PREP VOLLEYBALL: Lady Miners down Del Oro, earn spot in D-II title game | TheUnion.com

PREP VOLLEYBALL: Lady Miners down Del Oro, earn spot in D-II title game

They're back.

For the first time since 2009, The Nevada Union girls volleyball team will be playing for a Sac-Joaquin Section championship.

"It's so gratifying because they've been working so hard at it," said Nevada Union head coach Chrys Dudek. "It's been a nice progression over the years and over the months, weeks and days. They've earned it."

To earn their spot in the Division II championship game, the No. 2 seeded Lady Miners (34-12) first needed to get past Sierra Foothill League foe and No. 6 seed Del Oro in the semifinals Tuesday.

With a strong all-around performance, the Lady Miners did just that, knocking off Del Oro, 25-16, 25-14, 25-22 in front of their home fans at Albert Ali Gymnasium.

"We just came here to win," Nevada Union senior captain Regan Heppe said. "We knew it was our last home game this season. It was a little sentimental for our seniors, so we definitely played to win. We didn't really have any down parts of the game. We just kept fighting the whole way through."

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Heppe, along with sophomore standout Faith Menary, led the way for the Lady Miners. Heppe and Menary each tallied nine kills, four aces and three digs.

"I think all the emotion and the encouragement from the crowd and the bench really helped out," said Menary.

Also coming through with strong efforts was Meadow Aragon with four kills, three blocks and an ace. Greta Kramer added four kills, two blocks and an ace. Setter Rebekah McGill ran the offense well with 26 assists to go with five digs and two aces. Libero Eliza Hales also had five digs and tallied an ace in the win. As a team, the Lady Miners scored 13 aces in the game.

"We did a lot of things well," Dudek said. "Our passing was good. We've been working a lot of serve-receive so that helped out tremendously so we could side-out. Digging was better. We didn't let hardly any balls hit the floor. We were just working hard."

For the Lady Miners it was a game of scoring runs, and they went on several, but none was more impressive than a 13-0 stretch in the second set. Trailing Del Oro, 7-4, the Lady Miners reeled off 13 straight points with Menary at the service line. When the dust had settled, NU led 17-7, and went on to win the set 25-14.

Del Oro gave their best effort in the third and final set, but eventually fell as the Lady Miners topped the Golden Eagles for the third time this season.

Next up for the Lady Miners is No. 1 seed Ponderosa (32-4), which topped No. 4 St. Mary's in five sets Tuesday. The D-II championship will take place at 5 p.m. Saturday at St. Francis High School in Sacramento.

"Ponderosa is a tough team," said Dudek. "They are like us. Everyone can play. Everyone can hit. Everyone can dig. So, we just have to sharpen up our game in every aspect."

For Nevada Union, it's their first trip to a section title game since they lost to Oak Ridge in the 2009 D-I championship. The last time the Lady Miners won a section championship was in 2008, capping a run of seven straight section titles.

To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, call 530-477-4232 or email wford@theunion.com.

TOP PERFORMERS

NU: Regan Heppe – 9 kills, 4 aces

NU: Faith Menary – 9 kills, 4 aces

NU: Rebekah McGill – 26 assists, 5 digs, 2 aces

NU: Meadow Aragon – 4 kills, 3 blocks

NU: Greta Kramer – 4 kills, 2 blocks