Bear River tops Placer volleyball on senior night, gains share of PVL lead
For Bear River’s nine seniors on the girls volleyball team, the match with Placer Thursday night couldn’t have gone any better.
On a night when all nine were honored in front of the home crowd, the Lady Bruins (22-12, 8-1 Pioneer Valley League) got revenge for an earlier loss and swept Placer (22-5, 8-1 PVL) in straight sets to pull even with the Hillgals at the top of the league standings.
“It is unbelievable,” Bear River coach Matt MacDonald said as fans cheered wildly around him after the game. “We came out so flat the first time we played them, and it’s been kind of a crazy week with homecoming and senior night. They just did an unbelievable job, and I’m going to miss these seniors so much.”
Despite the three-set sweep, the contest was close as all three came down to the very end, 25-23, 25-22, 25-22.
From the beginning, the crowd was raucous inside Jack R. McRory Gymnasium with the student section chanting and stomping in the stands.
Senior Kirsten Pereira gave some credit for the win to the Bear River fan base.
“It was so great to have the support,” Pereira said. “Everybody played better knowing we had our entire school backing us.”
In the first set, the two teams battled furiously back and forth, never letting the other grab an advantage of more than two points until the Lady Bruins separated from the Hillgals at 22-19.
A Placer service error and a pair of Pereira kills gave the Lady Bruins the first set and all the momentum.
The second set was another grueling battle, as neither was able to gain a sizable advantage on the other.
With the set tied at 17, Placer got a pair of kills from Raquel Quirarte coupled with a Bear River error to take a 20-17 advantage.
Bear River took a timeout, then came out firing. Bear River senior Sara Schell spiked down a pair of points, and Teryn Rath added a block to get the Lady Bruins back in the set. With a few Placer errors followed by a Kaya Johnson ace, Bear River took the set on the heels of an 8-2 run.
In the third set, the Lady Bruins didn’t let up, getting outstanding play from Schell, Johnson, Pereira, Rath and Haley Brown.
With the Lady Bruins leading 24-22 in the final set, senior setter Johnson found Schell who fired down the point for the win.
“I told Kaya to send me one,” Schell said. “It was a perfect set, and it was done.”
With the win, the Lady Bruins moved to 7-1 at home this season.
“Our No. 1 job has been to protect home court all year,” MacDonald said. “They did it tonight. It was unbelievable.”
With one game left, the Lady Bruins can clinch at least a share of the PVL title if they beat Colfax.
“It’s so cliché, but all year we said we were going to build a tough schedule and take it one game at a time,” MacDonald said. “We still got to take down Colfax. They are our rivals, and we respect the heck out of them, but if we take care of business, we’re there.”
Bear River travels Tuesday to take on Colfax in the final PVL game of the season.
To contact Sports Writer Walter Ford, call (530) 477-4232 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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