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Spikers anticipate 1st-place season

ERICK STUDENICKA

Visitors walking into the Tahoe-Truckee High School gymnasium during volleyball practice in late August may have wondered whether they were witnessing the hard-working Wolverine players preparing for the upcoming season or for a future role in the “G.I. Jane” sequel.

“This team has set its goal – and that’s to win state,” said Wolverine coach Maggie Shane while watching her team go through conditioning exercises earlier this week. “This is a dedicated group – since Aug. 18, the team has practiced twice a day for up to six hours. We’ve always conditioned, but we’re working even harder this year.”

Wanting to win the state title is more than just talk this year. Perhaps for the first time in school history, the Wolverines really do have a shot at winning the state title. Truckee is coming off its best finish (fifth) at the 1996 state tournament and will have one of the most experienced teams in the state, starting six seniors.

“I really do believe this team is capable of beating our fifth-place finish in 1996,” said Shane. “We lost only two players from last year’s team (Jessica Valle and Alisha York) and our entire starting lineup will be very experienced.”

Shane said the team, with three players 5’10” to 6′ tall, has the required height to be competitive against the top teams in Nevada. Those frontline players, anticipated to record the majority of kills for the Wolverines this year, include Nicole Urata, Carrie Teague and Kris Silva.

“Most teams have one or two players that tall – to have three players is pretty good,” Shane said.

Shane said the setter position is one of Truckee’s strongest. Sandy Thiel, Virginai Wise and Nancy Brewer all will share time at that position this season.

“Sandy was first-team All-Division last year, but all of the setters have been doing a good job,” Shane said.

Other players making the varsity squad this year include Monica Gadda, Melissa Olsen, Jennifer Marks, Katie Tierney and Erin Tomasello.

“All of our players have good individual skills,” Shane said. “Our goal this year is to play smart so we don’t have to work so hard.”

Shane said that a true “team chemistry” exists on this year’s Wolverine squad.

“All of the players on the team get along well and understand their role on the team,” Shane said. “There’s a friendly rivalry between players to get more playing time and that makes them work harder.”

In order for the Wolverines to improve on their fifth-place finish from 1996, Shane said that Truckee will have to get by division rivals North Tahoe and Battle Mountain.

“Battle Mountain finished second in the state last year and lost only a few seniors, so they’ll be strong again,” Shane said. “North Tahoe is the defending Division I champion and they’re always a good rival.”

Shane, the Wolverines’ coach between 1985-91, returns to the Truckee bench this year after taking time off from volleyball to spend time with her children. She was an assistant last year to Erika Murphy, who’s taking a season off to spend time with her family this year.

First victory

Truckee opened its pre-league season last Thursday (Aug. 28) with a 15-3, 15-5, 15-5 road sweep of River City of Sacramento. River City is in town today for a rematch with the Wolverines beginning at 5:30 p.m. Shane said the Wolverines will receive a tough test this weekend at the Incline Tournament.


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