PREP VOLLEYBALL: Lady Miners crush Kimball, advance to D3 semis (PHOTO GALLERY)
NEVADA UNION STAT LEADERS
Faith Menary: 9 kills, 3 blocks
Kailee McLaughlin: 8 kills, 5 blocks
Kayda Kinch: 7 kills
Kendall Hughes: 29 assists, 2 kills, 2 blocks
Kendall Gould: 5 aces
Emerson Dunbar: 4 kills, 5 digs
After having their final home game of the league season and first game of the postseason moved to alternate locations due to the public safety power outages, the Lady Miners were finally back in the friendly confines of Albert Ali Gymnasium on Thursday, and they gave their fans plenty to cheer about.
“It’s great to be at home again,” Nevada Union volleyball head coach Chrys Dudek said after his team’s straight set playoff win over Kimball, 25-19, 25-12, 25-14. “It took a little bit. We had to find our rhythm, but we eventually found it and started to put the ball down, got some big blocks and some great serves. They owned the court and it felt pretty good.”
The Lady Miners charged out to an 8-1 lead in the first set, but Kimball fought back and pulled to within two at 16-14. But, that was as close as they would get as NU got kills from seniors Emerson Dunbar and Faith Menary down the stretch to pull away.
Menary led the team in kills with nine. Junior Kailee McLaughlin followed with eight. Sophomore Kayda Kinch knocked down seven and Dunbar tallied four.
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Setting the NU attack all night was senior Kendall Hughes, who led the team with 29 assists.
Nevada Union fell behind early in the second set, but charged back to take it, 25-12.
The third set was tight early on as well, but NU went on a 12-4 run to finish it off.
Leading NU at the net was McLaughlin with five blocks. Menary was next with three.
NU was also strong at the service line with 11 aces, led by Kendall Gould’s five.
After the contest, the Lady Miners took time to honor their seniors because their original Senior Night game was relocated to an away venue due to the public safety power outages.
“They’re all leaders,” Dudek said of his team’s seniors. “Three of them are captains, and KG (Kendall Gould) is an unofficial captain, she brings spirit and lightheartedness to everything. Everyone of them brings something a little different. Faith (Menary) is obviously the ring leader when it comes to our big kills. Emerson (Dunbar) is the quiet, work as hard-as-I-can and get these cut shots type. And, Kenny (Kendall Hughes) is the one who goes around and checks in with everyone individually. It’s a nice blend to have these seniors leading in different ways with their different personalities.”
Hughes said it is the team’s bond that makes them a force on the court.
“We are all extremely close,” she said. “Emerson Dunbar is my best friend in the entire world. KG, we’ve been a duo since we were younger. We’re all extremely close and it feels like this whole team is a family. We just work so well together. Senior Night playoff win, that’s amazing. And, to be able to continue this season is a great feeling.”
NU’s seniors are Dunbar, Gould, Hughes, Menary and Lydia Moore.
The victory advances the No. 1 seed Lady Miners (40-10) to the Sac-Joaquin Section Division 3 semifinals where they will host the No. 4 seeded Hilmar Yellowjackets Tuesday. The victory also assures NU a spot in t he CIF NorCal Tournament.
To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-477-4232.
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