South county sweep: Bear River tops neighborhood rival Forest Lake Christian in three
Heading into Tuesday night’s south county volleyball showdown with neighborhood rival Bear River, Forest Lake Christian coach Travis Smith had set a goal of scoring 15 points in each of the 25-point games.
But in the opener, his Falcons did much better than that, taking a 20-18 lead against the hard-hitting Lady Bruins.
Once Bear River got things rolling, however, the Falcons had trouble keeping pace as the Lady Bruins left FLC with a three-game sweep (25-20, 25-19, 25-17) in a non-league matchup.
Bear River, fresh off its runner-up finish in the 16-team Dixon Invitational over the weekend, rallied late to take game one after sophomore team captain Sara Schell served up seven straight points for the win.
“I’ve got one returning starter from last year,” said FLC’s Smith. “And that’s where it shows, closing out games. We’re a really young team.
“But that’s why we play bigger schools like Bear River, Placer and Lincoln – to get mentally tough.”
On this night, however, the young Falcons weren’t the only ones learning a lesson.
“The bottom line is we came out flat,” said Bear River coach Matt McDonald, whose Bruins moved to 12-3 overall. “Forest Lake is a tough defensive team that brings a lot of intensity. And if you come out flat against a team like that, you’re going to have that.
“It’s a good lesson for us to learn. But Forest Lake is a good team, especially blocking and defensively.”
FLC (1-6) was led at the net by Laura Ritchart, who totaled four blocks to go along with three kills and five digs. Amanda Timmerman also had a block, along with four kills, while Stephanie Herron had three kills and Brittany Brown totaled six digs. Senior setter Molly Huusfeldt finished with six digs and served up seven aces.
On the opposite side of the net, Schell found the floor on 14 kills attempts, while senior Katie Tomkiewicz added six kills to the Bear River hitting attack.
Another Bruin senior, Laura Daniels, saw her first action of the season after fighting through injuries that plagued her for the past year. Daniels, a defensive specialist, was cleared to play by doctors on Tuesday after struggling with a broken foot and knee injury.
Her debut didn’t disappoint. In game three, she served up 10-straight points, including three aces, to put Bear River in command at 11-1 by the time she left the service line.
“It’s so hard to sit on the bench and just watch the games being played,” Daniels said after the win. “It was awesome. I’ve never had that many serves in a row before.”
She’ll get another chance on Thursday, when Bear River travels to Woodcreek for another nonleague matchup.
Forest Lake, which dropped its sixth straight match since it’s season-opening 3-0 win over Sacramento Country Day, opens Central Valley Christian League action on Thursday as the Falcons host Foresthill.
Smith said squaring off with larger schools, though not good for the win-loss column, should pay off once FLC takes the court in league action.
“We’ll be good to go for league,” Smith said. “In game one, our serve-receive was outstanding and our block is there. Now it’s just a matter of fine-tuning and making the right decisions on where to direct it.”
Contact Sports Editor Brian Hamilton via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 477-4240.
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