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NU squads full of promise, short on experience

Both Nevada Union’s boys and girls water polo teams enter the 2004 season with one thing in common:

They’re long on potential, but short on experience.

NU’s girls, who made it to Sac-Joaquin Section quarterfinals last season for the first time in head coach Lotty Hellested’s six-year tenure, return four varsity letterwinners, none of whom started in 2003.



“I graduated 10 seniors from last season’s team,” said Hellested. “It looks like I’m going to have a lot of (underclassmen) coming off the bench this year.”

Hellested will rely on goalkeeper Sarah Ford, utility Jill Peacock and driver Tawny Stedman – all returning letterwinners – to provide leadership.




Hellested said Ford, who was among 20 players who earned a spot on a U.S. Water Polo Association-sponsored regional team this summer, is solid between the pipes and is among the Miners’ top passers.

Bear River transfer Andrea Fernandez (hole set/guard), Emily DeMartini (driver), Allison Chambers (hole set/guard), Rikki Fairweather (hole set/guard) and Arielle Murphy (driver) will also have to shoulder the load until the young squad finds its groove.

“We’ve got a smaller team (size-wise) and they did a really good job in our first game playing smart,” Hellested said. “We’re going to have to figure out how to play as team (because we don’t have) really big people. Good ball movement can help make up for that.”

The boys, coming off their second-straight playoff berth, are in slightly better shape experience-wise with six returning letterwinners, including hole set/guard John Dorfman and drivers Lyell Sakaue and Joe DeMartini.

“John’s really aggressive on both offense and defense. He was our high scorer as a junior last year,” Hellested said. “And Lyell’s really quick and he’s also a good ballhandler. Joe’s also a really strong offensive player.”

Goalie Jordan Golnick, hole set/guard Tim Nowlin and utility Andy Franks also return with a year of varsity experience under their belts.

Hellested will also look to drivers Erik Gilespe, Elliot Golnik and Casey Hendrick to contribute early.

The Miners compete next at 3:45 p.m. Wednesday at McClatchy High School and then travel to compete in Friday’s Merced Tournament.


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