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John L. Braese
“We had 25 girls out last night at our first workout, so I am happy,” said Johnson as she takes on her first varsity coaching position. “I love this community and the girls on the team and I took the position as I believe I have something to offer.”
At the same time Johnson was running her team through preliminary workouts on Monday, July 10, the Nyssa School Board was approving her contract. An assistant coach last season, Johnson takes over a team that finished 10-14 last year, advancing to but falling in the first round of the state playoffs to Cascade Christian.
“I want to pass on to this team my love of volleyball and dedication to the game,” Johnson said. “We will need to be a quick, athletic squad as there is great competition in this league.”
Nyssa starts the season after placing third in the 3A Eastern Oregon League last season behind Vale and league champion and state runner-up Burns. The Bulldogs return seven varsity players while only two seniors departed due to graduation.
A late start hitting the court does limit the non-league matchups in the fall.
“I know Vale and Nyssa have already seen two or three tournaments this summer,” said Johnson. “We will play tournaments this fall in La Grande and Baker and will stay more towards this side of the state.”
Johnson states the key to Bulldog success on the volleyball court hinges on coaches remaining on the sidelines long term and execution and hard work on the part of the players.
“We have some height coming onto this team,” she said. “Our plan is to have Nyssa be the hardest working team throughout the season.”
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