PREP VOLLEYBALL: Lady Miners enjoying best season in years, set to face Rocklin on Pink Night
Know & Go
What: Nevada Union vs. Rocklin (Pink Night)
When: 6:30 p.m., Wednesday
Where: Albert Ali Gymnasium, Nevada Union High School
The overarching theme for the Nevada Union girls volleyball team this season has been Arete, a Greek word that has been interpreted by Cole Bradburn to mean “the excellence born from seeking to use up every last drop of one’s potential and abilities.”
The Lady Miners have that message printed on the back of their warmup shirts. They have applied that mentality to their game and are reaping the benefits.
Nevada Union is 26-11 overall this season, already a vast improvement from last season’s 14-win campaign, and has reeled off five straight Sierra Foothill League wins including a victory over first place Oak Ridge last week. Oak Ridge had yet to lose a league game before falling to the Lady Miners.
“Every day they get better and better,” Nevada Union head coach Chrys Dudek said of his team. “They are really consistent and they don’t panic when we’re down.”
Nevada Union’s win total this season is already their best since 2009, when they won 35 games and reached the Sac-Joaquin Section title game.
There are still four games left to be played before postseason play begins, and Nevada Union (5-3 in SFL play) currently sits in third place in the league standings in their final year as a member of the SFL.
“We want to leave a dent in the SFL as we head to this new league,” Dudek said.
Next up for NU is a home league match at 6:30 p.m. tonight against fourth-place Rocklin, where the Lady Miners will host the Thunder on “Pink Night.”
Leading the deep Nevada Union team has been senior captain and four-year varsity player Regan Heppe, who leads the team in kills.
“I definitely think this is the most talented team we’ve had since I’ve been in high school,” Heppe said. “We have a lot of heart and we work hard at our goals.”
Heppe is just one of several impressive hitters on the Lady Miners squad, including sophomore Faith Menary, senior Danica Minard and junior Payton Cook.
Setting up the NU hitters all season has been Rebekah McGill.
“My purpose is to help defense and offense become one solid unit,” the junior captain said. “As a setter, you have to seamlessly line up the offense and defense and the transition between them.”
McGill added she has been impressed with how the team continues to grow together.
“Everyone is stepping up in their own way,” she said. “It’s not one individual. Everyone is helping each other become stronger, better, quicker.”
Nevada Union is also strong at the net with middle blockers Greta Kramer and Meadow Aragon routinely blocking shots and notching kills. The Lady Miners also boast strong defensive specialists in Lauren Engleking and Eliza Hales. Both of whom are strong at the service line as well.
The Lady Miners have made the playoffs in each of the past two seasons, both times as the fifth and final team out of the SFL and both times they were ousted in the first round. This season, Nevada Union will be looking to make a deep run through the postseason.
“We definitely want to make playoffs, and get past the first round,” said Kramer.
The Lady Miners host Rocklin today and travel to face second-place Granite Bay Thursday. They are home again next Monday against Del Oro, before closing out the regular season Oct. 25 at Woodcreek.
To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, call 530-477-4232 or email email@example.com.
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