PREP VOLLEYBALL: Bear River irked over No. 3 seed, as Sac-Joaquin Section playoff paths revealed |

PREP VOLLEYBALL: Bear River irked over No. 3 seed, as Sac-Joaquin Section playoff paths revealed

Bear River's Nerissa Long and Alex Staples go for the block during a game against Colfax Wednesday evening.
Laura Mahaffy/ | The Union

High School volleyball is strong in the foothills as four local teams earned berths into the postseason.

The 2015 Sac-Joaquin Section girls volleyball playoff brackets were released Wednesday, announcing that Nevada Union, Bear River, Colfax and Forest Lake Christian will all contend for a section title in their respective divisions when the playoffs get rolling Tuesday.

But, at least one coach isn’t happy about their team’s bracket placement.

The Bear River Lady Bruins won 36 games to just three losses, won the Pioneer Valley League title and is currently riding a 22-match winning streak, but received the No. 3 seed in the Division IV bracket.

“I want an explanation,” said Bear River head coach Matt MacDonald. “I’m at a loss. What else do you have to do? It’s unbelievable.”

MacDonald said he had no problem with Sonora (27-4) getting the No. 1 seed, but felt his squad should have been the No. 2 seed over Hilmar.

MacDonald has a point.

The Lady Bruins have a better record than No. 2 seed Hilmar (33-6) and are currently rated higher than Hilmar in the ratings, which measures win-loss records as well as strength of schedule.

Sac-Joaquin Section director of communications Will DeBoard said putting Hilmar No. 2 and Bear River No. 3 was one of the most debated decisions the selection committee made Wednesday.

“That was easily the longest discussion we had,” DeBoard said. “There are three really high quality teams in D-IV.”

DeBoard said the committee was split on who should be the higher seed, but what “tipped the scales” was Hilmar’s wins over power programs Turlock and Granite Bay.

Sonora, the defending Division IV state champion, got the No. 1 seed after going 27-4 and earning wins over top tier teams in Granite Bay, St. Mary’s, Elk Grove, and Bear River as well as winning the Mother Lode League.

Hilmar has been a thorn in Bear River’s side recently, bouncing the Lady Bruins from the playoffs the past two seasons and both times on the Yellow Jacket’s home court.

Bear River and Hilmar could face each other once again in the postseason if both teams make it to the semifinals, something MacDonald saw as a possibility from the beginning of the season.

“We worked all year for that game to be here (Bear River High School),” MacDonald said. “To have them come here and see what our crowd looks like.”

MacDonald added that the seeding slight will just add “fuel to the fire,” for his team.

The Lady Bruins open the playoffs Tuesday at home against No. 14 seed Dixon (12-9).

Lady Miners dig into D-II bracket

Nevada Union’s girls volleyball team is back in the playoffs after missing out last season, earning the No. 14 seed in the Sac-Joaquin Section’s D-II bracket.

Under the guidance of head coach Chrys Dudek, the Lady Miners worked their way into the playoffs as the fifth team out of the Sierra Foothill League.

The Lady Miners (11-18, 4-8 SFL) will travel to face No. 3 seed Bella Vista Tuesday. The Lady Broncos went 22-7 this season and won a share of the Capital Valley Conference title.

Dudek, who took over the program this year, is no stranger to the postseason, having led the Lady Miners to a Sac-Joaquin Section title in 2008.

Colfax hits road for playoffs

The Lady Falcons earned the No. 9 seed in D-IV bracket and will travel to play No. 8 seed West Campus Tuesday.

Colfax tied for second place in the PVL and was the only team to claim a set from Bear River in league play. The Lady Falcons finished the season with a 14-10 record and went 7-3 in the PVL.

West Campus went 21-11 this season and won the Golden Empire League.

Forest Lake Christian in familiar territory

The Lady Falcons have been a regular in the postseason for more than a decade and this year is no different.

Forest Lake Christian usually works through in the D-V bracket, but this year will battle in the D-VI bracket.

As the No. 5 seed, the Lady Falcons will hit the road in the first round to face No. 4 seed Valley Christian Nov. 12.

FLC will be heading into the playoffs under first year head coach Kyler Malarae, who led the Lady Falcons to a second place finish in the Central Valley California League.

To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, call 530-477-4232 or email

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