Dayton High previews: Halverson back in charge of v-ball program
After a one-year hiatus, Monica Halverson is back in charge of the Dayton High volleyball program.
Halverson returns after Dayton went 21-10 under coach Mike Edmiston. She left the program after the 2013 season for personal reasons.
The team opens its 2015 season Friday at the two-day Yerington Tournament.
“I decided I wanted to come back,” Halverson said. “I missed it. Ben (my husband) is behind me 100 percent, and together we’ll make it work.
“It was 50-50 when I decided to leave. I love doing this and being around the environment.”
Halverson has seven returnees — Rachel Hadley, Shalia Powell, Katie Turner, Taylor Lockett, Kallie and Kassie Strong, and Makenna Olsen. Varsity newcomers are Kayla Celedon, Kali Lampshire, Hailey Wells, Rebecca and Ashley Mason, and Brianda Diaz, a freshman.
“Diaz needed to be challenged,” Halverson said. “It really wasn’t going to help her to play JV. The Masons are going to be good players. They just need to understand how varsity works.”
Hadley was a hitter last year (132 kills), but Halverson believes she’s more valuable in the libero role.
“She (Hadley) had some injuries, and we have people up front that can hit,” Halverson said. “This is more a natural position, and she is a precision passer.”
Powell had 88 digs and more than 570 assists a year ago, Olsen (69 kills, 17 blocks and 14 digs) is a presence at middle blocker. Those are three key cogs to build around. The Strongs are also expected to contribute up front.
Dayton doesn’t have a dominating player like Madison Foley, but Halverson believes the team has some good depth.
“We have speed, and we’ll be able to get balls back up; play good defense,” Halverson said. “If we can do things like that we can be a next-level team. We played a lot together in the summer, and I think we’re going to jell.
“A lot of the girls play club, and that makes it easier (to teach). We just tweak things to how we want to play.”
Halverson plans to run a 5-1 with Powell.
“I’m very happy (with Shalia),” Halverson said. “She works very hard. When she is playing front row she can jump and block the ball. She is pretty sneaky. She knows how to read the defense.”
Halverson, who guided the Dust Devils to a berth in the state tournament two years ago, believes her squad should contend for a playoff spot.
Dayton girls are young with a combined 12 freshmen and sophmores on a squad that went 1-18 overall and 0-16 in league.
“We only have three seniors,” Dayton coach Jared Miklich said. “We’re more experienced than we have been which is good.
“It’s tough. We’re playing in a league very above our level right now.”
Indeed. Sparks, South Tahoe and Truckee are capable of giving large-school teams all they can handle.
Miklich is focusing on defense, putting cros-country star Sydney Strickler and Zaria Landis outside on defense.
“They will be in a more of a defensive role,” Miklich said. “We want to shut down crosses (from the wings).”
Karla Montano, a sophomore, and McKenzie Frazier, a sophomore, are expected to help bolster a Dust Devils’ offense that had trouble finding the net last year.
All of Dayton’s goals came in an 8-0 win over Yerington.
The Dust Devils are playing in the one-day Hug Tournament on Saturday in Reno.
Luis Melgarejo takes over a program that went 0-18 overall and 0-16 in league play a year ago. The team scored just 20 goals the entire season,
The Dust Devils open their season Friday at the Douglas JV Tournament.
Dayton does return its top three scorers from last year — senior Jaime Avila (8 goals), sophomore Victor Gomez-Lozano (4 goals) and junior Jorddy Diaz (3 goals).
The team also returns defender Carlos Landa, defender Jonathan Torres, forward-midfielder Marco Torres, midfielder-keeper Gabriel Dums, midfielder Clay Dixon, midfielder Jaime Sanchez and midfielder Vladamir Soto.