Local volleyball club looks to repeat | NevadaAppeal.com

Local volleyball club looks to repeat

Charles Whisnand column

They were able to finish third in the nation at last year’s U.S. Junior Olympics.

Now they are faced with the challenge of duplicating that performance. Competing in the 17 and under division, the Capital City Volleyball Club, formerly known as Silver State, was able to place third at last year’s U.S. Junior Olympics.

The nucleus of that team is back and has moved up to the 18 and under division with the goal of making a return trip to the U.S. Junior Olympics in July in Atlanta.

The team is missing one player from last year’s squad, Galena High’s Joanna Hixon. Since Hixon has signed to play basketball at Montana State, she’s concentrating on that sport.

But the rest of the nucleus is back, including Fallon’s Tristin Adams and Carly Sorensen, who have both signed to play volleyball with the University of Nevada.

There’s also 5-11 middle blocker Emily Haas of Douglas High, who has verbally committed to the University of San Diego, which advanced to the NCAA Tournament last year. Haas will sign with San Diego later this month.

Carson High’s Rachael DeRiemer is another returnee. DeRiemer has signed with Point Loma Nazarene University, an NAIA school in the San Diego area.

There’s also Brittany Addeo of Douglas. Addeo is deciding between Division II schools Aldephi of New York and Graceland of Ohio.

North Tahoe junior Teal Ericson also returns. Capital City coach Steve George said Ericson should make a verbal commitment to a school in the next month.

“Teal’s got a lot of people recruiting her right now,” George said. “She’s got a lot of big schools recruiting her.”

Among the newcomers is Galena’s Whitney Dibble, who has signed to play volleyball for Division II Seattle Pacific. Another newcomer is Galena sophomore Kate Wallace.

Dayton junior Carey Kytle has also joined the team. “I think she’ll get a scholarship next year,” George said.

Rounding out the team are Carson junior Kaitlin Brush, Reno High’s Anne McKenzie and McQueen’s Mallory Principe.

The team found out how difficult it will be to return to nationals at a tournament last weekend in Tampa, Fla.

“We probably had the worst tournament we played in a couple of years,” George said. “I think they were embarrassed.”

Still, had Capital City not lost one key match to Golden Bear of the Bay Area, it would have had a respectable finish. Capital City lost to Golden Bear 25-23, 29-31, 15-17.

“We would have had a decent tournament,” George said. “We would have finished fine.

One difference between Capital City and other clubs is the Carson City-based club encourages its players to participate in other sports. In most other clubs, players stick strictly to volleyball.

While Capital City was playing in its first tournament in Tampa, most of the other clubs have been playing in tournaments since December.

“It really puts us in a big hole,” George said. “Hopefully we’ll catch up lilke we did last year.”

Capital City has two more chances to qualify for nationals in a tournament in Southern California April 11-13 and in the Far Western Qualifier April 17-19 in Reno. Capital City must finish in the top three in one of those tournaments to make it back to nationals.

“We have to earn a qualifying spot,” George said. “They don’t give you any breaks.”

George said his team has the talent to match last year’s performance, but the key will be if the team cam put it together mentally.

“Hopefully we’ll qualify so we’re not pressured in our last qualifier,” said Haas about the SoCal qualifier.

“I just think if we work as a team and pull together as a team we can do it. I think it will work out. I really have faith we can do it.”

About the Tampa tournament, Haas said, “It could have been a lot better. We have a lot to work on in practice.”

Haas was in the envious position of deciding between UC Santa Barbara and San Diego. Haas said she’s owes a great deal to the Capital City club.

“Steve’s gave me what I have basically,” she said. “He’s the best coach I’ve ever had. He’s taught me a lot.”

Charles Whisnand is the Nevada Appeal Sports Editor.