Nevada Union boys volleyball head coach Marco Salcedo pulled no punches Monday when talking about his team’s goals and expectations for the 2013 season.
“We want to win league, hands down,” Salcedo said. “We want to get through sections and win NorCals.”
Last season, the Miners went 28-11, placed third in the Sierra Foothill League and lost in five sets in the Sac-Joaquin Section semifinals to eventual section champ Granite Bay.
This year’s squad returns much of last season’s starting lineup, including Trevor Bryant, Lucas Vojak, Austin Marks and Bobby Curtis, which has Salcedo feeling like he has the best team in the section.
“For us, any wins or losses are going to come all from our side,” he said. “All the wins and losses are flat out on our side of the net. There’s no team out there, whether its the Vegas (tournament) or at the Bellermine Tournament, there are no teams out there that are flat out better than us.”
Salcedo’s assertions will be put to the test today when the Miners open SFL play against last season’s section runner-up, Rocklin.
The Thunder beat the Miners twice last season, accounting for half of NU’s league losses. Granite Bay accounted for the other two SFL losses.
This year, Salcedo said the tables have turned, and it’s his squad that has the talent and senior leadership that will help NU capture the league title.
Nevada Union has several seniors to lean on, including UC Santa Barbara-bound Curtis, and Cal State Northridge-bound Bryant.
“(Trevor’s) just a smart player,” Salcedo said. “He knows where to put the ball. He doesn’t hit as hard as he used to because he just places the ball. He’s just knows the game, he has a lot to learn still, but knows the game really well.
“Bobby is coming on real strong. He’s racking up kills left and right. We got a couple of things we are working on this week that will add four or five more kills per game which will be big, and that’s the separation we need. That will make a big difference.”
The Miners are bringing in a new libero this season to replace graduate Kyler Malarae, said Salcedo.
Chandler Heppe, who did a multitude of things for NU off the bench last season, has assumed the role of libero with early success, Salcedo said.
Replacing Roman Seghezzi as the setter is Salcedo’s son, Mason Salcedo, along with Evan Kittle and, at times, Bryant.
“This is the type of team where it’s going to come down to my coaching with Kelly (Rhoden),” Marco Salcedo said. “The reality is that they are a big group of stallion horses, and I’ve got to be able to hold those reins just right and make them work as a full team instead of having four or five horses running wild. The section is ours to lose. There are no teams out there that have the talent that we have.”
The Miners will begin their quest to win league at 6 p.m. today against Rocklin at the Albert Ali Gymnasium where NU only lost two contests last season.
To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, call 530-477-4232 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.