NU standout says yes to Loyola Marymount |

NU standout says yes to Loyola Marymount

It’s one thing to earn a college scholarship, but it’s quite another to end up where you wanted to be all along.

That’s the case for Ellie Selleck, a Nevada Union junior volleyball standout, who has verbally committed to play for the Loyola Marymount Lions after her high school graduation.

With the likes of the University of San Diego, Virginia Tech, Washington State, St. Mary’s and Montana among the schools seeking her skills, why LMU?

Well, Selleck said, why not?

Of course, there’s the surf and sun of SoCal, along with its ample opportunities to take her game over to Venice beach in the “offseason.” But there is also a proud Division I West Coast Conference volleyball program poised to make a return to prominence.

After finishing 12-17 last season, Loyola Marymount brought in Tom Black as its new head coach in January. Black led the University of California, San Diego to a 29-3 record in 2009 and the Tritons’ fourth consecutive appearance in the NCAA Division II Regionals. Black posted a 115-29 record in five seasons at UCSD and was named the 2006 Tachikara/AVCA D-II Pacific Region Coach of the Year.

But as impressive as Black’s resume reads, even better for Selleck is a long-standing relationship with the coach. She said Black, and assistant Jon Newman-Gonchar, began recruiting her during her freshman season at Nevada Union.

“It was while they were the coaches at UCSD. I’ve known them since the beginning of my freshman year,” Selleck said. “They had offered me a spot on their (UCSD) team, but weren’t able to offer a scholarship.

“After visiting (LMU), I just felt like the school was really the right fit for me. I wanted to play for a school that wanted me. And they also had the (law school) program I wanted to go into.”

In accepting LMU’s offer, Selleck becomes the seventh Lady Miner to earn a Division I scholarship since 2004.

She joins some elite company with Elena Schmidt (NU ’04, Farleigh Dickinson University), Ali Daley (’05, Long Beach State/UCLA), Sarah McAtee (’08, San Jose State), Kylie Miraldi (’08, San Jose State), Taylor Japhet (’09, San Jose State) and Abbie Miraldi (’10, Cal State Fullerton).

Such a roll call is an impressive byproduct of Bob Rogers and Larry Peterson leading Nevada Union to a record run of the seven consecutive Division I section championships through 2002-2008.

“Ellie is a fine player who’s going to do really well,” Rogers said. “Her talents earned her that scholarship.”

Although there were plenty of Lady Miners for her to look up to in her early days on the court, Selleck said she didn’t always have her mind set on volleyball.

“She played soccer and we didn’t know if she’d play softball or basketball,” said Darrin Selleck, her father. “But in seventh grade, she picked up a volleyball and wanted to give it a shot.”

She began working with Union Hill coach Marco Salcedo and two years later was taking the floor for a Nevada Union’s varsity team that reached the CIF state championship match at San Jose State.

“I grew up with Marco,” Selleck said. “He’s the best coach I’ve had, always helping me.

“Volleyball is just a passion. I love everything about it. I can’t really explain it … it’s more than a game for me.”

As a junior, Selleck finished second on the team, behind Abbie Miraldi, with 255 kills from the outside hitter position she was recruited to play. She also served up 27 aces and totaled 184 digs.

She said her game improved quickly due to her commitment level in playing club ball, which she will resume with the Northern California Volleyball Club’s 18-1 Gold Division team once a recently sprained ankle heals. Oddly enough, she was calling to inform Black and his staff that the injury was going to keep her out of a Las Vegas tournament last week, when they sprang the offer on her.

“It’s nice to not have to deal with the recruiting stuff anymore,” she said. “I’ll play the same, still wanting to do my best. But there is a a relief that comes with (making a commitment).”

Any pressure she felt along the way was self-made, Darrin Selleck said. Her goals and her objectives were her own, not from him or Amy, her mother.

“She put the pressure on herself,” he said. “She knew going through club that she’d have opportunities to make it somewhere. But now it’s a big relief and she took the pressure off herself. Now she can focus on playing and keeping up on her grades.”

Darrin said Ellie also sat down to pick the brain of another Miner who went on to star at the collegiate level. Having known Daley for years, the former Miner served as a valuable resource.

“She sat down with Ellie a few times to talk with her and give her advice,” Darrin said. “She pretty much told her ‘I know you’ve got the talent and here’s how to do it.’ I think that really helped out Ellie, too.”

After she hopes to help her Rocklin-based NCVC team reach the Junior Olympics in Reno this summer, Selleck will shift her focus back to her final season with the Lady Miners, as they attempt to reclaim the section championship.

“We always hope for and try for the best,” she said.

Contact Sports Editor Brian Hamilton via e-mail at or by phone at 477-4240.

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