With Placer and Colfax looming next week, the Bear River girls volleyball team remained focus on the here and now Thursday night.
In their first Pioneer Valley League home game, the Lady Bruins dominated Foothill, winning in straight sets, 25-5, 25-5, 25-8.
“We expected our girls to stay focused and be prepared tonight,” Bear River head coach Matt MacDonald said. “I think right now they are just so set on taking things one day at a time. But in the back of their mind, I know they know we have a big week next week.”
The Lady Bruins (17-8, 3-0 PVL) showed just how big the separation in talent can be in the PVL by thumping the Mustangs (2-8, 0-2 PVL) by a combined score of 75-18.
In the first set, the Lady Bruins set the tone for the night with a strong service game. Bear River’s Hayley Brown reeled off 10 straight points from the service line, then Kaya Johnson followed a few points later with seven straight service points, including three aces.
Johnson finished the night with four aces to go with 32 assists.
The Lady Bruins went on to win the first set handily, 25-5.
The second set was more of the same. Bear River’s Ellie Vandervort held service for 15 straight points after the Mustangs had tied the set at 4-4. By the time Vandervort was through, the Lady Bruins were up 19-5. They would go on to take the set, 25-5.
The third set offered no relief for Foothill as the Lady Bruins continued to pound away at the overmatched Mustangs, finishing them off with a 25-8 victory.
Bear River’s senior captain, Sara Schell, led the team in kills with 10, Teryn Rath added seven, Kirtsen Pereira tallied six, and freshmen standout Kaely Rath finished with four.
“I like how we stay focused and didn’t play down to their level,” Schell said. “No matter how bad the team is we still play the best that we can.”
Schell maintained her intensity well into the third set by spiking down aggressive kills and diving for the ball to prevent Mustang points.
“If we don’t dive aggressively for a ball, we have to do bleachers,” she said.
Despite the wildly lopsided victory MacDonald said games like this offer opportunities for underclassmen to improve as players.
“I think it’s a great growth opportunity especially for a lot of our younger players,” he said. “We are kind of a senior-dominated team, but it’s good to see our juniors and our freshmen step up and make big plays. That’s what you want is for them to get that experience in a varsity match and make meaningful contributions.”
Next week, Bear River will travel to take on Placer (15-2, 3-0 PVL) Tuesday, then hosts Colfax (4-8, 1-1 PVL) Thursday in what will be a critical stretch for the Lady Bruins.
“I think our goal, our hope is to just focus on tomorrow,” MacDonald said. “How can we get better tomorrow? What can we do to prepare?
“We will definitely watch some film on Placer, and come out and have a good practice. Try to stay focused, and after Friday, our focus should be on how we can have a good practice on Monday.”
To contact Sports Writer Walter Ford call (530) 477-4232 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org