Truckee volleyball squad hopes to ride size to first state title
With half of its 14-player roster standing 5-foot-7 or taller, the Truckee High volleyball team is large in stature.
Made up of just two seniors and the rest juniors and sophomores, first-year head coach Nicole Annaloro hopes they play just as large on the court this season.
“This is the most talented team I’ve ever coached,” Annaloro said of her Wolverines, who went 6-4 and took second-place in the season-opening Lowry Tournament on Aug. 25-26. “It’s also the youngest.”
During the Lowry Tournament, the young Truckee squad showed Annaloro its mettle by defeating each of the three teams it lost to earlier in the tourney ” Lowry, Elko and Bishop Manogue ” before losing in the championship match to Northern 3A opponent Yerington.
“The girls are very coachable,” said Annaloro, who played four years of college volleyball in the Bay Area at Notre Dame de Namur and has eight years of coaching experience, including one year at the college level. “They respond to what I ask of them.
“On the second day (of the Lowry Tournament), I asked them to play with a lot of passion, and I think that’s what got us to the championship game.”
The Wolverines’ performance to open the season was enough to give Annaloro high hopes.
“We’re hoping to go all the way,” she said, referring to bringing home Truckee’s first ever Nevada 3A state title. “They have the potential.”
Senior defensive specialist Jordan Raber is on the same page.
“I think the team is looking very good. I think we have a very good chance at being successful this year,” said Raber, the only senior besides Shannon Holt. “We have a really big block in front and good diggers in the back row. We have a big team (size wise) with more girls. The team is 14 strong, and all the girls can play pretty much every position.”
The team’s strength?
“The wall we have in the front row,” Raber said, adding that size is not the team’s only asset. “I think we’re strong in all areas. I don’t think we have one area where we’re weak.”
For the coach, of course, there is one area of concern.
“We’re still fine-tuning our defense. I think that will be a constant area for us to work on,” Annaloro said.
Melanie Lashbrook, a 5-foot-10 senior who played varsity as a sophomore last season, said this year’s group is bigger and better across the board.
“We seem more deep and we have more experience because a lot of players are playing year ’round now (in club volleyball),” Lashbrook said. “We’re looking good. We have a lot better passing and we have a lot of powerful hitters in the front row.”
Junior Megan Murphy, a 5-4 setter whom Annaloro expects to be among the team’s leaders, pointed to “friendship and determination” as team strengths. She, too, has confidence in her team entering the regular season, which begins with a home match against North Tahoe on Wednesday at 6 p.m.
“Coach said we’re going to win state, and we’re pretty confident we can do that,” Murphy said.
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