‘Best part of their day’: Miners, Bruins close out 2021 season with fun finale
There were scorching serves, diving dig attempts and powerful spikes. There were also serves that looked more like jump shots and players attempting athletic maneuvers a bit outside their abilities. But, most importantly, there were plenty of smiles.
“Before the match, I told them there’s nothing to lose here, let’s just have fun. And, they did,” said Bear River boys volleyball head coach Jon Good.
The boys volleyball teams from Nevada Union and Bear River faced off at Jack R. McCrory Gymnasium Thursday in a season-finale showcase that pitted two reigning (technically) Sac-Joaquin Section champs against each other.
It was just two years ago when the Miners and Bruins each won Sac-Joaquin Section championships, NU claiming the Division II title, and Bear River grabbing the Division III banner. The 2020 season was canceled just a handful of games into the campaign, and the 2021 season will not have a postseason due to COVID-19 restrictions.
With all that in mind, the Miners and Bruins played out the final match of the season and definitely had fun with it.
“For sure, they had a lot of fun,” said NU head coach Lance Mansuetti. “It was kind of relaxing without all the pressure. Sometimes, from a coach’s point of view, too relaxed, but I think everyone had fun and everyone played, which is a coach’s dream.”
The Miners ended up with the victory (25-13, 25-15, 25-14), and with the win finish up the season with a 12-3 overall record.
NU got strong play in Thursday’s match from seniors Eli Jones, Aidan Wahl, Joe Pardini and J.T. Conway as they concluded their run with the program.
Leading the Bruins were seniors Weston Prosser and Aiden Black. Prosser, a four-year varsity player, did a little bit of everything on the court Thursday evening.
“As you saw tonight, (Prosser’s) our best setter, best hitter, best server, best blocker,” said Good. “That’s because he’s such a good leader. He’s always the last guy out of the gym. He leads by example, never has an ego, and despite all his accolades, he still worked hard because he wanted to get better. Having him showing the other guys how to get better and how to be a team player has been a blessing for sure.”
Prosser has been a key contributor for the program since he was a freshman and was instrumental in the team’s 2019 Section title run. Prosser said he does wonder what could have been if the pandemic didn’t upend his junior and senior seasons, but doesn’t get too bogged down by it.
“It was what it was,” Prosser said. “But, overall I’m pretty satisfied with how it turned out. … I’m happy we have the people we have today and happy we had people come out that don’t usually play. It’s good to diversify the team and get ready for the next season for these guys.”
With roster numbers low, student-athletes playing multiple sports at the same time and difficulty finding opponents, the Bruins faced their fair share of issues throughout the season, and in the end played only three matches. They went 2-1 with wins over Mesa Verde and Western Sierra.
“The guys really stuck with it,” said Good. “We could only practice once or twice a week, and we never had the full team for a practice.”
Despite all the ups and downs throughout the season, Good said the most important thing was the kids at least got to play.
“For a lot of them, I think that this was the best part of their day,” he said.
To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, email firstname.lastname@example.org
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