Exalting end: Bear River volleyball rallies past Woodcreek
Playoffs don’t seem so necessary when a season can end like it did Thursday.
Bear River’s volleyball team rallied on senior night to beat Woodcreek at home in a five-game thriller, 23-25, 25-21, 16-25, 25-15, 16-14.
While there is no postseason for boys volleyball, because the sport is not sanctioned by the California Interscholastic Federation, the Bruins’ season couldn’t have concluded better under first-year head coach Sandy Vettel.
They finished 8-8 and in fifth place in the Sierra Foothill League. Granite Bay, which finished undefeated, won the SFL.
“We played really well tonight,” said Corey Tofte, who finished with team highs in kills (7) and blocks (3). One of his kills and two of his blocks turned into the final three points of the match.
With the Bear River fans at their loudest, the Bruins found energy to erase a 9-3 deficit in the fifth game.
“A lot of the fire is drawn from within the team,” Tofte, a senior, said. “But support from the crowd, when it gets really loud, we get really pumped up.”
“It was senior night, so we had a lot of fans here tonight,” Tofte’s classmate Greg Boone said. “It was so intense.”
Boone spent the evening getting the little things done for Bear River – the sets, the digs and the serves.
Senior James Dumont, who had a key block in the Bruins’ game-two win, had the most consecutive serves of any player. In Bear River’s game-four win, Dumont served eight in a row to give his team a commanding 11-2 advantage.
Dumont’s streak was uncommon in a match teeming with errors and failed serves. In the third game there were 10 missed serves: six by Woodcreek and four by the Bruins. The Timberwolves finished with 20 missed serves and Bear River had 10.
But sloppy serving was a fair price for some of the rallies the teams built. On more than a dozen occasions the Bruins and Woodcreek put together crowd-pleasing strings of hits, often including diving digs by both sides.
Bear River senior Peter Moore was responsible for one such point in the third game to bring his team within a point at 13-12. After the Timberwolves blocked three-straight Bruin attempts at the net, Moore drilled it onto the center of Woodcreek’s side. Three Timberwolves were fallen on the floor by the end of that battle.
Bear River followed with an error to give Woodcreek match point at 14-12. It was still match point after an error by the Timberwolves, but that was when Tofte delivered three-straight for the win.
Playing like they were, it was hard to believe the Bruins weren’t higher in the SFL. But as Vettel was quick to point out, it’s a tough league. Placer, Rocklin and Oakmont – second, third and fourth, respectively – are each constant contenders.
“We have definitely had a good number of games like we did tonight,” Vettel said. “I wanted to place above Rocklin or Oakmont, but this is just such a good league.”
As loved as she is by players and fans, she said she will return next year for her second season.
Boone is one of six seniors who will miss playing for her.
“All of us love her,” Boone said. “She’s the best coach we’ve had, by far.”
Several of the signs held by fans in the student section were in appreciation of Vettel.
“I’m very happy about the season,” Vettel said. ” … No one is selfish, there are no egos. It’s the ideal coaching environment.”
To contact sports writer Jeff Miller, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 477-4240.
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
Readers around Grass Valley and Nevada County make The Union’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.
Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.
Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.
Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.
User Legend: Moderator Trusted User
Grass Valley native Brad Sweet drove past the competition and into victory lane last week, snapping his longest winless streak of the season.