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Prep volleyball: ‘Peaking at the right time’

Bear River goes undefeated in PVL play, grabs first league title since 2015

Bear River’s girls volleyball claimed the Pioneer Valley League championship Wednesday after topping Lindhurst at home. The Bruins went 10-0 in league play to claim their first PVL banner since 2015.
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Like most teams, Bear River girls volleyball faced its fair share of adversity this season. But, with a keen ability to adapt, strong team cohesion and unrelenting perseverance, the Bruins rose above the obstacles and claimed the 2021 Pioneer Valley League championship.

“It’s been a relatively trying year, especially early on with the COVID challenges we had, playing with masks and some of those things, but they are pretty resilient and it’s been cool to see their growth, and their commitment,” said Bear River head coach Matt MacDonald.

The Bruins wrapped the regular season on Wednesday with a straight set win over Lindhurst, improving the team to 26-9 overall and 10-0 in PVL play. The league title is the first for the Bruins since 2015.



“We’re certainly peaking at the right time,” said MacDonald. “We’ve made some huge strides offensively. Our two setters have been just doing a phenomenal job for us. We’ve been able to set our middles a lot, which is something we haven’t been able to do in years.”

Bear River is led by senior captain Liah Fuller. The talented middle leads the team in kills (307), blocks (69) and aces (73).



“She’s a huge part of what we do,” said MacDonald. “She’s our senior captain. We only have one captain, and the team voted her.”

Bear River also boasts an impressive offensive weapon in junior outside hitter Kaylee Vieira, who is second on the team in kills (270).

“Those two, offensively, have been our leaders,” said MacDonald. “They play different positions so we can utilize them both with the different skill sets they have.”

Setting the Bruin hitters this season has been the duo of Aly Vieira and Amelie Lo Jacono. Aly Vieira, a freshman, leads the team in assists (509), and Lo Jacono, a junior, is second (230).

Anchoring the defense has been senior libero Molly Fowler, who is tops on the team in digs (106). Fowler is also a force at the service line, notching 67 aces on the season.

“She’s been phenomenal for us,” said MacDonald.

The Bruins also boast several skilled role players, including senior Arden Franks, senior Jordan Foster, senior Lauren Richert and junior Sarah DeSart.

“What’s cool about this group is that during different times of the season we’ve had different kids step up and play big roles for us,” said MacDonald.

The Bruins will now turn their attention to the Sac-Joaquin Section Division 5 playoffs, which get rolling Tuesday.

Colfax (13-7, 8-2 PVL) finished second in Pioneer Valley League play. Marysville (6-18, 4-6 PVL), Lindhurst (7-11, 4-6 PVL) and Center (9-12, 4-6 PVL) all tied for third, and Foothill (2-14, 0-10 PVL) finished last.

To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, email wford@theunion.com


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