GARDEN VALLEY — The end came quickly for Golden Sierra in its Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV playoff opener Monday as visiting Colfax swept the Grizzlies out of the postseason 3-0.
Golden Sierra’s first lead in its 16-25, 19-25, 21-25 mistake-filled setback didn’t come until the third set. By then, the Falcons couldn’t be denied. The first-round exit left the Griz 19-10 for the season.
“I’m shocked but that’s the way it goes sometimes. We were not mentally prepared and came in thinking we had it won … and I warned the girls about that,” Golden Sierra coach Justin Cox said.
In the Grizzlies’ defense, they had reason to be confident after sweeping the Falcons 3-0 earlier in the season — but that according to Cox was when Colfax’ Maddi Ittner wasn’t 100 percent. Tuesday she was and Golden Sierra failed to stop her.
Another key to the Falcon’s win was its serves and/or the Grizzlies’ lack of service receives.
“Coach said they served us off the court, therefore our passing fell apart and our offense didn’t do well,” Golden Sierra setter Tiffany Grey said.
Grey, a senior, played her last prep match along with Alexis Hall, Jaime Hinton and Kourtney Brothers. Senior Kaleigh Brothers did not play.
“I feel for the seniors. It’s tough to lose on the home court but I’m looking forward to coming back next year to do it all over again.”
Colfax led 13-4 in the first set and 11-3 in the second to coast to the wins. Golden Sierra’s first lead came in the third set at 4-3 with Elise Wilson on serve.
Though the Griz fought to extend the season behind Grey’s setting, Hall, Jordyn Condit and Hinton’s hitting, Abigail Wever and Becca Brown’s net play and the defense of Paige Murchison and Kensie Clark — they essentially traded points with the Falcons who by then had the second round in their sights.
Typical of how Tuesday went for Golden Sierra came late in the third set. With Colfax clinging to a 22-20 lead, confusion hit the Highway 80 team until Carrie Fitzgerald sent back a free ball to the middle of the court that stunned the hosts.
Hall kept it close with a deflected kill but Ittner answered for match point. Despite Murchison’s clutch save that just cleared the net, Stephanie Scott pounded a return to end it.