Sports & Recreation

Sixth grader No. 02 Ilena Watchman bumps the the ball in the game against Heritage Academy.

Junior Lady Eagles Volleyball at 4-0

By Richie Corrales
Au-Authm Action News

The members of the Salt River Junior High Lady Eagles volleyball team have been spending a lot of time in the gym practicing their skills. Many are returning players from last year, although the team has some new players and some right out of elementary school.

According to Nola Johnson, assistant coach for girls’ volleyball, the team started playing in competition three weeks ago. “The team is doing very well and [their last game against Heritage Academy was] the tightest game they had all season.”

This is Johnson’s first year at Salt River High School. Previously she worked at Salt River Elementary School for two years. She has played and coached volleyball for many years, as well as officiated games.

There are two volleyball teams in the middle-school league: a gold team and a black team.

“Coach Deborah Tsosie and I coach the girls’ volleyball team that consists of sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade girls. This is our fourth game and our fourth victory,” said Johnson after the recent game against Heritage Academy on September 9, “They (the players) worked a lot on talking more in the game and calling the ball before they hit it. [They showed] teamwork [and] lots of work on serving and bumping. [They are] listening very well too—they are always ready to help each other out.”

Johnson said the eighth-graders on the team have played together for several years, so there is a lot of chemistry among the older players. There are also two sixth-graders who came up from SRES who are great athletes and fit in very well with the team.

Strong servers on the team are Timmea Sampson and Ophelia Miles.

The gold team faced its toughest competition of the year on September 9. But they stayed focused and were able to win, 25-19 and 25-23, improving their record to 4-0. Sixth grader Nevalena Lewis served an ace to win the game.

Johnson said Lewis acted as if there was no pressure for her that night in the game, she just went to the line and served, which shows her growing maturity as a player.


Junior Lady Eagles Volleyball Team
3 Lynda Burke 8th grade
7 Ophelia Gonzalez 7th grade
5 Dalana Iewis 8th grade
10 Nevalena Lewis 6th grade
6 Nicole Melendez 6th grade
8 Otila Miles 8th grade
4 Alexandra Miles 7th grade
13 Timmea Sampson 8th grade
2 Ilena Watchman 7th grade
1 Monique Whitewolf 7th grade

Girls Varsity Place Time

09/24 Gilbert High Home 5 p.m.
10/01 Duncan Away 5 p.m.
10/06 Thunderbird Advantist Home 5 p.m.
10/08 Chandler Prep Home 5 p.m.

Girls JH Place Time

09/27 Heritage Academy Away 4 p.m.
09/29 Sequoia Charter Away 4 p.m.
10/04 Bios Christian Home 6 p.m.
10/06 Tempe Prep Home 6 p.m.

For more information on games contact Salt River High School at (480) 362-2000

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