CSN Builds First Women’s Junior-College Volleyball Program in State

2By Devin Virissimo

Women’s volleyball will be the newest sport added this fall to College of Southern Nevada’s competitive athletic program.

It is the first National Junior College Athletic Association women’s volleyball team in the state. Fortunately its home will be CSN Sports Center at Cheyenne campus.

Head Volleyball Coach Sue Thurman said, “I have been coaching volleyball in Las Vegas since 1997. I developed a very strong program [at Las Vegas High School] that valued character, responsibility, trust, discipline and skill development.”

According to CSN Coyotes’ website, while coaching at LVHS, Thurman led the Wildcats to win Nevada State Championships in 2005 and 2008. They also won three Sunrise Regional Titles, 10 Northeast Conference Titles and appeared in the Nevada State Tournament six out of her past 11 years. Thurman was voted Northeast Conference Coach of the Year for nine seasons.

She plans to bring her winning strategies and dedication to the team at CSN. Eighteen women are set to take on the fall schedule.

“I will always see the initial committed group of girls as courageous pioneers,” Thurman said. “I think it takes a special person to want to be a part of building something new. I anticipate many positives from each [player].”

Thurman will lead this new team at the College with the help of Assistant Volleyball Coaches Amy Wetjen, Jamie Mellies and Sam Casey Lane.

Wetjen, former Pahrump High School stand-out and University of Las Vegas, Nevada Rebel, worked with Thurman for the past 15 years.

Mellies, former Silverado High School and Seattle University setter, brings unique skills to the court.

“I was born and raised here in Las Vegas and my mother actually attended CSN,” Mellies said. “I think CSN is a great option academically and athletically for students in the valley. I am thankful to be a part of CSN and be able to give back to the community that I grew up in.”

Lane, local beach-volleyball coach and trainer, will focus on strength and conditioning of the players.

“Sam’s priorities will be in injury prevention and individual growth,” Thurman said. “She will also assist in developing outside hitters.”

As a team, the coaching staff is dedicated to building a strong program in addition to reinforcing the academic successes of their players. Each member of the staff made it a point to mention that performance in the classroom is as important as performance on the court.

The women’s volleyball team will be the third sport to be featured under CSN athletics alongside men’s baseball and women’s softball. The only collegiate volleyball programs in the state are at UNLV and University of Reno, Nevada. CSN will now provide the junior-collegiate-level program for Nevada.

“I am honored to be a part of the CSN community,” Thurman said. “I am thankful for the opportunity that has been given to me, the coaching staff and the players. We intend to put a positive footprint on CSN in the classroom and on the court.”

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