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Miners give nation’s top-ranked team a scare

The fourth-ranked Nevada Union volleyball team’s dream season came to an end with a 13-15, 15-9, 15-11, 15-2 CIF NorCal State Championship semifinal loss to top-seeded St.Francis in Mountain View Saturday.

The Lady Miners took the first game, and led 9-8 in game two, before the nation’s top-ranked prep squad scored seven-straight points to even the match.

“We just played unbelievably well in that first game. The local fans were astonished,” NU head coach Bob Rogers said. “I thought our whole team just played really well.”



St. Francis (30-1), which is ranked No.1 in the state by Cal-Hi Sports and tops in the nation by studentsports.com, used tough serving from USA Junior National Team member Jessica Gyson to squeak by in game three.

“She had a really tough jump serve. We passed a few, (but not enough),” Rogers said.




Sophomore outside hitter Ali Daley, the 2002 Metro Conference player of the year, led the Lady Miners in digs (17), aces (3), and kills (11).

Junior middle Elena Schmidt totaled 14 digs with seven kills and a pair of aces. Erin Zajac had 10 digs, six kills and two aces.

Nicole Maves, a senior outside hitter, finished with three digs and six kills.

Jenny Goodwin tallied five digs, five kills, an ace and a block.

NU setter Meredith Ely totaled 15 digs with a kill, a block and a team-high 30 assists.

CROSS COUNTRY

The Nevada Union boys cross country team put the state on notice with its 14th-place finish in the CIF Division I State Meet in Fresno Saturday.

The Miners, who hadn’t qualified for the state meet since 1997, finished with 393 points, 111 points behind Sac-Joaquin Section rival Grace M. Davis (Modesto) in 10th place and 310 behind champ, Loyola (Los Angeles).

“I couldn’t be any prouder of the kids. They were kind of disappointed because they didn’t make it into the top 10, but Division I is the toughest race in the state of California. Three of the teams are nationally ranked,” NU head coach Dan King said.

Luke Ridens led the way for the Miners, beating his personal best on the 3.1 mile Hayward Park course by 27 seconds to take 65th with a time of 16 minutes, 26 seconds.

Matt Freitas, also a junior, beat his best time on that course by 17 seconds to finish 85th with a 16:38.

Patrick Lane (113th, 16:49), Brian Dell (132nd, 16:58), Trevor Robertson (139th, 17:10), Michael McClure (141st, 17:11) and Daven Mathis (179th, 18:11) also posted personal bests on that course.

“(Saturday) was all about just getting a feel for what the state championships are all about,” King said. “I can talk about them, but the kids won’t really know what it’s like (until they go through it themselves), so that experience alone was priceless.

“On the nine-hour ride home, we talked about what they thought it would take for us to win the section next year and finish in the top three to five in the state. Over the next 12 months, it’s gong to take a doubling of our commitment and training and I think they’re up for the challenge.”

BASKETBALL

The Nevada Union girls basketball team went 1-1 in its annual Turkey Shootout Tournament Saturday.

NU, on a team-high 17 points from Emma Kite, topped Hogan 59-50 in the first round, before falling 56-50 to Rocklin in the championship.

“This is the youngest team I’ve ever had in 18 seasons so there’s definitely going to be some growing pains this year,” Lady Miner head coach Craig Strohm said.

Kite finished with 29 points over the two games.

Ali Parrott had 22 points in the two-game tourney, while Tracy Malone was right behind with 19 points.

Heather Gore, a freshman center, had a team-high nine rebounds in the win over Hogan.


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