PREP VOLLEYBALL: Postseason paths revealed for Nevada Union, Bear River and Forest Lake Christian
With 31 wins and a third place finish in the Sierra Foothill League, the Nevada Union girls volleyball team put together its best season in years.
Those efforts were rewarded Friday when the Sac-Joaquin Section playoff brackets were released. The Lady Miners (31-12, 8-4 SFL) grabbed the No. 2 seed in the Division II bracket and will face No. 15 Vista del Lago (7-12, 4-6 Capital Athletic League) at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Albert Ali Gymnasium.
Nevada Union head coach Chrys Dudek said he knew he had a special team early on.
“We lost quite a few seniors last year, and we miss them, but the juniors that were coming up were hungry,” he said. “They were fired up and ready to play some volleyball. They were ready to learn and ready to win.”
Leading the Lady Miners this season has been hitters Regan Heppe, Faith Menary and Danica Minard. Middle blockers Greta Kramer and Meadow Aragon are a force at the net. Setter Rebekah McGill does a masterful job of doling out precision passes to her hitters. And, defensively NU gets strong play from libero Eliza Hales.
“They set their goal at winning a section championship,” said Dudek. “I think they are well on their way.”
Dudek added that one of his team’s best attributes is they don’t lose composure in tough situations.
“They are a team from the beginning of the season that would get down on points but wouldn’t get down on each other. They found ways to battle their way back,” he said. “They have a way of sticking to it and working together to make things happen one point at a time.”
For Nevada Union, this is their third straight trip into the postseason.
LADY BRUINS GRAB NO. 6 SEED
Bear River finished with three straight wins to finish the season 16-16 overall and 6-4 in Pioneer Valley League play. Their effort earned them a home playoff game as the No. 6 seed in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV playoffs.
The Lady Bruins will open the postseason at 7 p.m. Tuesday facing the No. 11 Escalon at Jack R. McCrory Gymnasium.
“We feel good,” said Bear River head coach Matt MacDonald. “We feel like we are continuing to improve offensively and we’re playing well. We’re healthy and hitting our stride and gearing up for a good run.”
Bear River’s strength is their defense and their serving, MacDonald said, adding that the offense is coming around just in time for the playoffs.
“I think more than most years we’ve done it with our serving and defense,” he said. “We had to develop a little bit different identity.
Leading the Lady Bruins hitters are Callie Bickmore, Karinne McDonald, Kylee-Dresbach-Hill and Mallory Rath. Setter Caitlin McLaughlin does a good job of distributing the ball, and libero Kayla Toft leads the team defensively.
For the Lady Bruins, this is their eighth-straight trip into the postseason.
LADY FALCONS LAND NO. 8 SEED
Forest Lake Christian finished third in the Central Valley California League and will host a first round playoff game as the No. 8 seed in the Sac-Joaquin Section D-VI bracket.
The Lady Falcons will take on No. 9 seed Stockton Christian at 7 p.m., Tuesday.
For FLC, this is its third-straight postseason berth under head coach Kyler Malarae, who took over the program in 2015.
For a complete look at the Sac- Joaquin Section playoff brackets visit http://www.cifsjs.org.
To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, call 530-477-4232 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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