NU makes comeback |

NU makes comeback

Dan BurkhartMeredith Ely gets under a hard hit from a Vacaville player Tuesday.
ALL | GrassValleyArchive

With two talented volleyball teams on the court, it was a safe bet to assume it would go the full five games.

With Nevada Union up two games on Vacaville but trailing in the fourth 13-4, five games seemed a certainty.

Certainty? Certainly not.

Nevada Union, behind a scrappy back row and the strong hitting of Ali Daley and Erin Zajac, rallied in due time to post a 15-6, 10-15, 15-11, 16-14 victory in a foundation game, held Tuesday night at Nevada Union High School.

Foundation games are prelude charity events, with half of the gate going to the Sac-Joaquin section to put toward scholarships within the section. The outcome of the foundation games do not count toward a team’s power rating.

“It was a slow comeback by us,” NU coach Bob Rogers said. “We had to work and it took a lot of patience, but we showed that no lead is safe.”

Vacaville, which finished second in the Division II section last year, built its 13-4 lead in the fourth game with a good mix of finesse and power, most notably the outside hitting of seniors Jenna Fussell and Danielle Hitzeman.

NU stemmed the tide with a kill by Nicki Serr on Zajac’s serve for a point and fought through four sideouts before picking up three more points on Serr’s service to cut the lead to 13-8.

The Miners picked up a point due to a Vacaville miscommunication on a set, then exploded for five straight points on Meredith Ely’s serve to take the lead from the Bulldogs, 14-13.

Vacaville earned a sideout on a touch shot, and knotted the fourth game at 14 on a block by Hitzeman. Three sideouts later, NU’s Elena Schmidt served out the match on a point finished with a thundering kill by Daley.

Daley finished the match with a team-high 18 kills and 20 digs. Zajac added 11 kills, while Schmidt added seven.

“(Vacaville) came into this game realizing they were going to have a match, just like we did,” Schmidt said. “And they were hitting hard, through and through. I think it really shows a lot that we can come back like this, because we are still improving.”

Leann Tovar had 10 digs for the Miners Tuesday night. Teammate Jenny Goodwin had three blocks for points, while Serr added six aces and Jessica Howell, four more.

“Tonight showed the weaknesses we’ll need to work on,” Howell said. “Against a team like that, which hits great and serves great, we saw that we’ll need to work on our communication. But I thought tonight was a really great start, especially for the preseason.”

NU broke open a six-all tie in the first game, putting together seven straight points on Serr’s serve, with many of the points coming on missed hits by Vacaville. A Vacaville kill into the net closed out the first game for the Miners.

Vacaville won the second game late off two key putaways by Hitzeman, but NU rallied with a strong third game, punctuated by a handful of service aces and closed out with two middle kills by Schmidt.

“I thought Nevada Union played excellent,” said Vacaville coach Judy Wettstein. “They played good defense, challenged us with the serve, and put us on our heels right away.”

NU will host Granite Bay today in a scrimmage, then host non-league rival Bear River Thursday night.

“Last year, it was a big thing because it was Bear River,” said Schmidt. “The rivalry puts a lot of pressure on the game. With most of this game being mental, we’ll need to put the rivalry aside and just play them.”

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Grass Valley and Nevada County make The Union’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.


Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User