Lady Miners land berth in D-I semifinals
The Nevada Union girls volleyball playoff express kept right on chuggin’ in the second round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I tournament Wednesday.
The Lady Miners landed a 15-9, 15-3, 15-10 home-court win over No.6 Bear Creek (Stockton).
Third-seeded NU, which makes its fifth trip to the D-1 semis in the last six years, will play the winner of the No.2 Davis/No. 6 Lincoln (Stockton) matchup at the University of California, Davis 5 p.m. Friday.
“I think we were all a little jittery, a little nervous in the first game because we had no idea what to expect from them. But we played as a team and pulled it out in the first game,” said sophomore outside hitter Ali Daley, who tallied a team-high 16 kills.
Bear Creek used a mix of tough defense and unforced errors by the Lady Miners to put the hosts on the defensive early.
NU, which trailed 4-0 to start game one, cashed in an Amanda Benson ace, a pair of Nicole Maves stuff blocks, an Erin Zajac kill and a gaggle of Bear Creek miscues to crawl back into the game at 8-8.
Zajac gave the Lady Miners their first lead of the match with an off-speed kill on the left side before the visitors tied it back up on an NU hitting error.
Zajac, a junior outside hitter, forced a sideout with a block, then served six straight points to close out game one.
“She’s been having some minor shoulder problems lately, but I didn’t notice any tonight,” NU head coach Bob Rogers said.
Zajac finished with 11 kills, nine digs, two aces and an assist.
Game two started with a furious rally, but Daley sparked a 10-0 run with a monster kill from the left side.
“We had a great effort to start that game out. When you play well and get a point from it, things roll for you,” Rogers added.
Bear Creek scored three points late in game two, then took an early lead in game three, but the writing was on the wall.
“They were right up there with us. I think at any time, if we would have fallen apart, they could taken the lead. But I think we had a little more strength as a team,” Daley added.
NU’s Meredith Ely totaled 38 assists. Leann Tovar had a team-high 12 digs.
Elena Schmidt finished with six kills and an assist. Maves had five kills, four blocks and four digs in the win.
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EL DORADO — Nevada Union’s up and down season continued Friday night as the Miners struggled mightily in a 41-7 loss to the Union Mine Diamondbacks.