the next-to-last week of the regular season.

The Crimson Tide is No. 5 right now, but that could change as No. 2 Auburn lost to No. 6 Georgia on Saturday.

I just wish the format was expanded to either eight or 16.