Silver State Volleyball club looks to qualify for nationals |

Silver State Volleyball club looks to qualify for nationals

Charles Whisnand column

Rachael DeRiemer still takes the high school season seriously, but now in her mind playing volleyball in the fall just keeps her in shape for when she joins the Silver State Volleyball Club.

“This is the real season,” said DeRiemer about the club season that’s now underway.

For the Carson City based club’s 17 and under gold team, the end result is hopefully qualifying for the National Junior Olympics for the second straight year. Last year, the bulk of this year’s 17 and under team was able to qualify for the National Junior Olympics in the 16 and under division. They qualified despite really being together for their first year of club volleyball competition.

The 17 and under gold team has already almost qualified for nationals, which will be held this summer in Salt Lake City. The team placed fifth in a tournament in Southern California, nearly qualifying for the Junior Olympics.

“We were kind of curious and just knowing we can compete at that level was very encouraging,” DeRiemer said. “We’re excited to go into that next tournament.”

That next tournament will begin Friday and run through Sunday when the team competes in the Colorado Crossroads Tournament in Kansas City. Evidently, the event is known as the Colorado Crossroads because it’s held in Kansas City.

The team will have another chance to qualify for the Junior Olympics in a tournament in Sacramento.

“It will be a tremendous field of teams,” said the team’s coach, Steve George about the next two tournaments. “These two tournaments will determine if we can get into Junior Olympics or not.”

The team has already shown it can compete with the nation’s best. The team has played four clubs that have qualified for Junior Olympics, beating one of them and taking the other three to three games in best two-of-three matches.

The club lost to the nation’s No. 1 team, the Nevada Juniors of Las Vegas, in three games.

Despite having less experience and less size than their opponents, the club has been competitive. Most teams that the club faces averages five to eight players who are 6-0 to 6-3. “The thing that we’ve got going for us is we’re very, very fast,” George said. “We have to try to outhustle people.”

While many on the team play more than one sport, that’s not the case with most other volleyball clubs.

“Most of them play just volleyball,” Silver State director Clay Thompson said. “They don’t play other sports. I think individually, athletically, we can go against anybody.”

Thompson said athletes in his club are encouraged to play other sports. “I think that makes a more well-rounded athlete,” he said.

George said when the players began in the club as freshmen, they “were very, very raw and had very little volleyball skill.”

The skill level improved last year, but the team needed to work on the mental aspect of the game, George said.

“I think we’re a 100 percent better than we were last year as far as understanding the intensity it takes to win,” George said. “Hopefully we’ve taken a big leap there.”

But George said the difference of many matches comes down to just a couple of points.

“We’ve got to be a little more mentally focused throughout the match and that comes with experience,” he said. “Athletically we can play with anybody.

“It really is remarkable that the girls in a short span of time have been able to get to the level they have got. The girls have a lot to be proud of.”

DeRiemer, a Carson High junior, agreed, saying the club has made her game “100 percent better. Like every aspect as a player this made me better because of the club.”

DeRiemer is also among the many players on the club who are being recruited on the Division I level.

“The better teams get more looks and they’re getting a lot of looks,” said George about his team being recruited on the Division I level. “Most of them have very, very legitimate shots to get scholarships. I’d say most of them are getting pretty strong looks.”

Two of the team’s players who are being recruited heavily are DeRiemer and setter Tristin Adams of Fallon.

“She has the potential to develop into a top level Division I, as good as they are out there,” George said. “Tristin’s grown remarkably from last year.”

“Rachael has probably improved more than anybody from last year,” George also said about DeRiemer. “When she’s on her game, she’s been just terrific.”

Other players on the team are Carson’s Shannon Devereaux, North Tahoe’s Teal Ericson, Douglas High’s Emily Haas and Brittany Addeo, Galena’s Joanna Hixon and Fallon’s Carly Sorensen.

Silver State’s other clubs have also done well in competition. The 18 and under silver team has won an area league tournament as has the 15 and under gold team in the 16 and under division.

Charles Whisnand is the Nevadsa Appeal Sports Editor.