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A campaign we all can get behind

If one ever needed a campaign manager, Karen Shumacher and Marco Salcedo would be a couple of good choices.

You see, prior to this year’s boys volleyball campaign, they would corner anyone who asked and convince them that Nevada Union volleyball was going to be special, spectacular, and extraordinary.

They spoke of the front line, the defensive specialists, and the setting. Some shrugged their shoulders as they walked away. Others bought the religion. There was a group that had the wait-and-see attitude. Regardless, it was surely provocative to ponder.



But not even their words were enough to prepare Nevada County for the story that is developing before our eyes.

This squad has come out of the gate and spread a path of destruction from Nevada City to Davis. They have devoured every team they have faced. In 14 matches, they have lost a scant two games. They have attacked in waves and left opposition wondering what happened. With a 14-0 record still relatively early in the 2008 season, this team is rolling like a runaway freight train.




They are ranked 22nd in the United States and 12th in the state of California.

Coach Salcedo has gathered a remarkable squad, loaded with focus and skill. Most would contend there is no bench, no second team. Salcedo has been afforded the luxury of shuttling players in and out with absolutely no reduction in performance and talent. Players may rest, but they are never out for long.

One only needs to consider this weekend’s UC Davis tournament as proof.

Nevada Union swept through their pool play only to find themselves in the semifinals and then powered past Woodcreek to claim the championship.

So what is it about this team that is fulfilling Shumacher and Salcedo’s prophesy?

“I have six returning starting players,” Salcedo remarked. “We dealt with a lot of injuries last year while hanging with a lot of great teams. Our whole rotation is solid. There is no letdown. It is a luxury to have such a deep team.”

Indeed, this addition of the Miners is deep. Nick Cancilla, Austin Shumacher and Alex Bernadett are all outstanding senior hitters. Blend into the mix Stu Chapman, a transfer from Southern California who has also made a big impact at Outside hitter. Then consider the returning starters of Tyler Salcedo at setter, Cory George at middle hitter, and Jason Adams at Libero, and you have a team of which most schools would dream.

Yet it is the junior varsity players of last year who have also made gigantic contributions. Justin Carroll is among the best.

“He has taken his game to the college level,” Salcedo stated. Most will agree.

Then once you add it Luke Parker, Pat McTighe, Anthony Ruggiero and Kevin Trapani, it rounds out an incredible group of high quality players. Much is expected of all of these players and playing time is balanced out equally. This quartet has really improved their play and all have arrived as major surprises. It provides the luxury of bringing in all new hitters. This not only affords players rest, it also confuses the defensive efforts of the opposition.

Salcedo describes Shumacher, Carroll and Cancilla as “unstoppable.” He terms George “nearly impossible to defend.” Adams is “the best libero in the league.” And Tyler Salcedo is known as a player who “can hit anyone from anywhere for a great set.”

The results speak for themselves.

“I will be upset if we do not go undefeated,” Tyler Salcedo noted.

Schumacher added, “I thought we had a really good team. I am a little surprised we are this good. I am really happy with the direction this team is going.”

Adams finalized, “Rather than having one person lead the team like last year, we have had several players step up.”

With such a rich Nevada Union volleyball history, one must wonder if this is the year for the boys to make their statement.

With so many underclassmen on the roster, the future appears bright for this program. With Granite Bay’s visit this Thursday, the Las Vegas Easter Invitational next week, and tournaments at Clovis, Chico, and Granite Bay coming up, the true test of this team lies in the weeks ahead. Although this may not be a huge surprise, it is surely a source of great pride for Nevada Union and Nevada County.

Let there be no doubt. This team is impressive. It is strong. Their depth and skill level are arguably the very best the boys’ program has ever seen. It is not a far-fetched idea that they might go undefeated. It would be a difficult journey, but it is within the realm of possibility.

The 2007-08 year will represent the best one-two punch the Nevada Union has ever offered. An exceptional ladies team complemented by a remarkable boys squad. As we grew to worship our August through December ladies season, the boys stand on the brink of unparalleled excellence.

Listen carefully to the words of Karen and Marco. Nevada County, this is a treat you must witness to believe. The 2008 boys volleyball season will be one you soon will not forget.

Jim Adams, lives in Nevada City, is a regular contributor to The Union, a broadcaster for TouchDown Productions and the father of NU libero Jason Adams. He may be reached via e-mail at adamses@inreach.com.


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