Nevada Union tops Bear River in 3-straight games for Sierra Foothill League victory
The high flying Miners volleyball team gave the visiting Bruins a bump, set and spike.
It took Nevada Union a little more than an hour to pull off a 3-0 win at Ali Gymnasium Tuesday night.
NU senior outside hitter Peter MacDonald led the Miners with 15 kills and two blocks.
“They surprised us a little,” MacDonald said of the 25-18 first set. “They had a hard time hitting by our big blocks. They adjusted with a lot of tipping.”
As MacDonald leapt for the ball throughout the match, he rose nearly waist high to the net before hammering home a kill from senior setter Jeff Baldock, who had 43 assists on the night and drove the ball up the middle for game-one clincher.
“I thought Pete had some big kills tonight, I know it’s an automatic point (when a set goes to Pete),” said NU team co-captain senior Austin Stout, adding that MacDonald is the biggest hitter in the area. “Adi (senior Libero, Adison Wolfe) was everywhere. He was doing his job.”
Wolfe, who received 11 Bear River serves without an error, is the team’s defensive specialist, meaning it’s his job to get the ball up to be set for a Miner kill.
“The float serve is the most difficult to return. The serve is hit with the palm of your hand, so it has no rotation. It floats,” said Wolfe. “It’s awesome to watch Jeff set the ball for Pete and John (Sekerak).”
In the second game, the Bruins pulled out to a 7-4 lead when junior Jason Grady, who ended with three kills and two blocks, spiked the ball up the middle, good for the Bruins largest lead of the night.
With both MacDonald and senior out-side-hitter Sekerak, who tallied nine kills with five digs, on the bench, Nevada Union fed senior Austin Ramey (eight kills), for some big hits to knot things up at 8-8.
The score went back and forth until Sekerak returned to action and aced the south county foe to take a lead 12-11. Bear River scored four points the rest of the way, falling 25-15.
“John (Sekerak) had two aces,” Nevada Union coach Marco Salcedo. “He is a good scorer and passer. He is one of the top servers in the Sac-Joaquin Section.”
The night’s final game standouts for the Bruins were junior Brayden Giacomini, who ended with seven kills, and senior Bren Shenk, who had four kills, in the 25-19 game-three loss.
“Brayden is a team leader, who is athletic. He has all the skills. He just needs experience,” said Bear River coach Jonathan Good. “I always look to him to get the team up. He is our floor leader.”
With the win, the Miners move to 8-2 overall and 3-0 in the Sierra Foothill League’s South Division. Bear River fell to 1-10 overall and 1-3 in the SFL-North.
Even though the season has just begun, Salcedo feels his team is in the hunt for a league title as well as another deep run into the playoffs.
“We need to clean up simple errors,” Salcedo said. “It doesn’t show up much, but that is the difference. When we are on, we are definitely one of the top teams.”
MacDonald had the same sentiment.
“We need to prepare better in practice, as well as improve our blocking and on-court communication,” MacDonald said.
The Bruins host Whitney on Thursday, while the Miners travel to Rocklin, where they will have a chance to avenge a March 13 loss to the Thunder.
Scott P. Hopper is a sports writer for The Union. Contact him via e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 477-4231.
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