PREP VOLLEYBALL: Forest Lake Christian hits road for playoff match with Woodland Christian |

PREP VOLLEYBALL: Forest Lake Christian hits road for playoff match with Woodland Christian

Woodland Christian has been a thorn in the side of the Forest Lake Christian girls volleyball team for a while.

The only thing that kept the Lady Falcons from winning the Central Valley California League title was a pair of losses to Woodland Christian, who have taken four straight over FLC. And now, as the Lady Falcons make their way through the Sac-Joaquin Section D-VI playoff bracket, Woodland Christian again stands in their way.

The No. 5 seed Lady Falcons (12-8) must go through No. 1 seed Woodland Christian (25-5) today to earn a spot in the D-VI championship.

Despite a pair of losses against their CVCL rival this season, FLC’s first year head coach Kyler Malarae said his team is confident they can get the win.

“We believe we can beat (Woodland Christian). All the girls are on that level.”Kyler MalaraeFLC head coach

“We believe we can beat (Woodland Christian),” Malarae said. “All the girls are on that level.”

Malarae said FLC’s road playoff victory over No. 4 Valley Christian in the first round was his team’s most consistent effort of the year and hopes that it carries over into tonight’s match.

“Even when we were down in that game, we were confident we could win,” he said. “Our confidence is peaking at the right time.”

The Lady Falcons are led by their three All-CVCL selections in senior libero Lizzy Jordan, senior middle Madelyn Switzer and junior setter Emily O’Neill.

“Emily is the warrior of our team,” Malarae said. “To see her passion every game has been awesome.”

Malarae, who played libero for Nevada Union, said Jordan has shown great ability and heart this season.

“She is the true heart of this team,” he said. “She is a vocal leader, and has a desire to not let the ball hit the floor.”

As for Switzer, Malarae said she is one of the team’s best all-around players.

“Maddie is our go to target at the net,” he said. “She’s also a huge part of our defense with her ability to block.”

Lady Falcons players Aileen Makovey, Courtney John, Sara Ritchart and Alysse Moore are also key contributors.

Malarae said the key to victory will be playing great defense.

“It will come down to defense,” he said. “I have confidence in our hitters. We got powerful hitters at the net. Our defense will have to be scrappy and give our offense extra chances.”

The Lady Falcons are no stranger to the postseason, having made the playoffs every year for more than a decade, but this is their first such venture under Malarae.

“At the beginning of the year I didn’t want to set any expectations because I really didn’t know what to expect,” Malarae said. “Now the goal is to win a section championship.”

Forest Lake Christian and Woodland Christian face off at 7 p.m. today at Woodland Christian High School.

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

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