PREP VOLLEYBALL: Lady Miners, Lady Bruins set to clash in non-league matchup | TheUnion.com

PREP VOLLEYBALL: Lady Miners, Lady Bruins set to clash in non-league matchup

Nevada Union is off to a scorching start to the 2018 volleyball season.

The Lady Miners have won nine of their first 10 bouts and seven straight, including an undefeated run at the Flock Tournament to take home the title.

"We're young and hungry," said head coach Chrys Dudek. "We still have a learning curve… but I'm really positive about this group. It's a strong group."

The Lady Bruins from Bear River are also off to a hot start to the season, earning wins in six of their first seven matches, including five straight.

"We're off to a good start," Bear River head coach Matt MacDonald said. "We're pretty young, but we have depth, which has made a huge difference. We have kids that can play multiple positions and kids that can come off the bench and make plays."

The two talented foothill teams will now put county bragging rights, as well as their respective win streaks, on the line when they face off tonight at Nevada Union's Albert Ali Gymnasium.

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MINERS RISING

The Lady Miners boast a talented squad, led by senior setter Bekah McGill, senior middle hitter Meadow Aragon, junior outside hitter Faith Menary and junior Kendall Hughes.

McGill returns to lead the Lady Miners after an All-Sierra Foothill League First Team selection in 2017. Aragon is back in the middle after earning All-SFL Second Team honors last season. Menary figures to be a big factor in NU's success this year after a stellar sophomore season. And, Hughes showed her versatility and skill in the Lady Miners' recent championship run at the Flock Tournament.

"We have two seniors starting," said Dudek. "All the rest are juniors, but they're not playing like juniors. They're playing like seasoned players and I'm excited about that."

ROAR OF THE BRUINS

The Lady Bruins are powered by senior outside hitter Callie Bickmore, senior setter Caitlin McLaughlin, junior outside hitter Bella Thornberry and sophomore middle block Sydney Franks.

The 6-foot, 2-inch Bickmore leads the team in kills and digs so far this season. McLaughlin does a solid job of orchestrating Bear River's offense, leading the team in assists. She's also a force at the service line and leads the team in aces. Thornberry, in her first season with Bear River, has proven to be a strong offensive option. And, the 5-foot, 10-inch Franks leads the team in blocks so far this season.

"For us, we're still trying to bring diversity to our offense," MacDonald said. "We have one of the best offensive weapons in Callie (Bickmore), but we want that balance.

RECENT HISTORY

The Lady Bruins and Lady Miners have linked up in non-league play six times since 2011 with each team winning three times. Nevada Union currently holds the bragging rights after last year's 25-17, 25-16, 21-25, 25-15 victory at Jack R. McCrory Gymnasium.

GAME TIME

The varsity bout between the Lady Miners and Lady Bruins is set to get going at 6:30 p.m. today. The junior varsity game is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. and the freshman contest starts at 4:30 p.m. All games are being played at Nevada Union's Albert Ali Gymnasium.

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

KNOW & GO

What: Bear River (6-1) at Nevada Union (9-1)

When: 6:30 p.m., Thursday

Where: Nevada Union’s Albert Ali Gymnasium

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