PREP VOLLEYBALL: Miners dig deep, topple league foe Granite Bay | TheUnion.com

PREP VOLLEYBALL: Miners dig deep, topple league foe Granite Bay

In a matchup between two of the top teams in the Sac-Joaquin Section, it was the Nevada Union Miners digging deep and pulling out a hard-fought, five-set victory, 25-20, 17-25, 25-17, 17-25, 15-7 over the Granite Bay Grizzlies Thursday night.

Playing in the friendly confines of Albert Ali Gymnasium, the Miners and Grizzlies battled closely for much of the night, splitting the first four sets and forcing a fifth and decisive set.

The Miners set the tone early in the fifth set, jumping out to a 6-1 advantage after a Nick Ashbaugh kill, an Ibrahim Torkman block and several Granite Bay errors. The Grizzlies responded with three straight points to pull to within two, but another Ashbaugh kill and a Nevada Union block put the Miners up 9-4. Ashbaugh tallied another three kills down the stretch, Tanner Quiggle hammered one down to make it 14-7 and Riley Nelson knocked down the final kill to close the match out.

"We were able to cut our errors eventually and just play ball," said Ashbaugh, who led the team in kills with 21. "We played calm and relaxed, not trying to do too much. Just do our job. And, we were able to pull through and get the win."

Also coming through with strong efforts for the Miners were Preston Nowak with 10 kills, Torkman with seven kills and Jordan Mills with seven kills.

"We have a balanced offense," said NU head coach Lance Mansuetti, "We have so many weapons. That's the luxury we have as a team. We have a lot of kids that can put the ball away and that fifth game showed it."

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Setting up the NU hitters were Sam Hales and Trevor Johnson, who notched 19 assists and 15 assists respectively.

Defensively, the Miners tallied 10 blocks, with Quiggle, Nowak and Mills leading the way with two each. Ashbaugh led the team with 19 digs, and Joey Cena had 12 digs.

Coming into the game, the Miners (14-1, 4-1 Sierra Foothill League) were ranked No. 1 in the section and Granite Bay (14-8, 3-2 SFL) was sitting at No. 4, according to MaxPreps.com.

MID-SEASON MARK

Thursday's matchup marked the midway point of Nevada Union's SFL slate. The Miners spent five of their first six league games on the road, going 4-1 away from Ali Gym with their only loss coming to Woodcreek (9-2, 5-0 SFL), who currently sits atop the league standings. The Miners earned road league wins over Folsom, Rocklin, Del Oro and Oak Ridge.

FINAL RUN THROUGH THE SFL

This is Nevada Union's final run through the SFL as it is slated to move to the newly formed Foothill Valley League next season.

The Miners have fared well in the mighty SFL, earning three league titles since 2009 and never finishing worse than fourth in the standings.

WHAT'S NEXT

The Miners have a non-league road game Tuesday against Roseville (13-0), who beat NU in the 2017 Sac-Joaquin Section Division I championship game. The Miners then get back into league play with a home match against Rocklin at 6 p.m. Wednesday.

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

NEVADA UNION LEADERS

Nick Ashbaugh – 21 kills, 19 digs

Sam Hales – 19 assists, 6 digs

Preston Nowak – 10 kills, 9 digs 2 blocks

Jordan Mills – 7 kills, 5 digs, 2 blocks

Ibrahim Torkman – 7 kills

Trevor Johnson – 15 assists

Joey Cena – 12 digs

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