Spanish Springs coach Frank Sandomenico said he thinks he has the only team in the state where everyone returned from a year ago. He hopes that last year’s serious growing pains will pay off this year.
The Cougars have a talented trio of juniors all coming back.
The offense will go through setter and right side hitter Lyndsey Anderson. Melly Munley and Rachel Loadholt are big time hitters on the outside. Anderson and Munley were first team all-leaguers as sophomores, while Loadholt was an honorable mention.
Morgan Prince is the only senior on the team and her leadership is invaluable, although she’s not fully recovered from shoulder surgery.
“If I had to say it in one word, I would say we have a lot of potential,” Sandomenico said. “I mean that as a compliment, and I hope the girls take it a little bit as an insult because we haven’t done anything yet. We haven’t proven ourselves yet. We have a lot of potential but nothing to show for it.”
Spanish Springs will start trying to live up to that potential Thursday in a tournament in Las Vegas. The Cougars have a non-league match at Truckee Sept. 1 and then they will open up Northern 4A league action with Wooster Sept. 6 at home.
Sandomenico believes the High Desert League is wide open this season with three or four teams, including the Cougars, having a realistic chance at winning the league.
“We just set one goal and we want to win our division,” Sandomenico said. “It’s something that’s a high goal, but if we reach where we’re capable of reaching, it’s a realistic goal for us.”
•While Reed lost HDL Player of the Year Kendra Davis to graduation, there are plenty of Raiders returning to help lead the team.
Olivia Emerson was Reed’s other middle blocker last year, and she’s back after earning first team all-league honors. Emerson was second on Reed in blocks and kills.
Along with Emerson, fellow senior and right side hitter Sierra Hooft will be looked upon for leadership.
Two all-league honorable mentions are back on the outside in senior Meghan Rader and sophomore Moriah Maluotoga.
So far Reed volleyball coach Kristen Flagtvedt likes what she sees.
“We had our first scrimmage (Monday), and I was really happy with how well they were working together as a team,” Flagtvedt said. “Obviously at the beginning of the season there’s a lot of fine-tuning you need to do. For our first time out, I was really happy with how they played. They kind of already know what to expect, so hopefully they can show the new girls what’s expected of them and be examples both on the court and off the court.”
The Raiders open their league schedule versus Douglas on Sept. 6 at home.
•Excitement surrounds the Sparks volleyball squad also.
“It’s going really good. We have almost the whole entire varsity back,” Sparks volleyball coach Tarina Elliott said. “We lost a couple seniors from last year, but we have everyone back for the most part, so everything is looking pretty good so far.”
Last year, the Railroaders were a very young squad. Elliott feels that experience has helped build the program and the newcomers have seen they can earn playing time as well.
Sparks has two key returners who were voted to the all-league lists a year ago.
Junior Krystal Parker earned second team all-league as a utility player. She led the team in assists but she also had to play middle blocker at times, so she racked up many kills and blocks as well.
Senior Emma Clune was honorable mention at middle blocker after leading Sparks in kills. Parker and Clune were even in blocks and Parker was almost even with Clune in kills.
Elliott believes the playoffs are a definite possibility for the Railroaders this year.
“That is one of our biggest goals this year, making the playoffs,” she said. “I definitely see that as something we can grab onto. They’re a great little bunch. They’re not big-headed at all. They work really hard, and that gets me excited when I have a group that works as hard as they can to get what they want.”
Sparks will be at the Yerington Tournament this week. The Maroon and Gold has three matches Friday versus Silver Stage, Fallon and Battle Mountain.