Miners play it large | TheUnion.com

Miners play it large

Dan BurkhartNevada Union's Nicki Serr places a shot out of reach of any Bear River defenders in Thursday's matchup between the two teams at Nevada Union High School.
ALL | GrassValleyArchive

Nevada Union sophomore Amanda Benson stands 5-foot-3, according to the school’s volleyball roster. Her position is listed as setter.

So when the second-smallest girl on the NU varsity skywalks to make a kill and a block during the final plays of the Miners’ match with Bear River, it definitely means the windsock of momentum is clearly on the Miners side.

Which it was for most of Thursday’s match.

NU, behind a combination of a strong service game and stingy front line, defeated Bear River at Nevada Union High School, 15-4, 15-4, 15-1.

Bear River’s junior varsity defeated NU earlier in the night, 15-12, 15-10, 15-10. NU’s freshmen defeated Bear River in the first match-up of the day, 15-9, 15-7.

“We dominated the net play, and with that, had control,” said NU varsity coach Bob Rogers, whose team improved its preseason record to 2-0.

Sophomore Ali Daley led the charge for the Miners, with 14 kills and three service aces. Junior Jenny Goodwin added seven kills and had four blocks for points. Bear River was led by Kate Wellman, who had four kills and three blocks, and Bri Harris, who added five kills and a block.

Rogers said Goodwin played near perfect position for the Miners Thursday night, always finding a way to be in on the plays.

“Our defense was key,” said Goodwin, who had three blocks during NU’s first five points of the match. “We communicated better tonight and were hustling for every ball.”

NU raced to a 13-1 lead in the first game on the strength of thunderous kills by Daley and a pair of kills by Goodwin set up when the Bruins return of service inadvertently made for perfect front-row sets for the Miners.

Bear River fought back with a touch shot by Wellman for a sideout, followed by a middle kill by teammate Candice Wermes for point. A double hit by NU closed the gap to 13-4.

But NU then earned a sideout via a kill, Jessica Howell’s subsequent serve went without return, and Elena Schmidt closed out the game with a block from the middle.

Bear River grabbed a 2-1 lead early in the second game, but NU clicked off 13 of the next 14 points on service games by Schmidt, Nicki Serr, Shannon Brown, Howell, and Kate Stein.

NU scored the first nine points of the third game, in which everything went the Miners way. When back-row specialist Leeann Tovar was subbed into the front row by mistake, the Miners still managed to earn a sideout. When Howell, normally subbed in to serve, came up along the outside to field a ball, the 5-foot-5 senior ended up delivering a kill.

And a few points later, when Benson found herself on the other side of the court as a misplaced outside hitter, she found a way to play taller than any old measuring stick.

It was that kind of night for the Miners.

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