PREP VOLLEYBALL: Nevada Union, Bear River power through adversity and win playoff bouts (PHOTO GALLERY)
Sports test athletes in many ways. One of which is being able to overcome outside distractions, focus on the task at hand and get the job done.
The volleyball players from Nevada Union and Bear River passed that test with flying colors as both teams overcame a day-of location change and won playoff contests Tuesday night.
Due to public safety power shutoffs which affected Nevada Union High School and Bear River High School, the Lady Miners and Lady Bruins were forced to “host” their respective postseason contests at Placer’s Earl Crabbe Gymnasium.
Nevada Union, the No. 1 seed in the Sac-Joaquin Section’s Division 3 playoffs, showed no ill effects from the change of locations and cruised to a straight set victory over No. 16 Liberty Ranch, 25-12, 25-9, 25-21.
“They’re pretty flexible,” Nevada Union head coach Chrys Dudek said of his team’s ability to adapt. “It was nice to come (to Placer) because we’re familiar with the court and the coaches here are familiar with our players. It’s a friendly environment … They probably would like to be closer to home and have some more fans show up, but we’re just glad to be here. We’re going to keep working hard and hopefully keep going.”
The Lady Miners (39-10) were balanced in their attack with senior outside hitter Faith Menary, junior middle hitter Kailee McLaughlin and sophomore opposite hitter Kayda Kinch leading the way. Menary had a team-high seven kills, McLaughlin followed with six and Kinch tallied five.
Senior setter Kendall Hughes ran the offense well and finished with 25 assists to go with a pair of kills.
Leading the defensive effort was McLaughlin with three blocks. Kinch added two blocks.
“Tonight we showed how well we can work together,” said Menary, who also had a team-high four aces in the win. “Now that we are in the playoff mentality, even when we were scrimmaging each other earlier, it is a whole new level of play. Now that we’re on a roll, I hope we just keep progressing.”
Bear River, the No. 5 seed in the Section’s D4 playoffs, also persevered at Placer High School and came away with a sweep of No. 12 Venture Academy, 25-18, 25-14, 25-22.
Leading the Lady Bruins (22-12) was Ashley Ray, Sydney Franks and Gracie Terrell. Ray shined with a team-high 10 kills. Franks added eight kills and Terrell notched six.
Doling out assists all night was senior setter and team captain Bella Thornbury, who finished with 32.
With the win, Bear River advances to the second round of the D4 playoffs. The Lady Bruins will face the winner of Wednesday night’s first round matchup between No. 4 Union Mine and No. 13 Summerville.
The Lady Miners will gear up to battle No. 9 Kimball in the D3 second round at 7 p.m. Thursday at Albert Ali Gymnasium. Kimball topped No. 8 Lathrop in the first round.
“There’s a chance we will have power Thursday night,” said Dudek. “I’m hopeful, so we can have our Senior Night and celebrate it at home.”
Nevada Union’s Senior Night was postponed due to a previous power shutdown which forced the Lady Miners to change locations for their final game of the regular season.
To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, email email@example.com or call 530-477-4232.
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It was a wild one at Hooper Stadium Friday night.