Athletic, Fast and Big Elko Volleyball | High school sports

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ELKO – For the upcoming season, the Elko volleyball team – the third for head coach Jordan King – the Lady Indians, despite a slew of crucial graduation losses, appear to be loaded athletics.

In the fall of 2021 – the second season of the year – Elko missed the playoffs, posting an 8-11 record and a 3-7 league mark in the Division 3A Northeast.

The Lady Indians placed fifth out of six teams in the conference, with only the top three teams advancing to the playoffs.

But, turning the page, the trials provided a large number of potential athletes.

“We had a lot of kids outside. We kept 47 and two managers out of 55 kids,” King said. “We have 18 members in the freshman team, 14 in the JV and 15 in the university.”

King said the overall level of play may be down as freshmen “are not as skilled as they usually are due to the years lost to COVID,” but thinks the potential for improvement is a high ceiling.

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Even with the departures of several players from all leagues, the closet is not empty for the Lady Indians – who are bringing back a number of returning players from last year’s team.

As a sophomore, now-junior Pacey Harris was a 2nd-team all-league passer performer.

In her sophomore year of college volleyball, she was credited with 52 assists, 23 digs, four aces, and three kills in a low number of recorded games.

She was credited with 15 assists against Truckee and had six digs against Hug.

For the upcoming season, King said Harris will move from setter to back row and play libero.

The Lady Indians are also returning senior Aurora Eklund, who received honorable mention for league awards as a junior – earning her recognition as a utility player.

Playing as both a hitter and a defender — across 10 games posted to Elko’s Hudl account — she had 16 digs, three takedowns, two assists and an ace.

King expects Eklund to play more on the outside as a hitter in her final season.

At the setter, King expects three girls to see time – with the bulk going to senior Allison Padilla, senior Lexi Ruiz and junior Julia Hackworth.

“I think we’re going to go 6-2. We have versatile hitters; out or in front,” King said.

As a junior, Padilla – according to incomplete stats – led the list with 27 assists, tied for the team high with nine aces, ranked second on the team with 20 digs, had 11 kills and blocked two shots.

In his first year, Ruiz recorded four kills, four aces, six assists and four digs.

Now a junior, Amaja Meza will provide another away weapon.

As a sophomore, she ranked fourth on the team with 15 strikeouts, tied third with six aces, was fourth with 12 assists, fourth with 13 digs, and fifth with four hits.

Junior midfielder Carly George also showed tremendous promise in her first year of college prom in her sophomore season.

She, like Meza, scored 15 eliminations and led the team with 15 rejections – across 13 stat sets.

On the outside, seniors Lucy Sayer and Takara Rowley will see increased roles.

As a junior, Salyer had nine kills, ranked third on the list with five blocks, had seven digs, three assists and served an ace – Rowley had five putaways, three aces, two rejections and eight recoveries.

In the middle, Brakkin Larsen, now a sophomore, appeared at the end of her first season.

Rising through college midway through the year, his height and length posed problems for opposing hitters – also providing emphatic smashes.

Defensively, now-junior Bryleigh Cervantes topped Elko’s stats with 26 digs, had three assists and served an ace.

As for the newcomers, King expects outside contributions from sophomore hitter Lilli Pastor, in the middle by sophomore junior Addiyson Mallea, opposite junior hitter Holly Hernandez and at fullback by second-year defensive specialist Merisa Ginnings.

Strengths

“We have a lot of well-rounded athletes. I think we’re going to come out of our defense and move quickly on offense, and we’re big and big at the net with George and Larsen,” King said. “They have huge verticals, so our blocking should be very good.”

Improvements

“We’ve always had a pretty good defense, but I want to improve our serve-receive transition,” King said.

Opening of the season

The Lady Indians will open their 2022 schedule with pool games on Friday at the Yerington Tournament.

Home openers

Elko will kick off their 3A North stretch at home, facing Hug at 6 p.m. Sept. 2 and North Valleys at noon Sept. 3 at Centennial Gymnasium.

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