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Turlockers head to volleyball nationals
Pitman, Turlock, Dutcher Middle standouts earn spot via Rage Volleyball
junior olympics pic
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Local USA Volleyball National participants via Rage Volleyball

Dutcher Middle School

* Deborah Oliveira, middle blocker

* Lauren Solis, setter

Turlock High

* Courtney Crivelli, setter

Pitman High

* Ashley Solis, leftside hitter

* Maci Murdock, middle blocker

* Sierrah Miller, leftside hitter

Later this month, a bunch of local teens from middle school to high school will be confronted with some of the best volleyball talent they've ever seen.

Welcome to the USA Volleyball Nationals.

The prestigious event will be held in Reno, Nev., from June 24 to July 1. The group consists of Pitman High sophomore Sierrah Miller, junior Ashley Solis and senior Maci Murdock; Turlock High freshman Courtney Crivelli; and Dutcher Middle School eighth-grader Deborah Oliveira and seventh-grader Lauren Solis, Ashley's sister.

They're making the trip courtesy of their respective Rage Volleyball teams.

“I'm hoping to get first,” said Murdock, the Pitman middle blocker who plays on the U-17 squad with teammate Ashley Solis, a leftside hitter.

Of course, they do. But they all know it's not going to be a simple task, considering the Rage players will be competing against some of the country's best talent in various age groups. At the same time, they're ready for the challenge. This past season, the local players traveled to play in tournaments in Washington, Nevada and Colorado, as well as in California.

Oliveira, a middle blocker and an U-12 teammate of setter Lauren Solis, is anticipating the upcoming matches.

“We've been doing well,” Oliveira said, “so I think we'll do fine.”

And there's also Crivelli, a setter who plays for the U-14 team, and Miller, a leftside hitter for the U-15 team. Just like their Rage teammates, they're focused on the upcoming national tournament. They all play for their respective Red Power teams.

“They have played a big role in our success,” said Ron Silva, Rage's athletic director. “We knew they had a lot of talent and we knew we can make them better volleyball players once they were on our teams.”

This group of Turlock players has already produced a college-bound athlete, in Murdock, who committed to Fresno State as a junior at Pitman. It's the kind of success story Rage Volleyball — the Ripon-based organization that includes players from Lodi to Merced — had in mind when it started two years ago.

Their accomplishments are “stepping stones for other athletes to come into our clubs and see what we're about,” Silva said.

To contact Chhun Sun, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2041.