PREP VOLLEYBALL: Miners picking up where they left off
A season ago the Nevada Union Miners claimed the school’s first ever Sac-Joaquin Section boys volleyball title.
This year they’ve picked up right where they left off and have a singular mindset: repeat.
“We want to do the same thing again,” said senior outside hitter Preston Nowak. “Go all the way, go as far as we can and just have fun with it.”
Nowak is one of six returners from last season’s title winning team.
Another key returner for the Miners is senior setter Colby Quiggle.
“We’re missing a few pieces from last year, but we have good replacements and I see no struggle within our team,” Quiggle said. “I think we can do it. We’re still strong all the way around: passing, serving, hitting. It’s like having the same team again.”
A season ago, the Miners went 29-3 overall, won the Foothill Valley League, the D-II Section banner and reached the CIF NorCal D-II semifinals.
Nevada Union graduated three all leaguers from last year’s squad, but the shelves are stocked once again.
In addition to Nowak and Quiggle, the Miners have talented returning seniors in outside hitter Judah Myers, libero Jayce Youngman, libero Sam Johnson and Elijahblue Wilkinson. A season ago, Nowak was named the FVL MVP, and Quiggle along with Myers earned All-FVL First Team honors.
Add in Bakir Torkman, Gavin Minty, Joe Pardini and Eli Jones, and Nevada Union boasts a deep, high-flying, power-hitting group poised for another big season.
“We want to repeat,” said NU head coach Lance Mansuetti, now in his fifth season at the helm of the Miners program. “We have the talent, we have a lot of returners, we’re well rounded, we have the experience and our goal is the same as last year.”
Since Mansuetti took the reins of NU’s program in 2016, the Miners have gone 111-33 overall, made the playoffs four times, earned three league titles and won a Sac-Joaquin League championship.
The defending Division II Section champs are off to a 3-0 start to the 2020 season with wins over El Dorado (25-11, 25-13, 25-18), Grant (25-6, 25-7, 25-10) and Antelope (25-10, 25-12, 25-15).
In Wednesday’s victory over Antelope, the Miners’ attack was led by Nowak, who hammered down 16 kills in the win.
“When your best player is the hardest worker, then you have something special. And, that’s what we have with Preston.”
The Miners also got nine kills from Myers, five from Minty and four from both Wilkinson and Torkman.
Quiggle doled out 27 assists and tallied three kills in the win.
“He’s got such a strategic mind, Mansuetti said of Quiggle. “He’s a very smart kid. He understands everything that’s going on.”
Leading NU’s defense was Youngman and Johnson with eight digs each.
The Miners have a major test next week when they host the defending D-I Section champion Granite Bay Grizzlies Wednesday. The Grizzlies are 2-0 so far this season. Last year the Miners went 1-1 in a pair of matchups with Granite Bay.
Nevada Union also has a highly anticipated non-league bout Jesuit March. 24.
To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, email email@example.com or call 530-477-4232.
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