Set after set was lofted up and rifled down for points by Bear River Tuesday night as the Lady Bruins breezed past Marysville in the first round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV playoffs.
“We passed the ball really well tonight,” Bear River head coach Matt MacDonald said. “We have some awesome weapons, and Kaya (Johnson) did an excellent job.”
The Bear River girls volleyball team dismantled the Indians in straight sets, 25-12, 25-16, 25-12, to advance to the second round for the third straight year.
Johnson was masterful on the court for Bear River, setting her hitters up with kill opportunities they took full advantage of. Johnson finished the night with 37 assists and added five aces. Capitalizing on many of Johnson’s solid sets were fellow seniors Sara Schell and Kirsten Pereira.
“It’s really good to have somebody that’s mentally strong on our team,” Pereira said of Johnson, “someone who is able to know where we’re going to get our next kill. If we struggle, she’s always there to pick us up.”
Schell had 17 kills, and Pereira finished with 12 kills.
“Sara and Kirsten are my girls,” Johnson said. “I’ve been with them for so long, and it’s nice to know that I have people I can fall back on and depend on.
“Our offense is awesome, and if it’s not on, it comes on pretty quick. Somebody always steps up.”
With the win, Bear River advances to the second round and will face longtime Pioneer Valley League rival Colfax Thursday at Jack R. McCrory Gymnasium.
In the first set, the Lady Bruins jumped out to an 11-1 lead behind a plethora of Schell kills and Marysville errors. Schell had eight of her 17 kills in the first set.
Bear River never slowed as it cruised to a 25-12 first set victory.
In the second set, Marysville faired far better, battling the Lady Bruins closely. With the score knotted at 15, Bear River got a kill from Pereira, and Aspen Dutrow reeled off eight straight points from the service line, providing the Lady Bruins with a comfortable lead as they closed the set, 25-16.
In the final set, Johnson got the Lady Bruins out to a 9-1 lead by reeling off eight straight service points including a pair of aces. Down the stretch Bear River got kills from Pereira, Schell, Teryn Rath and Nicole Nattrass as they closed out the set, 25-12.
On the night, Rath finished with seven kills, Amanda Clark pitched in five kills, Nattrass added an ace, and libero Haley Brown led the team in digs with eight.
Despite the lopsided win, MacDonald said his team still has work to do.
“When you get a two seed, you get people looking and people taking notice,” he said. “We need to start to become an even more complete team than we are.
“Defensively, we still have some work to do, and we will be spending some time on that.”
To contact Sports Writer Walter Ford, call (530) 477-4232 or email firstname.lastname@example.org