GARDEN VALLEY — The Golden Sierra High volleyball team took on San Juan in Sierra Delta League play Tuesday night.
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The contest pitted the first-place Grizzlies against struggling San Juan in their final home game of the regular season. On a night set aside to honor their seniors, the Griz turned in one of their patented performances, downing the Spartans from Citrus Heights 3-0 (25-5, 25-2, 25-10).
Senior Night ceremonies were light-hearted in Rod Hedlund gym as Golden Sierra principal Kevin Ahern introduced the departing seniors: Brittlee Gale, Jessica Condit and Emily Mathews. With the honorees holding their bouquets of yellow roses and flanked by their parents, the crowd was treated to a couple good-natured laughs at the girls’ own expense.
But the mood in the gym turned serious when Ahern read Mathews’ tribute to her father and deceased mother. A comforting arm from head coach Justin Cox was the most important task he would perform during the evening. Playing behind underclassmen for most of their varsity careers, Gale and Mathews are the true definition of “team players.” Their love of the sport, commitment to their teammates and school pride are examples of what it means to be a Golden Sierra Grizzly.
With the three seniors on the floor to start the match, Golden Sierra took the opening Spartan serve and set up Alexis Hall for the kill. The Griz needed just one run through the lineup to post the 20-point win. Each Grizzly server logged at least one ace. If set No. 1 belonged to the Grizzly servers, the second set belonged to Kaylee Schrader, who began the middle stanza with an ace, and by the time San Juan’s head coach called for time with the Griz up 11-0, she had tallied three more.
The break had little effect as Katie Christner landed two kills after play resumed to conclude her performance for the evening. And just when it seemed Schrader might serve out the match, a Grizzly hitting error ended her run at 20-1. Two servers later the second game was in the books.
The three seniors took the court for their final league set and were joined by Maddie Penley, Katie Holzen and Sierra Cokinos. The Grizzlies again needed just one run through the lineup to take care of the Spartans and close out the match.
Golden Sierra travels to Rio Vista Thursday before taking on some tough competition Saturday at the Super-8 Tournament. The regular season concludes Tuesday at Highlands.