Bear River girls volleyball, Pereira blast Colfax in season finale
Some brilliant maneuvers were put on display Tuesday night at Jack R. McCrory Gymnasium as the Bear River girls volleyball team (18-14 overall, 8-2 Pioneer Valley League) surged past the Colfax Lady Falcons (15-14 overall, 7-3 PVL) in a heated rivalry match to win in four sets, 25-18, 25-16, 20-25, 25-23.
The Lady Bruins were led by an unbelievable performance from senior Kirsten Pereira, who slammed down 32 kills, including 13 in the fourth and final set to earn her team the victory and claim second place in the PVL standings. The Lady Falcons dropped to third with the loss, but both teams are headed for the playoffs. Tuesday’s win, however, is likely to give Bear River a higher seed and enable it to host at least one playoff match.
“This means a bunch to me,” said Pereira. “It’s so much more comfortable for us (to play at home). We love having the fans here. It’s a huge part of our success. Being a senior, I’m really glad to have another home game.”
The first two sets came easy for Bear River as its seniors feasted on scoring opportunities, most of which were set up with impressive touches off the fingertips of sophomore Savannah Wirth. Her chemistry with the team was beyond extraordinary and proved to a huge part of Pereira’s success down the final stretch in Game 4.
“It’s a great connection,” said Bruins head coach Matt MacDonald. “It’s something we have to ride. At the end, we stopped making mistakes. Our seniors brought us back and did a great job.”
The combination of Wirth and Pereira was deadly throughout the match, as it flustered the Lady Falcons’ feathers and frequently resulted in balls sailing out of bounds for Bear River points.
“Savannah (Wirth) stepped out of her comfort zone,” added Pereira. “It’s taken a couple of big games, and she succeeded. Tonight, they were reading so well we mixed it up. Usually we run the middle.”
Wirth tossed up 45 assists for the evening, including the match point in Game 4, which Pereira fired across the net and ricocheted off a Lady Falcon player. The Lady Bruins had been trailing most of Game 3 after Colfax went up 8-7, but Bear River hung tough and stayed within itself to regain the lead when it went up 22-21. From there, the squad took care of business just as it had started.
Senior Teryn Rath played well all around, helping on offense with 18 kills and anchoring the backcourt with 12 digs. Kaely Rath also chipped in with five kills and three blocks. Senior Ellie Vandervort served up a team-high three aces, and senior Hannah Christianson added seven digs.
“Crazy things happen in rivalries,” MacDonald said. “Our senior Hannah is a model of consistency, and that doesn’t always show up in the stats — passing, covering the hitters, passing, all the little things.”
Opening the match, the Lady Bruins built leads in both Games 1 and 2 and never trailed by more than two points at any point.
It definitely seemed the squad was in cruise control and would wrap up the match in three straight, but the Lady Falcons had other plans. Trailing 10-6 in Game 3, Colfax went on a hot streak and soared ahead with a 10-0 run from which Bear River never recovered.
“We went up 2-0 and just got too comfortable,” said MacDonald. “You just can’t do that. Mentally, we had just taken a break.”
The Lady Bruins have earned a little break now as they await the Sac-Joaquin Section playoff brackets to be released today at 1 p.m. The first match won’t be until Tuesday and will more than likely be a home game for Bear River as it looks to begin its journey to repeat as champs.
“It’s going to translate nicely,” added MacDonald, referring to the win over rival Colfax. “We were able to stay composed. Now we’re anticipating a home game. When we’re able to play at home, great things usually happen.”
Before the game, coach MacDonald also took time to acknowledge Lady Falcons coach Vicky Satterlee, who after 27 years will retire at the end of this season.
“She’s coached at Colfax 27 years now and had made such a huge impact,” MacDonald said. “It would be a dream scenario to end up on opposite sides of the bracket and meet them for the section championship.”
To contact Sports Writer Brian Shepard, call 530-477-4234 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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