Anna Bertolone helping guide Douglas volleyball since returning to home
After Tuesday’s three-set win over Galena, 25-20, 27-25, 25-13, Douglas High’s Anna Bertolone had the second most kills in Nevada with 238 putaways through 55 sets played.
She ranks in the top seven in every other statistical hitting category in the state, regardless of class size.
The 6-foot-1 senior hails from the Gardnerville/Minden area, but after growing up thinking she would play Douglas volleyball for four years, Bertolone was presented an opportunity to test her skill on the other side of the country.
For her sophomore year, the high-flying outside hitter attacked opposition in Washington, D.C., where she played at Wilson High School, south of Bethesda, Maryland.
Bertolone helped take the Tigers to a 34-3 record and a state finals appearance before falling to perennial powerhouse, St. John’s, by a 3-1 final.
“I traveled a bunch,” said Bertolone. “It was the coolest thing. … It was just fun living in a city because I’ve always wanted to play in a city, but also at a different level because they play totally different there.”
Along with her time at Wilson, Bertolone continued her grind through the club volleyball scene.
Bertolone said the two sides of the country vary in their styles of play, and that in D.C. offense was relentless.
“It’s more attack, attack, attack,” said Bertolone. “West coast, in general, it’s more shots and being smart with the ball, defense and passing. There, it’s literally just hit the ball or you’re in trouble.”
Both styles of play appealed to Bertolone, who had 375 kills in 2017, but the wear-and-tear of playing continuously throughout the year took its toll.
Bertolone had gotten into volleyball around middle school and after several seasons of jumping, leaping and landing on the hardwood she had developed tendinitis in both knees.
She first noticed the true signs of knee pain during a tournament in D.C.
The only option for rehab was rest and that’s what she chose to do, back in her hometown with her former Tiger team.
Before her junior year, Bertolone and her family decided it was best for her to return to Northern Nevada where she sat out her junior season in an attempt to recover.
“It was probably one of the hardest things because I love the sport and there is nothing you can do about it,” said Bertolone. “The only thing you can do to get better is to rest.”
The initial decision to move away came after a freshman campaign where Douglas went 25-9 and Bertolone was named to the all-league team after posting 241 kills in 86 sets with a 44.5 kill percentage.
While in D.C., Douglas went 18-13 and was bounced in the opening round of the postseason to Reno. Last year, the Tigers were 13-21 overall, 3-7 in league play and faced the same fate in the postseason — an opening round exit to Reno.
Missing her junior season didn’t alter Bertolone’s athletic career. She plans to play volleyball in college at University of California, Irvine which she decided on in the spring of 2019.
Her leadership is something her coach at Douglas emphasized she is glad to have back on the roster as Bertolone serves as one of the two team captains, alongside Ciera Schinzing.
“Her mentorship is just amazing,” said Douglas head coach Suzi Townsell. “She really makes them feel a part of the team. … She just uplifts the team and is acting like a true captain.”
This season, Douglas sits at 16-6 and has started Sierra League play 2-0 along with winning six of its last eight matches.
“It’s been actually pretty cool,” said Bertolone. “It’s fun to play with all my senior friends that I never got to play with freshman year. I think it’s cool to have my senior year back in my home.”
Along with getting to play alongside her friends, Anna also gets to play next to her sister, Mia, who is sophomore with the Tigers. It marks the first time the two have shared a floor since youth leagues.
The two do more than simply play alongside each other as Mia serves as one of the team’s two main setters, assisting hitters like Anna on attacks.
After just missing out on a state title in D.C. and having a college decision worked out, Bertolone’s focus has moved to her final varsity season with the Tigers after deciding on a college route.
“To be a leader and win,” said Bertolone. “To win state.”
Betolone has one of those two boxes check, according to her head coach.
Now, Bertolone and the Tigers have eight regular season contests left to continue building as a team in order to start their run at checking box No. 2.
UP NEXT: Douglas will hit the road Thursday to take on Bishop Manogue (14-8, 1-1), starting at 6 p.m.