SACRAMENTO — In defeating Del Oro in the second round of the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division II playoffs, the Ponderosa High volleyball team came in confident Tuesday for its semifinal match at El Camino.
Though the Lady Bruins grabbed the initial lead, they couldn’t stop the soaring Eagles who won in straight sets 25-16, 25-21, 25-17.
In the first game, the serving and kills from outside hitters Alex Rader and Lindsey Bowles gave Ponderosa (17-17) a 6-3 advantage. El Camino, the top seed, rallied behind strong net play and the performances of Elizabeth Dahlberg, Mikaela Nocetti and Cassidy Denny for an 8-3 run that gave the Eagles an 11-9 lead.
“They kept going at us,” Ponderosa head coach Sheri Millhollin said. “We tried to make some adjustments, but it just didn’t work out. They adjusted better to the line hits. I give them (Eagles) credit because they brought it and were more consistent than us; they were more aggressive.”
Ponderosa, the bracket’s fifth seed, cut El Camino’s lead to 11-10 after a sideout but that was the last time the Bruins were within striking distance as the Eagles flew to an 8-0 run to go up 18-10.
“It’s one of those games that you wished you could play on your own court,” Millhollin said. “I think we would’ve played a little bit better at home. I know in our hearts that we needed to get that win (in the first game) to keep the night going.”
In the second set, the Bruins and Eagles had long rallies, lots of digs and plenty of action at the net as the two teams went back-and-forth in scoring. Ponderosa led 19-18 after Bowles served an ace but El Camino (32-5) tied it again and led after Nocetti’s kill. Tied at 21-all, the Eagles went ahead for good on a sideout and ended the second set when Denny slammed down a kill to the middle of the court.
In the third set, El Camino jumped out 5-2 before Ponderosa rallied behind net play. El Camino had difficulty snuffing the Bruins’ never-say-die attitude as the Shingle Springs’ squad chipped away at the Eagles’ lead. After an ace by Bruin libero Kenna Davidson cut the Eagles’ lead to 15-13, El Camino went on a 10-4 run to take the match and advance to the section title game against Gregori of Modesto.
Ponderosa, 5-5 in the Delta River League, loses five seniors, including Rader and Bowles.
“Our seniors were amazing,” said Millhollin of the quintet that includes setter Kylie Christensen, defensive specialist Morgan O’Neill and middle hitter Courtney Chester. “They were big tonight.”
Bowles had 14 kills in the match for the Bruins and Rader had 10 kills for the Bruins. Nicole Banke had 15 assists and Christensen had 12. O’Neill had 15 digs and 31 serve receives while Rader had 17.
Contact Mike Bush at 530-344-5079 or [email protected] Follow @MBushMtDemo on Twitter.