Truckee volleyball: Wolverines optimistic about new season
Truckee volleyball coach Erika Murphy was reluctant to talk up her team after its first on-court action last week.
She feels a lot better about it after Monday’s home-opening match — a 3-1 win over Division I Galena.
“Last week after our scrimmages, I would have said we have a ton of work to do. Our chemistry was awful, like oil and water,” Murphy said. “But after (Monday) night, I think we actually look pretty darn good. We’re coming around.”
The Wolverines are relatively young in 2015 after losing four seniors to graduation, Kari Murphy, Taylor Stevens, Tori Simpson and Katherine Englert, and two other starting players who moved away over the summer, Shelby Gendreau and Lauren Anderson.
Being Truckee — a perennial playoff contender and three-time state champion — the team returns plenty of talent, however.
It starts with the big four, Anais Fay, Maddie Haley and Katie Fisher, all seniors, and junior left-hander Maia Dvoracek. All are hard hitters with athleticism and intensity to spare.
Dvoracek is coming off a fine summer of club volleyball, as she and her Northern California Volleyball Club (NCVC) team out of Sacramento won a national title at the Junior Olympics in its 17-year-old division. Dvoracek was nominated for tournament MVP, Murphy said.
“Maia is one of the most versatile players I’ve had in a really long time,” Murphy said of the 6-foot left-side hitter. “She is so fun to coach. She kills it and there’s really no answer from the other team. When she makes contact, it’s a done deal. She also keeps everything really light on the court, and that seems to really be a positive for the team.”
Fay and Haley, who are co-team captains along with Dvoracek, also competed in the Junior Olympics this past summer with their NCVC 18 team. Haley, a middle blocker, is the tallest player on the Truckee squad at 6-1. Fay and Fisher are 5-9 and 5-8, respectively, giving Murphy plenty of options at the net. She said Fay is “a force to be reckoned with,” while Fisher has developed a nasty kill with heavy topspin.
“I should have at least two big hitters with every rotation,” Murphy said.
While Truckee has not designated a libero, senior Sierra Halberstadt and junior Sara Grahn-Nilson have played well at defensive specialist. Murphy also called up three sophomores — Stephanie Randall, Maddie Bromley and Jordan Brown. Seniors Maria Madeiros and Tatum Kula and junior Ellie Simpson round out the Truckee roster.
Murphy said she’s unsure what to expect from the rest of the Northern Division I-A, although Lowry returns a fair amount of seniors and Dayton returns its former coach who led the Dust Devils to a deep postseason run a couple seasons ago. South Tahoe is always strong as well, as is Elko, despite losing some key seniors from last year’s team.
Truckee will compete this weekend against large schools in the High Sierra Tournament. The Wolverines begin league play at Sparks next Wednesday, Sept. 9.