Volleyball: Bear River, FLC learn postseason matchups | TheUnion.com

Volleyball: Bear River, FLC learn postseason matchups

Bear River's Kaely Rath led her team past Nevada Union Wednesday, hammering down agame-high 21 kills in three sets. Rath also helped the Lady Bruins to the I-5 Brawl tourney title last weekend.
Photo by John Hart | The Union


Division IV

No. 7 Bear River vs. No. 10 Union Mine, 7 p.m. Tuesday

Division V

No. 13 Forest Lake Christian at No. 4 Holt Academy, 7 p.m. Tuesday

For the fifth straight season, the Bear River girls volleyball team is in the playoffs and for the fourth straight time they will be hosting a first round matchup.

The Lady Bruins found out Wednesday they will be hosting Union Mine next Tuesday to open the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-IV playoffs.

Bear River (18-10, 8-2 Pioneer Valley League) grabbed the No. 7 seed, assuring at least one home playoff game.

The Lady Bruins took second place in the PVL this year and had expected a better seed, said Bear River head coach Matt MacDonald.

“We were very shocked,” MacDonald said of his team’s seeding. “I thought our body of work would put us in a situation to get into that No. 3 or No. 4 seed.”

Last season Bear River also placed second in the PVL with an 8-2 record, but garnered a No. 3 seed in the 2013 playoff bracket.

“We were hoping for two home games, but you move on,” MacDonald said. “It’s a little frustrating, but we have to move on and prepare for Union Mine.”

The Lady Bruins and No. 10 seed Union Mine (13-11, 8-2 Sierra Valley Conference) already played once this season on Sept. 18. In that game, Bear River won in four sets, getting 21 kills from junior Kaely Rath and 12 kills from sophomore Ashley Albee.

“We’re frustrated with a seven, but they have to be upset about a 10-seed,” said MacDonald. “They were co-champs in their league and they got a road game to start the playoffs.”

The last time the Lady Bruins and Union Mine met up in the postseason was 2011 in the D-IV title game. Union Mine won that match in four sets.

In 2012, Bear River won the section title, beating Ripon Christian in four sets. Last season, the Lady Bruins were bounced in the D-IV semifinals by Hilmar, a team they could possibly face in the second round.

“We’re happy to get a chance to potentially go back to Hilmar,” said MacDonald. “To get an opportunity to play them again is exactly what we wanted, granted we can get past Union Mine.”

Also making the playoffs from the PVL is Placer and Colfax. Placer (14-11, 9-1 PVL), who took the league title this season, grabbed a No. 5 seed in the D-III bracket and will face Vista del Lago in the first round. Colfax (10-10, 7-3 PVL) is the No. 12 seed in the D-IV bracket and will travel to play Amador in the first round.

The Forest Lake Christian girls are also into the postseason, garnering a No. 13 seed in the D-V playoff bracket. The Lady Falcons (16-10) will hit the road to face No. 4 seed Holt Academy.

“I did not expect to be that low,” Forest Lake Christian head coach Travis Smith said. “There are lots of teams with the same record as us, an identical finish in league and they are placed ahead of us. The No. 3 and No. 13 seeds have the same league record. Bradshaw Christian got the No. 3 seed after finishing in second place in the Sierra Delta League.

Forest Lake Christian, who placed second in the Central Valley California League, has made the playoffs every season since volleyball became a sport at the school, said Smith. The last time FLC won a section title was 1998. Since 1993, the Lady Falcons have reached the section title game nine times, but have just the one championship.

Despite the No. 13 seed, Smith said he is confident his team can compete with, and beat, Holt Academy.

“The seeding is weird, but we definitely got into the bracket where we feel we can go a long way,” said Smith.

Last season the Lady Falcons reached the D-V semifinals, but fell to Bradshaw Christian in five sets.

This year’s Lady Falcons were hit hard by the injury bug, but have persevered behind strong play from sophomore Emily O’Neill, sophomore Alysse Moore and junior Maddie Switzer.

The Lady Falcons also got some good news this week as senior hitter and team leader Hailey Adams returned from an injury that had sidelined her for several games.

“We got Hailey in our final game, she played sparingly but got a couple good swings in and worked a little on blocking, and I think she will be good to go,” said Smith.

Also making the playoffs from the CVCL are league champ Woodland Christian (24-8, 10-0 CVCL) and Foresthill. Woodland Christian is the No. 2 seed in the D-V bracket, and Foresthill is the No. 14 seed in the D-V bracket.

The Nevada Union girls volleyball team did not make the playoffs after finishing in sixth place in the Sierra Foothill League. The top five teams in the SFL get automatic bids.

The Lady Miners closed the season 13-18 overall and 3-9 in SFL play. Nevada Union made the playoffs last season but were bounced in the first round.

Since 2002, Nevada Union has appeared in eight section title games, winning seven of those, but have not been past the first round since 2009.

Making the playoffs from the SFL are Oak Ridge (25-7, 10-2 SFL), Granite Bay (24-12, 10-2 SFL), Rocklin (24-13, 10-2 SFL), Del Oro (13-21, 4-8 SFL), and Woodcreek (13-18, 4-8 SFL).

The Sac-Joaquin Section volleyball playoff brackets were released Wednesday. For more information about the playoffs or to view brackets, visit http://www.cifsjs.org.

To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, call 530-477-4232 or email wford@theunion.com.

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