Holding court | TheUnion.com

Holding court

Chrys Dudek’s Nevada Union Miners girls volleyball team dropped its first game of the season Tuesday, but regrouped for a 3-1 win over host Colfax.

The only thing the Miners dropped on Thursday was the first point.

NU, surviving its own errors and capitalizing on Yuba City’s own faults, beat the Honkers 3-0 in the team’s first home match in the annual Foundation Game, 25-14, 25-19, 25-22. It’s the one game of the year that doesn’t count toward the team’s record.

“It’s nice to get a win at home to start things off,” Dudek said. “I think we idled there for a little bit. But we came through.”

Dudek is referring to lackluster second and third games from the Miners in which the team battled neck-and-neck with Yuba City for control.

While never relenting the lead in the second game, the Miners found themselves all tied up at 17 and 22 in the third game.

But even before then, the Miners had fallen behind 13-12 on series of serving and attack errors. Dudek decided to call a timeout and speak to his team.

He told them, “We are here to have fun, and we have nothing to lose. Let’s take a deep breath and take it to ’em.”

It was was enough to get Abbie Miraldi inspired.

The junior contributed three more kills to her team-high 12 to help the Miners surge ahead. But the team was also helped by another four errors by Yuba City to put them over the top for good.

“There was some weird things that went on in that match and I just think we need to learn how to close it a little faster,” Miraldi said. “Well we’re still learning how to play together and we’re still building our chemistry. But we definitely need to step it up because when we play better teams they aren’t going to give us second chances.”

Her teammates provided an all-around effort on offense and defense. Taylor Japhet had 10 kills and eight digs. Mallory Castles added nine kills, while Kendal Butterfield had 35 assists and six digs. Alexis Moser led the team with 13 digs at libero.

Miraldi and Hannah Baker each added five digs.

“It’s coming along,” Dudek said. “We’re still trying to find our rhythm. Not only as a team, but between coaches and players and while trying to find our intensity level.

“I think that after this weekend (High Sierra Tournament in Reno) we’ll have a better shot at that.”

Notes: Thursday night’s match had an air of familiarity to it.

In the stands were former coaches Bob Rogers and Larry Peterson, as well as Cal Poly San Luis-Obispo bound Carolyn Reeves, the team’s setter last year. Peterson was providing commentary for TouchDown Productions.

On the court, there was another Miraldi (the little sister of San Jose State recruit Kylie Miraldi) spiking kills and Alexis Moser was digging the Miners out of trouble ” again.

And the team added another Butterfield to the mix as well, with Tessa Butterfield joining the team.

To contact Sports Writer Zuri Berry, e-mail zberry@theunion.com or call 477-4244.

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