Untapped potential


Xavier Johnson / The Advocate

Comet freshman libero Jamie Tianero plays for a Comet team coached by her mother, Christy Tianero, after earning Tri-County Athletic League second team all-league honors in high school.

By Xavier Johnson, Web Editor

In volleyball, a libero is expected to be the most consistent player on the court. They are usually the first point of contact and need to be able to get the ball up after a serve time and time again.

When a libero isn’t on, the team typically doesn’t perform well.

During Jamie Tianero’s first volleyball game as a Comet against Yuba College, a moment came in the second set where it became clear she was being targeted.

After several errant passes, Yuba began spot serving, looking to frustrate the freshman libero.

It worked. Tianero began playing below her usual skill level, only able to find her groove late into the third set when the game was basically decided.

After the loss Tianero was able to assess the situation and diagnose the problems and address them.

“My first game was the worst,” Tianero said. “It was so much pressure. As a libero I’m supposed to be the second fastest and most consistent passer. I played angry. Now, I know I have to be calm to play and my second game was a lot better,”

Overcoming the pressure to perform as a libero is the key to Tianero’s success.

As the former Tri-County Athletic League (TCAL) all-league second team libero, she is coming into the season as one of the more experienced players with a volleyball background.

Jamie grew up surrounded by volleyball. Her two older sisters played volleyball and her mom, Christy Tianero, is her coach at Contra Costa College.

Early in high school, she would practice at open gyms improving her fundamentals before Christy would begin training her.

Their dynamic as coach and player hasn’t been meaningfully affected. Christy said she sets high expectations and that at practice she is Jamie’s coach and not her mom. For Jamie, she prefers being coached by her mom.

“I like having my mom as a coach because she doesn’t favor me. She goes harder on me,” Jamie said.

While Christy coached at Richmond High School, Jamie attended De Anza High School and played volleyball there for her junior and senior year. Her time at De Anza was rocky dealing with bullying from teammates.

“A lot of the girls bullied her,” Christy Tianero said. “I had to go talk to their principal about it. And look, this is a team and they shouldn’t treat anyone like that. As a team, you all have to get along. You don’t have to be (best) friends, but be a team. That was tough for her.”

Christy Tianero said that experience hurt Jamie’s confidence as a player and a big part of this season is getting that confidence back because when she is ready to play, she’s a great player and a leader on the team.

“When she’s not in a bad zone she is a leader. She steps up and comes in early to set up. She’s the first one in and is there to help anyone. She is the loudest communicator on our team. It starts with her and she brings the energy out of everybody,” her mom said.

Outside-hitter Katrienne Lemye has known Jamie Tianero her entire life growing up and her constant encouragement was the big reason for her joining the team.

“She knew I played volleyball,” Lemye said. “I didn’t want to play anymore but she encouraged me to come to a practice and then I joined the team. She made volleyball enjoyable again.”

Jamie’s energy and good-natured heart extends past the volleyball court. After her time at CCC, she intends to transfer to UC Davis to major in zoology with the goal of becoming a veterinarian.

She said when she was little, she loved reading books on big cats and dogs — dogs being her favorite animal.

Two years ago, she rescued her dog from the street after she found the canine, two-weeks old and sickly. After taking her in, Jamie nursed the pup back to health.

“I was like, ‘Not on my watch. She will not die,’” Jamie said.