(Photo used by permission of Graves)
Sophomore Aaron Graves spikes during a match.

 

Fans may have a new sport to cheer on this spring, thanks to three generations of SCDS volleyball athletes who started recreationally and turned into competitive powerhouses.

Physical education teacher Michelle Myers started playing volleyball in high school PE. From there, she said that she fell in love with the sport. Myers played throughout her college career at University of Hawaii, becoming a coach soon after graduation.

After moving around in different coaching positions, Myers found herself coaching at Sacramento State University. There she coached current SCDS girls’ varsity volleyball coach Jason Kreps from 2001-05.

In 2002, the Sac State men’s volleyball team qualified for nationals in Dallas, where they made it to the finals and placed second nationwide to University of Arizona.

Myers still remembers the road trip to Dallas.

“The guys hung sweatshirts on the windows of the Suburban to block out any light and they took my computer, placed it in between the driver’s seat and passenger’s seat, and all watched movies for hours from that tiny screen while we drove,” said Myers.

Kreps was named an All-American setter in 2002 in Dallas, which requires a strong GPA and excellent performance.

Myers said Kreps definitely deserved the award.

“Jason (Kreps) was such a small setter (6’1”), but he was so athletic and had such a great vertical jump that his size didn’t even matter,” she said. “He was such a smart and strategic player.”

But for such a great setter, Kreps had an unexpected start.

In fact, he was a soccer player his freshman and sophomore years of high school.

Then, he said, he discovered the sport through PE. After “messing around in the backyard with a volleyball with some buddies,” Kreps said he fell in love with it, just like Myers.

(Photo used by permission of Kreps)
Jason Kreps blocks a volleyball at the 2002 NIRSA collegiate volleyball sport club championships.

Therefore, in the spring of his sophomore year, Kreps tried out for his high school team and made varsity.

In his junior year, Kreps quit soccer and continued solely with volleyball throughout high school.

“My junior year was super memorable just because I got so close to the seniors,” Kreps said.

He now coaches the SCDS girls’ varsity volleyball team but hopes to also coach an SCDS boys’ team soon.

Sophomore Aaron Graves wants to join the hypothetical team.

Graves had a similar start to Myers and Kreps, first discovering his love for volleyball in middle school PE.

Graves started playing one-on-one after school with Kreps, who told him to try out for club volleyball.

Graves made the team and currently plays for Northern California Volleyball Club 16-1’s, the club’s best team, as a starting middle blocker. The team is currently ranked fourth in Northern California.

Although he has been playing club volleyball for only a few months, he has already experienced many memorable moments.

“My favorite memory so far was in the Power League Qualifier Tournament (Sept. 24) when I got the final kill against Mountain View Volleyball Club,” said Graves.

Both Kreps and Myers said they prefer coaching boys’ volleyball, and really hope to have an SCDS boys’ team soon.

“There are no bickering dynamics, and it’s a much faster-paced game,” Myers said.

Kreps agreed, saying that the lack of drama is refreshing.

“It’s just something different,” Kreps said. “Girls can have all kinds of issues, but guys can just push that all aside and just play volleyball.

“I’ve wanted a guys’ team for a long time, but the concern is that it will take away from other spring sports.”

Graves said that he would definitely play on a school team, along with 28 other boys, depending on the season.

Myers said Kreps would head coach the boys’ team, and she would make a few appearances at practices, but wouldn’t coach, as she wants to put the ball in Kreps’s court.

“After 30 years of coaching volleyball, I figured it’s time to let the next generation have their turn, and pay it forward,” said Myers.

 —By Bri Davies