Bringing the thunder |

Bringing the thunder

Forest Lake Christian's Hannah Zea fires the ball over the net against Victory Christian Tuesday night at Forest Lake Christian. The Lady Falcons won in three sets, 25-23, 25-15, 25-10.
John Hart/ | The Union

Coming off a second place finish at the Carmichael Invitational, the Forest Lake Christian girls volleyball team jumped right back into league play Tuesday against Victory Christian.

The Lady Falcons (11-3, 3-0 Central Valley California League) started out a little wobbly with a plethora of errors on their home court, but found their flight pattern and soared to a straight set victory, 25-23, 25-15, 25-10.

“Usually Victory (Christian) is more of competition for us,” FLC head coach Travis Smith said. “They did a good job, they just don’t have what we have.”

While the Lady Vikings (6-8, 2-2 CVCL) were content to weather the FLC hitting storm, playing passively for most the game and hoping for errors, the Lady Falcons’ many offensive weapons brought the thunder and Victory Christian was no match.

“We definitely want to be aggressive, and play to our very best all the time,” FLC senior captain Morgan Koch said. “Our biggest strength is our offense. We’re very good at hitting and know where our spots are.”

After falling behind 16-11 in the first set, Smith called a timeout. When the Lady Falcons returned they went to work. FLC went on a 9-1 run behind kills from Aly English, Koch and Emily Pearce. During that run English also tallied two aces and Christin Blair also notched an ace.

Victory Christian battled back to knot the game 23-23, but a Hannah Zea kill and a Blair spike finished off the set.

Zea led the Lady Falcons in kills and aces with 10 and five respectively.

“She’s one of those in that group of seniors that I’ve coached since freshman year and I’ve just watched her grow and grow and grow,” Smith said. “And, really tonight and at the tournament, she has had two fantastic outings. She keeps getting better and better. If she has a single block or an open net, I feel bad for the other team sometimes. She just blasts it.”

In the second set, FLC started strong, grabbing a 15-7 edge with strong play from Zea, Pearce and Hailey Adams.

Pearce finished the night with eight kills and 13 assists. Adams added five kills in the win.

The strong start to the season and veteran squad (eight seniors) has Pearce, a senior, setting her sights on a league championship.

“I think we can definitely win league with God’s help,” she said. “We want to make it to sections and win.”

In the second set, Victory Christian did make a run, crawling to within four at 17-13, but a monster kill by Koch off a pretty set by English set in motion another run as FLC seven of the next nine points to win the set. English led the team in assists with 20. She also had eight kills, three aces and five digs.

“We have a really good core group,” English said. “We grew up playing together since seventh grade and we had a really good preseason. We’re really well prepared for the season and we want to take league hopefully.”

In the third set, the Lady Falcons ran away with it, jumping out to a 20-5 lead and never looking back.

Other Lady Falcon standouts were Sarah Ponce with 10 digs and Hayden Navo playing in the Libero spot.

“Hayden Navo brings a fire in the back row,” Smith said. “She’s diving all over the place, and she’s sacrificing her body for the team.”

Next up for FLC is last year’s CVCL champion, Woodland Christian.

“They match up well with us because they focus so much on their defense and keeping that ball going,” Smith said of Woodland Christian.

“They have a couple of weapons, but they don’t have what we have. They are really good at reading, serving and we’re playing down there and that’s always hard.”

Woodland Christian is the only other team |in the CVCL without a league loss. FLC heads to Woodland Christian Thursday.

To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, call 530-477-4232 or email

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