Miners down Napa, set to face Yuba City
Collecting the program’s 18th-straight Sac-Joaquin Section victory and earning a fifth-straight berth into the Division I volleyball semifinals, Nevada Union swept visiting Napa out of the playoffs with a 3-0 win Thursday night.
The No. 1-seed, and four-time defending D-I champion, Miners downed Napa 25-19, 25-12, 25-18.
“They just won the basic serving and passing battle,” said Napa coach Scott Kostecka. ” Their serving kept us from passing well and they were passing very well.”
The Miners (29-6) were so dominant in their serve-receive game that Napa rarely had the opportunity to serve more than once before NU took the ball back on a sideout. Of the nine service opportunities Napa had in game two, the Indians (15-12) got just one serve off on seven of those occasions. Things didn’t get much better in game three, as Napa had five single-serve possessions out of seven tries.
“I don’t know what that does to them, but it sure helps us a lot,” said NU co-head coach Bob Rogers. “Our serve-receive looked good. And when you get good passes off serve-receive you get good setting. There were a lot of 1-2-3 plays for us.”
Many of the third part of those plays came off the right arms of juniors Sarah McAtee and Kylie Miraldi, who each finished with 10 kills. McAtee also offered nine digs without an error and a stuff block. Miraldi had six digs without an error and also had a stuff block.
“I thought Alexis Moser really, really did the job for us on serve-receive,” said Larry Peterson, NU co-head coach. “Out of 10, she had seven perfect passes and the other three were good, too. She also had six digs for us.
“When we made the defensive plays, we could get into our offense tonight. I think that was the difference over Tuesday night (in a 3-0 win over Modesto).”
Jen Sager led the way for NU defensively, totaling a team-high 12 digs, while adding nine assists and three kills. Christian Woodruff had six kills, five digs and two aces. Caroline Reeves, who handled most of the setting duties, totaled 23 assists and two service aces.
With Napa and Nevada Union each having just one senior on their respective rosters, the Indians and Miners might just meet up again in the section tournament next year.
“Let’s hope so,” said Kostecka. “(Nevada Union is) a quality team and we always enjoy playing quality opponents.
“If all those kids are back next year, they’re going to be really strong.”
Nevada Union will host long-time rival Yuba City in the D-I semifinal at 7 p.m. Tuesday. The No. 4-seed Honkers (34-7) defeated fifth-seeded Beyer in four games (23-35, 27-25, 25-16, 25-15) Thursday.
There is a substantial amount of recent history between Nevada Union and Yuba City. As former Metro Conference foes for four years prior to league realignment this fall, the Miners downed the Honkers in eight-straight Metro matches.
Nevada Union also swept the Honkers 3-0 in the 2005 Division I section championship match. And in 2004, NU defeated Yuba City 3-0 in the second round of the section tournament.
But this year the Honkers ran through the Tri County League with a clean 15-0 record and beat the Miners 3-2 in the foundation game on Aug. 31, something NU has not forgotten.
“We played them our very first game, in the foundation game, and we lost to them,” said Reeves, a junior who said she is pleased the Miners have kept their string of consecutive section tournament victories alive. “We want to play them again. We want it a lot.”
To contact Sports Editor Brian Hamilton, e-mail email@example.com or call 477-4240.
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The Nevada Union Junior Miners Football and Cheer teams traveled on Saturday to Casa Roble High School in Orangevale to play the Casa Roble Junior Rams in Sacramento Youth Football League action.