If there’s any rivalry between Bear River and Nevada Union high schools, it diminishes when the boys volleyball teams meet.
Bruins and Miners players think of it more as a get-together between old friends.
“It’s not that competitive,” NU junior Austin Schumacher said after the Miners won 3-0 (25-13, 25-23, 25-21) Tuesday at Nevada Union. “Of course, when it’s Bear River, we’ve got to step it up.”
Tuesday’s match was the first of two this season between NU and Bear River, both members of the Sierra Foothill League. They’ll play again at 6 p.m. April 19 at Bear River.
While high schools in the same county often develop cross-county rivalries – sometimes unfriendly – Bruins senior Travis Lyon and coach Sandy Vettel believe the common friends between the schools keep things positive.
“It’s definitely a rivalry,” said Lyon, a four-year varsity player. “But it’s fun, because you have a lot of friends on the other team. It’s not like the other sports; in football, there’s more of a competitive nature.”
From the front row, Lyon did all he could to keep the Bruins in the match. After nearly being doubled-up in the first game, Bear River had chances to pull away in the second and third games.
The Miners (2-1 SFL) snuck away with the game-two win after failing to build a significant lead. In game three, the score was tied at 16-16 before NU senior Cody Curtis built the Miners a 21-16 lead with his serving.
Despite the sweep, Lyon and Vettel agreed Tuesday’s outing was the best the Bruins (1-2 SFL) had played this season.
“Overall, it’s good that it was a close game,” Vettel said. “That was probably the best we have played, not that you want to lose in three.”
The Bruins’ lone SFL win was March 6 against Del Oro. They lost March 8 to Granite Bay.
Vettel said that the Bear River girls basketball team, which played its last game Saturday, hindered the progress of her team because of its deep run in the playoffs, which resulted in less availability of the gym for practices.
After a shaky start, the Miners are also beginning to find their touch, according to Schumacher.
“We’ve been evolving,” he said. “It’s been tough.”
NU’s only league defeat came March 8 at Oakmont, where the Miners lost 3-2.
“We pretty much fell apart,” Schumacher said of the loss.
Miners coach Marco Salcedo agreed with Schumacher’s analysis of the progress, especially when it comes to Nevada Union’s serving.
On Tuesday, NU totaled 10 aces in three games. In the loss to Oakmont, the Miners finished with eight aces through five games.
“We’ve been working on it,” Salcedo said, “’cause that’s actually one of our weak points.
“At this level, if you don’t go in there with a tough serve, you’re dealing with big hitters outside.”
Salcedo, one of the original coaches of Nevada Union’s boys volleyball program that started in the early 1990s, said the friendly relationship has existed from the beginning.
“It stems all the way back to when I first started coaching,” Salcedo said. “It’s been a great, fun rivalry for as many years as I can remember. For years, it was just back and forth; they win one, we win one.”
JV: Nevada Union 2, Bear River 0
Nevada Union sent the Bruins home with a 25-6, 25-14 loss.
Justin Carrol tallied five kills and had a good day from the service line according to coach Ben Mills. Kevin Trapani led the way with four digs.
Mills also pointed to Steven Tovar and Pat McTigh, saying they set well during the contest.
“We played well on defense and we played with a lot of energy tonight,” Mills said. “That was really the key was playing with energy.”
Nevada Union upped its record to 3-0.
Frosh: Nevada Union 2, Ponderosa 0
The Miners came out fast and hung on for a 25-14, 26-24 victory to improve its record to 1-1 on the season.
Coach Scott Mills said Casey Brake, Jeff Baldock, Austin Ramey and Peter MacDonald all played well during the win.
To contact Sports Writer Jeff Miller, e-mail email@example.com or call 477-4247.
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