Lady Miners fall behind Golden Eagles |

Lady Miners fall behind Golden Eagles

Something very unfamiliar is happening at Nevada Union. This strange phenomena is something not seen at the Grass Valley campus in many, many years.

Following seven straight sections titles and a runner-up last year, the Lady Miners find themselves fighting and scratching for their playoff lives.

Nevada Union fell in four games to Del Oro Thursday night at Ali Gym, 25-22, 20-25, 25-16, 25-18. The loss dropped the Miners (15-12 overall) to 3-4 in the tough Sierra Foothill League. Del Oro (24-4 overall) improved to 4-3 in the SFL.

“I don’t think we’re in it right now,” NU co-head coach Bob Rogers said. “We play Rocklin (6-0 in the SFL) again, but the best we can finish at this point is 6-4. 5-5 just won’t do it.”

And to finish 6-4 would mean the Miners would have to run the rest of the table on a tough league schedule.

Nevada Union fell behind early in the first game before crawling back to within 22-20. Consecutive side-outs the rest of the way earned Del Oro the win.

Things weren’t looking great in game two, either. After trailing just 10-9, Del Oro managed an 8-1 run and took an 18-10 lead.

Undaunted, the Miners stormed back with streaks of seven- and eight-straight points and a total of a 15-2 run.

Senior Tessa Butterfield sparked the run when her turn to serve came up and the Miners trailing by eight. She served up seven straight to pull NU within one.

After the Golden Eagles tacked on two more, Junior Vic Kuhn took the reigns and rattled off eight more service points for the win.

“Their Belle Obert was very good,” Rogers said. “We were down 5-4 in the first game and she had five kills. In the second game, we served well and they couldn’t get her set.”

Del Oro grabbed the momentum right back to start the third game, however, jumping out to a 3-0 lead. NU clawed back to within one, 7-6, but the Golden Eagles pulled away once again.

Later, trailing 16-12, the Golden Eagles rattled off another five straight and cruised to a win.

With their backs against the wall the Miners came out strong in the fourth game, jumping out to a 4-2 lead. It was short lived, however, as Del Oro tied the game at 5, 6 and 7 before slowing pulling head and putting the match away.

“They’re a very good team,” Rogers said, tipping his hat to Del Oro. “I was hoping we’d play our best tonight and have a chance to win.”

Butterfield led Nevada Union with nine kills while Marnie McDowell added eight. Madison Heppe led the Miners with 10 digs and Butterfield had nine.

With every game turning into a must-win, the Miners next face a familiar foe in Roseville. Nevada Union has faced – and beaten – the Tigers (14-7 overall, 1-3 in league) twice already this season.

That doesn’t mean the Miners can overlook this one.

“It’s tough to beat a good team three times in a season,” Rogers said.

JV: Nevada Union drops Del Oro, 25-10, 25-13

Jamie Gustafson helped lead the way by serving for 14 of the Miners’ 25 points in the second game. As a team, NU racked up 11 blocks.

The Miners are now 15-4 on the season, 5-2 in the league.

Frosh: Nevada Union wins 25-12, 25-9.

Coach Chrys Dudek said Katie Johnson led the way in the middle, hitting well and tallying a couple blocks. Dudek added that middle blocker Nicole Faker and defense specialist Dalas Alvano led the way in digs.

Contact copy editor Ross Maak via e-mail at or by phone at 477-4231.

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