PREP VOLLEYBALL: Nevada Union falls to Central Catholic in D3 title bout (VIDEO/PHOTO GALLERY)
NU Stat Leaders
Faith Menary – 26 kills, 7 digs, 4 aces, 3 blocks
Kailee McLaughlin – 8 kills, 6 blocks
Kendall Hughes – 38 assists, 3 kills
Emerson Dunbar – 3 aces, 4 digs, 2 kills
Kayda Kinch – 4 kills, 2 blocks
SACRAMENTO — The Lady Miners’ quest for a Sac-Joaquin Section championship came up a win short.
In front of a boisterous crowd at Natomas High School, the No. 1 seeded Nevada Union girls volleyball team battled valiantly, but in the end fell to the No. 2 Central Catholic Raiders in four sets, 25-23, 30-28. 16-25, 25-20, in the Division 3 title game Saturday.
“The effort was there. They were working so hard throughout … It could have gone either way,” said Nevada Union head coach Chrys Dudek. “The ladies were just working so hard. We were trying to capitalize on what we know about them and still continue to play our game and they did an outstanding job.”
The first two sets were incredibly tight as neither team could create separation.
The Lady Miners (41-11) led the first set 21-19, but Central Catholic charged back to grab a 23-22 lead. NU’s Faith Menary tied with at 23 with a kill, but the Raiders got a kill and an ace from Tessa Gallo to snag the set.
In the second set, the Lady Miners fell behind early and trailed by seven, 22-15, but went on an impressive run thanks to kills by Menary and Kailee McLaughlin, and several aces from Emerson Dunbar to tie the set at 24-24. The two top teams in D3 continued to go back-and-forth and NU even took a 27-26 lead after a Kiana Spillner ace, but a couple hitting errors put the Lady Miners behind and Central Catholic closed out the set with a kill by Abby Castillon.
Refusing to go quietly, the Lady Miners dominated the third set, winning 25-16 behind strong play from hitters Menary, McLaughlin and Kayda Kinch, all of whom were set nicely by Kendall Hughes.
The Lady Miners fell behind, 5-1, in the fourth set, but roared back to grab a 15-13 lead. The Raiders were too much down the stretch, though, and went on a 12-5 run to win the set and the championship.
Leading NU’s attack all match was Menary. The senior outside hitter, and Louisiana Tech commit, tallied a team-high 27 kills to go with seven digs, four aces and three blocks. McLaughlin followed with eight kills and a team-high six blocks. Hughes, NU’s senior setter, finished with 38 assists to go with three kills.
The Section title game loss for NU is their second in three years. The Lady Miners lost to Ponderosa in the D2 championship in 2017. The last time an NU girls volleyball team won a Section title was in 2008, which wrapped up a streak of seven straight in D1.
As it often does, when one journey ends another begins. The Lady Miners will now turn their attention to the CIF NorCal Tournament where they are the No. 10 seed in the D1 bracket and will be on the road Oak Ridge at 6 p.m. Tuesday.
“We know what our strengths are, we know what our weaknesses are and we’re going to continue to keep working and moving forward,” said Dudek. “We have a squad that is motivated.”
FLC loses D6 title match
The Lady Falcons from Forest Lake Christian were in the Sac-Joaquin Section’s D6 title game for a second straight season, and for the second year in a row they fell to the Knights from Stone Ridge Christian.
The No. 1 seeded Knights took the match in straight sets, 25-23, 25-17, 25-19.
Leading FLC was Bella O’Neill with 11 kills and 13 digs. Katie Lowery added four kills and three blocks.
Next up for the Lady Falcons (19-11) is the CIF NorCal tourney where they are the No. 6 seed in the D6 bracket and will travel to face No. 3 San Francisco Waldorf at 6 p.m. Wednesday.
To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, email email@example.com or call 530-477-4232.
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