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Ramstein’s Sierra Stayberg realizes you can’t win them all.

But she and her Lady Royals teammates have made the case over the past couple of seasons that you can come awfully close.

Last year, Stayberg played leadership roles as the Lady Royals posted unbeaten volleyball and basketball seasons.

This year, Stayberg, now a 17-year-old senior, and her Ramstein cohorts lost one volleyball match, the team’s only defeat in three seasons, and Tuesday night won its first basketball game of the new season, 62-57 in overtime over Baumholder.

With all those wins, is the thrill of victory gone for Stayberg?

“Winning’s always fun,” the 2007 All-Europe volleyball and basketball player said before basketball practice last week.

And losing once every 1,000 days or so?

“It was hard to deal with,” she said of that volleyball loss.

“But this year we had an all-new team. The streak belonged to another team.”

Ramstein has a new team playing basketball, too. The Lady Royals lost four seniors, including All-Europeans Kendra Lenoir, Kaylen Bannister and Crystal Richardson, and another starter when Lisa Domingo transferred to Kaiserslautern.

In light of those changes, Stayberg’s prepared for a few ups and downs.

“This year is a building season,” Stayberg said of the prospects for Ramstein’s hoops team.

“It’s a different type of challenge. A lot of them are really young, but by next year they’re going to be great.”

Stayberg already is, according to Lady Royals basketball coach Kent Grosshuesch.

“She’s everything for us,” he said. “She penetrates. She has a great outside shot. She’s the best point guard in Europe.”

The 5-foot, 3-inch Stayberg put it another way.

“I love driving, feeling that no one can stop you, or shooting a jump shot from my spot,” she said. “I almost smile when I get there because I know we’re going to get two points.”

Ability like that, combined with her leadership skills, should ease a few growing pains this season.

“She’s better than just a coach on the floor,” Grosshuesch said Tuesday. “She’s like a coach in practice, too. All our young players look to her for guidance.”

That’s fine with Stayberg.

“They’re not hearing it from someone who hasn’t been through it,” she said. “My first year on the varsity, we were the same way. I know exactly what they feel like.”

Stayberg, who averaged seven points, seven rebounds and three assists per game last season and had eight of each Tuesday night, might be unstoppable on the basketball court, but she feels her athletic future lies in volleyball. She currently plays in a German league, honing the defensive skills her libero position values above all others.

“Germans hit a lot harder, and the German girls have been playing the game longer than most Americans,” she said. “The Americans generally hit the ball to the same place, and you can anticipate it. The Germans can angle their bodies and disguise where they’re going to hit it. I get most of my floor burns against Germans.”

Look on those burns, however, as dues being paid for the future.

“Libero is a relatively new position,” she said as she looks forward to college. “It’s the perfect time for me to capitalize on playing the position.”

Capitalizing on opportunities is a specialty for Stayberg, who in addition to her dual-national, dual-sport athletic career carries a 3.81 GPA while taking two advanced placement courses and serving as student council president. It’s a pace she’s unlikely to slacken until she graduates, with sorrow, in June.

“It’ll be kind of sad,” she said of moving on. “I’ve always been a Royal. I’m lucky to have been here all four years.”


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