Brian Hamilton: Miners on verge of volleyball history
Bob Rogers and Larry Peterson once again have Nevada Union right where we’ve come to expect it to be this time of year, standing atop the Sac-Joaquin Section’s Division I volleyball power ratings.
Not to downplay the downright rich tradition of success among most of western Nevada County’s teams that take to the fields, courts and courses each autumn, but there can be no doubt that when it comes to championships members of the Nevada Union volleyball program are our local Legends of the Fall.
The senior class, one that has helped steer the powerhouse program to 127 victories since their freshman season, is about take to the floor as Lady Miners for the final time.
Five girls Ð Kristin Dahle, Sarah McAtee, Kylie Miraldi, Caroline Reeves and Christian Woodruff — have given Nevada Union fans reason to get Ali Gymnasium rocking come playoff season for the past three years.
For crying out loud, they’ve never finished a season without a section championship!
And considering that this class has now led the Miners to 30 wins in each of their high school volleyball campaigns, there’s no reason to believe their final run won’t be every bit as rewarding as in recent years.
Nevada Union (30-5-1), which has won the High Sierra Invitational and the Davis Fall Classic, gets another shot at some good competition at this weekend’s St. Francis Tournament before attempting to close out another Sierra Foothill League championship through the next two weeks.
Nevada Union fans get two more regular season games at home, with Oakmont coming to town Tuesday and Roseville traveling to Grass Valley on Oct. 30. But folks wanting to see the match to likely decide the SFL title should plan on heading down the hill for the Oct. 25 game at Rocklin.
Though the Miners silenced the Thunder in a 3-1 win on Oct. 2, NU is the only SFL team to top Rocklin this season. The Thunder (28-5) is 8-1 in the SFL and second only to the Miners (9-0 SFL) in league play.
Nevada Union, on the other hand, has been second to none not only in league competition, but also in the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs since 2002.
The Miners, likely once again the tournament’s top seed, will be seeking a record-tying sixth straight Division I section championship this fall. They have won 20-straight section tournament matches, 12 of which came in the careers of the current senior class.
And just to show how dominant these seniors have been, Nevada Union has won 36 of the 37 games played during those 12 tournament matchups over the past three seasons. The only game dropped during that stretch came in a 3-1 win over Golden Valley in November of 2005.
If the Miners are able to continue such dominance in the postseason again this fall, they’ll become members of an exclusive club. A sixth-straight section crown would match the section’s record for most consecutive championships, shared by St. Mary’s (in Division I, 1991-96) and Ripon Christian (D-V, 1991-96).
Though Division I does have teams capable of scoring what would be a substantial upset in the section tournament Ð Lodi (16-6-1), Rodriguez (19-3), Davis (15-6) and Napa (15-8) are rated two through five — I’d be shocked if the Lady Miners weren’t right where we’d all expect them to be on Nov. 15:
Claiming another championship banner at UC-Davis.
Brian Hamilton is sports editor at The Union. His column appears Saturdays. Contact him via e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 4767-4240.
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