PREP VOLLEYBALL: Nevada Union bests Bear River in battle of Nevada County teams | TheUnion.com

PREP VOLLEYBALL: Nevada Union bests Bear River in battle of Nevada County teams

With a stellar showing on their home court, the Lady Miners once again grabbed county bragging rights when it comes to volleyball.

In front of a large crowd at Albert Ali Gymnasium Thursday, Nevada Union took it to Bear River, sweeping the Lady Bruins in straight sets, 25-16, 25-15, 25-9.

"We've been working on communication and trying to find our flow, and I think we really found that part of our game," said NU head coach Chrys Dudek. "It took a little bit to find that in the first game, but once we did I think we established it well."

In the seventh meeting between the two Nevada County squads since 2011, it was the Lady Bruins starting with a roar and jumping out to a 4-0 first set lead. The Lady Miners quickly found their stride, though, and responded with a 16-6 run to take control of the set. With strong efforts from Faith Menary, Meadow Aragon, Bekah McGill and Teola Nowak, Nevada Union closed out the set to take a 1-0 lead.

In the second set, it was once again the Lady Bruins jumping out front early. This time, Bear River grabbed a 10-8 edge. The Lady Miners quickly quieted the Lady Bruins, though, reeling off 11 straight points to grab a 19-10 edge before cruising to the victory with Emerson Dunbar and Kendall Hughes leading the way.

By the third set, the Lady Miners had asserted their dominance and coasted to a 25-9 victory.

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The win improves the Lady Miners to 10-1 this season. The Lady Bruins drop to 6-2.

Dudek, who took over the Lady Miners volleyball program in 2015 and led the Lady Miners to the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II Championship Game a year ago, said he likes where his team is at this point of the season.

"Overall they are really coming together on defense," Dudek said of his team. "That's been one of our goals. Serve-receive and defense. Serve-receive is coming along really nicely. We have some great back row players and we're getting our passes up and off the net so we can run a faster offense."

Despite the straight set loss, Bear River head coach Matt MacDonald said the match was a good test for his squad and he liked some of the things they were able to do against the Lady Miners.

"I thought we passed the ball well, especially in the first two sets. Things got out of hand in the third," MacDonald said. "I thought we served pretty tough which is what we need to do, and we came away with some blocks. Obviously, offensively we were off tonight. We got to have more fire power if we're going to compete with NU, but overall I think it was a good test for us."

Leading the Lady Bruins was senior outside hitter Callie Bickmore, junior outside hitter Bella Thornberry and senior setter Caitlin McLaughlin.

The junior varsity and freshmen teams for Nevada Union also came out on top in their bouts with Bear River. The junior varsity Lady Miners topped their Lady Bruins counterparts 25-14, 25-10, and the freshmen Lady Miners won, 25-10, 25-6.

WHAT'S NEXT

Nevada Union (10-1) is at the High Sierra Tournament in Reno where they will face some stiff competition.

The Lady Bruins' non-league schedule doesn't get any easier either, as they will face off with Placer on Tuesday.

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

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