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JOs a dream come true for STHS spikers

By Steve Yingling

Tribune sports editor

Over the past week Jessica Bettencourt and Stephanie Morrow have been exposed to a superior brand of volleyball that has inspired them to take their play to a higher level.

The South Tahoe High volleyball players are members of the Sierra Nevada Volleyball Club that is participating in the Junior Olympics tournament in Salt Lake City.

Their club was in 36th place Tuesday night with an opportunity to improve to 29th going into the final day of the 48-team American division 18s tournament. The Junior Olympics also included open and national divisions.

“Compared to all of the other teams we’ve seen in the Bay Area and what not, it is the best level we’ve been able to compete at,” said Bettencourt, a middle blocker who made second team all-Sierra Division as a junior. “All these players are at least 6-feet tall and the ball control they have is out the window.”

The experience has been so meaningful and inspirational to Morrow that she can’t help but wonder when someone is going to tap her on the shoulder and say the dream is over.

“I’m having a blast,” said Morrow, who was the Sierra Division’s player of the year as a junior setter at STHS. “When I was a freshman playing for the same club it was like a dream and a fantasy to go to the Junior Olympics. Now, not only are we here, we are playing and competing against the best teams.

“My goal is to play ball in college and this is how I’m going to get there, being on these kinds of teams and playing against these kinds of players.”

Three weekly trips to Reno seemed a bit much during the punishing winter months, but Morrow said team chemistry they developed during that time is a must at the JOs.

“If you aren’t close with your team members, your team can fall apart within a split second,” she said. “It’s amazing how much team effort, pride and attitude it takes to be a winning team.”

Bettencourt and Morrow will return to STHS in the fall to play their senior seasons for Gary Hankoff.


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