Three headed for volleyball sectionals
All three western Nevada County volleyball teams are playoff bound and two of the squads will enter tournament play as the No. 1 seed in their respective division, according to division brackets released Thursday by the Sac-Joaquin Section.
Four-time defending Division I champion Nevada Union will look to continue its streak of 16-straight section victories when the top-seeded Miners (23-5) host No. 16 Merced (13-13) at 7 p.m. Tuesday inside Ali Gymnasium.
At the same time that match is served into play, No. 1 seed Forest Lake Christian (15-7) will host No. 16 Elliot Christian of Lodi in Division V, while 14th-seeded Bear River (12-9) will be in Division IV action at No. 3 Summerville (33-1) in Tuolumne.
At the halfway point of the season, Bear River also was the 14th rated team in Division IV. And despite winning four of its final five matches, the Bruins were not lifted higher in the seeding.
“I was hoping that we would move up,” said first-year Bruin coach Bessie Gordon. “I was disappointed we didn’t.”
In remaining the 14th seed, the Bruins drew a Summerville squad that presents a challenge both in the size of its athletes and the drive to its campus. Gordon said she watched the Mother Lode League champion Bears compete in the West Campus tournament last weekend. Summerville drew its lone loss of the season, a 2-0 defeat to Immanuel (25-5) of Reedley.
“They’re just huge,” Gordon said. “I watched them for about a half hour to 45 minutes. They’re good. We’re going to hope that (Tuesday) is a bad day for them.”
The 120-mile trip south to Tuolumne will be a familiar one for Bear River fans. The Bruins also traveled there to face Summerville in the first round of the 2005 Division IV tournament. Bear River entered the tournament as the 16th seed and fell 3-1 to the hosts, who advanced to the semifinal round before falling to section champion Christian Brothers.
If the Bruins are able to pull off the upset, they’ll meet the winner of the match between sixth-seeded Escalon (20-5) of the Trans Valley League and No. 11 Orestimba (20-8) of the Western Athletic Conference.
Back in Grass Valley, Sierra Foothill League champion Nevada Union will host a Merced team that finished fourth in the Central California Conference.
As the No. 1 seed, Nevada Union could host as many as three matches in the section tournament. First-round play through the semifinals will be played at home sites, while the championship matches will hit the court at UC Davis on Nov. 14.
A win over Merced would pit the Miners against the winner of the match between No. 9 Tokay (16-9) and No. 8 Napa (14-11).
Lodi (19-6) holds the No. 2 seed in D-I.
Down in the south county, Central Valley Christian League champion Forest Lake Christian will host Elliot Christian of the Harvest Central League. A win Tuesday would return the Falcons to their home court on Thursday for a match between either No. 8 Victory Christian or No. 9 Bradshaw Christian.
The CVCL clearly was considered the top league in D-V play, as the league’s runner-up Woodland Christian earned the No. 2 seed.
Directions to Summerville High School in Tuolumne – Take Highway 99 south of Sacramento to Highway 120 east exit. Follow Highway 120 east through Escalon and Oakdale. At the Highway 49/108 junction in Sonora, continue east on Highway 108. At Tuolumne Road, turn right and follow it into Tuolumne. The school is located at 17555 Tuolumne Road, Tuolumne, CA.
To contact Sports Editor Brian Hamilton, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 477-4240.
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