Volleyball teams bank on experience this season
Experience should be the key for the Nevada Union boys volleyball team this season as the Miners return seven seniors, three of whom were starters on last year’s team.
“This group is very focused. Everybody is real competitive. Last year’s team probably had more talent, but this team wants to win,” said head coach Kelly Rhoden.
Seniors Nate Rosenbloom, Wade Carmen and Marcus McCrary will lead the way for the Miners this year.
“These guys are strong players,” said Rhoden.” They all have club experience and it shows. They’re fundamentally sound.”
Graham Davis, Sam Hochwald and defensive specialist Tim Lamphier, all juniors, are the other three starters for Rhoden.
“Graham has a lot of club experience. He will be tough,” Rhoden said. ” Tim, our defensive specialist, is just a really good player.”
Rhoden sees overcoming a lack of height as her team’s biggest challenge in the season ahead.
“Our tallest player is only 6-1 or 6-2 and some of the other teams have some real height,” she said. ” Not so much in our league, but Granite Bay has a guy who’s 6-7, and some other teams have guys around 6-4, 6-5. We need to have good ball control to try to compete against that. We have some great passers and we need to use that.”
The Miners are coming off of a good showing at the University of California, Davis tournament, finishing second in a field of 24 teams. After beating Del Oro and Chico, NU fell in the finals to Foothill High of Las Vegas.
NU plays boys volleyball in the Capital Valley Conference, which also includes West Campus, Pleasant Valley, Sacramento, Capital Christian, Rio Linda and Highlands.
“Honestly, I see no reason why we shouldn’t win this league,” Rhoden said.
Bear River is looking for a better season this year out of its boys volleyball program, which produced a 4-16 campaign in the 2004 season.
“Last year was a tough one, it really was” said coach Chet Linton, in his second year as head coach for the varsity squad, after serving as JV coach for three years.
With five returning starters, Linton has a solid core to build around.
“We lost about five seniors, but we’ve got five returning starters, so we’ve got a good group coming back,” he said. ” Two of our guys played club ball over the summer and the rest of them went to (volleyball) camp. It’s work that’s paid off.”
The dividends of that offseason work are already evident. The Bruins, at 3-7 for the young season, are already within one win of their 2004 total. Their pre-league portion of the schedule included games against Jesuit and Nevada Union, and that rough weekend at the UC-Davis tournament.
“We’re doing well,” said Linton, “We had a tough pre-season, playing NU and Jesuit, but that helps make us stronger. We’re playing a lot better as a team.”
Top returnees for the Bruins are senior Steve White, junior Corey Tofte, and sophomore Travis Lyon, who was a starter last year as a freshman. Linton also said a key for the Bruins this year will be the play of James Dumont, Sam White, and Greg Boone.
Playing in the Sierra Foothill League, Bear River is up against some tough competition, Linton said, as the league includes Granite Bay, Woodcreek, Del Oro, Rocklin, Roseville, and Placer.
Bear River has already taken on the powerhouse of the league in Granite Bay, losing 3-0. Down 24-23 in the first game of that matchup, the Bruins lost the next two points before losing the next two games.
Linton feels that the upcoming week will be telling for his program.
“This next week will tell us where we’re at,” said Linton. “We play at Del Oro on Tuesday, and then at Placer on Thursday.
“Second or third in league is our goal this year. These guys are teams we have to beat.”
Overall, Linton is feeling good about his team this year.
“We’re a strong team … we have strength at every position,” he said. “We really have weapons all over the place.”
Look at the Miners
Coach: Kelly Rhoden (second year)
2004 record: second in league
Key Player lost: Max McDaniel, last year’s MVP
Returnees: seven seniors
Important game: Pleasant Valley (April 13)
Coach Rhoden says: “This group is very focused.”
Look at the Bruins
Coach: Chet Linton (second year)
2004 record: 4-16
Players lost: five seniors
Returnees: five returning starters
Important game: Del Oro (Tuesday) and Placer (Thursday)
Coach Linton says: “We’re a strong team … we have strength at every position.”
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The Little League District 11 postseason is off to a hot start.