Bruins rise above Miners in Volleyball
The best volleyball team in the county resides 17 miles south of the school with seven section titles.
Nevada Union found out firsthand just how high the Bear River girls volleyball team has risen Thursday night at Jack R. McCrory Gymnasium, where the Bruins beat the Miners in four sets, 25-14, 22-25, 25-21, 25-22.
“This was our signature win,” Bruins coach Matt MacDonald said. It was also MacDonald’s 100th win.
MacDonald and assistant Cindy Gordon have spent the last five years turning around a program that traditionally struggled to break .500. Since MacDonald took over, the Bruins are 100-65. They returned the core of last season’s squad that made it to the section championship.
Sara Schell and Kirsten Pereira, two of the 11 returners from the 2011 team, led the attack with 17 and 10 kills, respectively.
“We were waiting for this all year,” Pereira, a junior, said of facing the Miners (13-9).
In addition to their scoring, Schell and Pereira provided valuable intangibles.
“I bring up the energy,” Pereira said. “That’s what got me on varsity as a freshman.”
The Bruins maintained composure — smiles and all — at the most crucial times. In the deciding fourth set, Nevada Union had rallied from a 22-18 hole to come within a point at 23-22, but Bear River forced an NU error, and Pereira knocked in her 10th kill to seal the match.
“There’s no situation too big for her,” MacDonald said of Pereira, whose game-one serving got the Bruins out to a 6-0 start.
Senior setter Kaya Johnson was indispensable with 44 assists, while junior Teryn Rath had five kills.
Bear River doesn’t play again until Thursday in the Pioneer Valley League opener at Center.
Sierra Payne led the Miners with 12 kills, Emily Segel had 11, Rachel Hadley had 10 kills and four blocks, and Melanie O’Brien had seven kills. But Nevada Union struggled with consistency all night.
“For whatever reason, we couldn’t get into sync,” Miners co-head coach Kelly Rhoden said. “(The Bruins) were fired up. They had a huge amount of energy. They played with a lot of heart tonight.
“We weren’t playing together the way we know how.”
Rhoden found a positive in the performance of O’Brien, a junior, who has been put in different positions lately by Rhoden and co-head coach Marco Salcedo.
“Melanie O’Brien stepped up and found herself a little bit tonight,” Rhoden said.
Sydney Porter’s performance at libero was also a reason the Miners feel confident heading into Sierra Foothill League play, which starts at home Wednesday against Rocklin.
“League is where it counts,” Salcedo said. “Where we’re at right now, we can win league easily. Whether we want to win league … that’s up to the girls.”
To contact the Sports department, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (530) 477-4232.
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The Little League District 11 postseason is off to a hot start.