Sixty-six matches later, it’s happened again.
Nevada Union’s varsity girls volleyball team lost its first league match since 2001 Thursday, falling 3-2 (26-24, 26-28, 22-25, 10-25, 15-12) to Rocklin at Ali Gymnasium.
The Miners lost five years ago to St. Francis when they played in the Capital Athletic League, but won the final eight CAL matches that season. In 2002, they switched to the Metro Conference, in which they went four seasons without a loss. To start its first year in the Sierra Foothill League, NU had rattled off 10-straight wins entering Thursday’s match.
And while Rocklin coach Dave Muscarella said the win was his team’s demonstration of its ability, the Miners felt nothing of the sort.
“I thought it was us,” Nevada Union co-head coach Bob Rogers said. “I didn’t count the errors, but we hit a lot out.
“That was our worst effort in a while.”
The first, second, third and fifth games couldn’t have been much closer, as neither team built more than a five-point lead. In game four, however, the Miners (22-5 overall, 10-1 SFL) took control when junior middle hitter Caroline Reeves drilled a kill through the Thunder defense to give her team a 4-3 advantage. From there, NU went on a 21-7 run to end the game.
“In the fourth game, that’s how we play,” Nevada Union junior outside hitter Christian Woodruff said. Like Rogers, Woodruff spoke of the errors as the difference.
The Miners totaled 20 hitting errors – a total NU co-head coach Larry Peterson said was three times more than normal.
Reeves and classmate Sarah McAtee each collected 15 kills, while Kylie Miraldi led the Miners with 19.
“They did play really well,” Reeves said of Rocklin. “Their defense was awesome. We didn’t play consistently enough.
“We’re probably just going to practice harder now. It’s probably good for us, because we are beatable.”
Woodruff and sophomore libero Alexis Moser found the most success fighting off the well-placed shots from Rocklin. Woodruff had 19 digs, followed by Moser’s 18.
With 11 kills, Rocklin junior middle hitter Kelsey Elston led the Thunder offense, which was able to find holes in NU’s defense the entire night. Elston’s final kill, a powerful one into the middle of court, ended the match and sent the Rocklin fans into pandemonium.
“If we play like that,” Muscarella said, “I think we can do very well in the playoffs.
“It feels darn good to win.”
When the Thunder hosted the Miners on Oct. 3, NU won 3-0.
“The first time we played them, we played so poorly,” Muscarella said. “It was frustrating.
“So we might have had them off guard.”
Rocklin is the No. 4 seed in Division II of the Sac-Joaquin Section, while NU is ranked No. 1 in Div. I.
A win Thursday, on Senior Night, would have sealed the SFL championship for Nevada Union. Instead, the Miners will have to win on the road at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Roseville (6-17, 0-10 SFL) to clinch the league title.
“We basically have the No. 1 seed and league championship,” Rogers said. “I don’t think we’ll be able to lose again.”
The pregame ceremony was brief, as Kara Erdmann is the only senior on the team. The outside hitter started the match and was the first Miner with a kill.
JV: Rocklin 2, Nevada Union 0
Katie Reis lead the Miners in their 25-23, 26-24 home loss.
Reis had five kills, while Abbie Miraldi had four.
Makela McTighe led NU with eight service points, and Tess Ely and Hannah Baker played well defensively.
Frosh: Nevada Union 2, Rocklin 1
Anna Daggett’s eight kills led NU in its 25-12, 21-25, 15-11 win.
Nicole Hamilton added seven kills, Bernadatte Boron posted four kills, an ace and a dig, and Tyra Jackson had three kills and three aces.
Michelle Durkin totaled four aces, in addition to coming up with the victory-sealing block.
Kendal Butterfield contributed 22 assists, and Molly Casey led in digs with six.
To contact Sports Writer Jeff Miller, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 477-4247.
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The Nevada Union Junior Miners Football and Cheer teams traveled to Roseville to take on the Oakmont Junior Vikings in Sacramento Youth Football League action last Saturday.