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Tahoe-Truckee volleyball team eyes state finals

BAY KELLEY, Sierra Sun

In its attempt at “fine-tuning,” the Tahoe-Truckee Wolverine volleyball team is en route to perfect pitch.

Bustling with confidence, the Wolverines are prepared and expect to go to the state finals this year.

Although they only made it to the zones before being eliminated last year, all of the girls on the Tahoe-Truckee team participated in club volleyball (which is played all winter.)

They have not missed a beat since last season and the team is in prime condition.

“We’re setting practice to the level of the highest player … and it’s working,” said 13-year Wolverine Head Coach Maggie Shane. “The level of play is so much higher than in past years.

This is a really good team and when we’re at practice, it’s just an issue of fine tuning.”

Team building

At noon this past Sunday, Shane and the team left on a team-building excursion.

A tradition of sorts, Shane, this year, took the squad to Castle Peak Summit where each of the players, after hoisting their back-packs up to 9,100 feet above sea level, signed the registry.

Shane explained that she asked each of the players to describe two assets that they offer to the team.

She was impressed to find that each of the players was more prone to list a character trait that is beneficial to the team as a whole instead of bragging on a skill.

The team

There are 14 players on the varsity team and at least half of them are seniors. According to Shane, 10 to 12 of the 14 players are more or less of equal ability which lends itself to a myriad different set ups.

Emphasizing the depth of the team, Shane explained that there are four middle hitters, four setters, and four outside hitters in which she has complete confidence.The depth allows players more rest and highlights different skills.

With each of the players playing volleyball practically year-round, the team has a lot of hours tallied on the court and, as a result, is significantly more confident in its skills.

Kendra Murphy, playing her senior year, is the main setter. Shane described Murphy as having incredible stamina (“holding it together even when she’s tired”) and as having a “beautiful set of hands.”

Two more seniors, Sara Ford and Erin DeMont, were highlighted as the middle players. Ford, standing at about 6-feet tall, serves as the blocker in the center. DeMont, on the other hand is an “exceptional hitter.”

On the outside, the featured player is Jasmine Eisenberg. Eisenberg was a setter last year, but now serves opposite the setter as an outside hitter or alternate setter.

“She is a strong, strong hitter and is very fast,” said Shane. “She is probably our strongest outside hitter.”

Jessie Boreen is also an outside hitter, and was described by Shane as being a great blocker, a strong hitter and a quick player.

Abbey Whitfield and Robyn Moore will contribute to the defense. Moore’s strengths include being a great blocker (playing last year as a middle hitter before moving to the outside this year) while Whitfield is is the “best middle back.” She said Whitfield is also “very good at helping the new girls learn.”

There are two transfers on the team. Emily Feliciano enrolled from North Tahoe and Amanda Rink moved to the area from Redding. Both players are being eased into the setter position. Rink is an “awesome passer” and is described by Shane as being the most technically correct of the Truckee team. Feliciano is more of a defensive specialist.

Shannon Russ and Lindsey Babb round out the outside position. Russ is the equivalent of a pinch hitter, according to Shane, in that she is a consistent player that can adapt to any position.

Molly Major will play out her senior year as a middle hitter. Tiffany Parry, stuck in injured reserve due to surgery on her right shoulder, hopes to return in a couple of months. Being a strong defensive player, Shane is using the opportunity to coach Parry on left-handed hitting.

The Wolverines are confident in their ability, even facing a lot more 4A teams in tournaments and during the year than they have in past years. The Wolverines are also looking for more varied opponents, versus playing teams that are simply in near vicinity. Such is the case tomorrow when the team leaves on a 200-mile trip to the Winnemucca Tournament in Nevada where they’ll compete against teams from Utah and Idaho.


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