player ever at La Canada High, and her brother, Kevin, was an integral
part of the Spartan soccer dynasty in the mid-1990s.
But for Gary and Linda Neumeier, the past four years have been
dedicated to watching their youngest daughter establish herself among the
best players not only at La Canada, but in all of Southern California.
And all the hours spent at practices and matches too numerous to
count, were justified recently when Tracy accepted a scholarship to play
at the University of Utah.
But having a child compete at the Division I level is nothing new for
Gary and Linda Neumeier, as Tracy is following her sister's path of
playing volleyball in college.
"It's an awesome opportunity for her to play for a top 20 team," said
Tiffany Bennett, who excelled for four years at the University of
Nevada-Reno. "I just told her that it takes a lot of dedication and that
it's basically her job for the next four years."
For the past four years, Neumeier's job has been to effectively run
the La Canada offense. And run it she has. Entering the Spartans' CIF
Southern Section Division IIIAA playoff semifinal match at
Harvard-Westlake at 7 tonight, Neumeier is closing in on her own school
record for assists in a season, which she set last year with 907.
Through 22 matches -- in which La Canada is 20-2 -- and 81 games, the
5-foot-9 setter has recorded 877 assists, but for Neumeier simply being
in the semifinals with this year's team is satisfaction in itself.
"Everybody said we wouldn't be as good as last year, but we came
together and we worked real hard as a team," said Neumeier, who has 2,812
assists in her career, including 80 in one match last season against
Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy -- the No. 2 mark all-time in the state.
"Last year we were more powerful [with Kelly Gaudino and Julie Taylor
as our outside hitters] but this year we're much smarter on the court."
For the No. 4-seed Spartans to hang with top-seed Harvard-Westlake
(20-2), they will have to play their smartest match of the season. The
Wolverines are the odds-on favorites to win not only the Southern