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Finishing the job

Walter Ford
Sports Writer
Sara Schell
John Hart | The Union

The Bear River girls volleyball team has been here before. The Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV title game that is.

“Last year, we were just happy and content to be in Davis,” Bear River head coach Matt MacDonald said Tuesday after the Lady Bruins semifinal win. “This year, it’s time to finish the job.”

Tonight the No. 2 seeded Lady Bruins (29-12 overall, 9-1 Pioneer Valley League) will look to avenge last season’s section championship loss to Union Mine by defeating No. 4 seed Ripon Christian at UC Davis.

“We have our work cut out for us,” said MacDonald. “It’s going to be fun. It’s going to be a battle.”

Ripon Christian (27-6 overall, 15-0 Southern League) is coming off five straight Division V section championships, won before being moved up to Division IV this season.

The Knights tore through the Southern League without a loss and have won 11 straight matches heading into tonight’s championship bout, including a four-set victory over the top seed, Escalon, in the semifinals.

Bear River is also on a hot streak, having won eight straight matches without dropping a set. The Lady Bruins have ousted Marysville, Colfax and Sonora on their way to the title game.

MacDonald said he has watched the tape of Ripon Christian’s victory over Escalon and that he expected to see the Knights if Bear River made it to the title game.

“They are a very good team and very well coached,” he said. “Their setter is the most dynamic setter we will ever see.”

Ripon Christian’s Andie Shelton is just a junior but has been setting for the Knights since she was a freshman. Shelton, Ripon Christian coach Tiger Shelton’s daughter, has plenty of playoff experience and can set the ball anywhere she wants, said MacDonald.

As for the Ripon Christian hitters, MacDonald said there are many to contend with.

“They don’t have a hitter 1A and 1B. They have hitters 1A, 1B, 1C and 1D,” he said.

Bear River, as it has all season, will look to two-time PVL MVP Sara Schell as well as 2012 All-PVL first teamers Kirsten Pereira, Kaya Johnson, Teryn Rath and Haley Brown to combat the multi-faceted Ripon Christian attack.

“Both our teams are offense first,” said MacDonald. “They want to hit the ball, and we want to hit the ball.

“We are just going to continue to do what we do, but we have to be able to adapt.”

Bear River last won a section title in 1998, and before that, it was 1991.

The Lady Bruins’ quest to bring home their first section championship in 14 years begins at 8 p.m. today at UC Davis.

To contact Sports Writer Walter Ford call (530) 477-4232 or email him at wford@theunion.com


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