GARDEN VALLEY — Neither challenge, difficulty or need to win stole the show in Monday’s final regular season home appearance for Golden Sierra. It was the five seniors who bid farewell to their adoring throngs that made the night memorable.
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Yes, the Grizzly girls easily won in three against Rio Vista — 25-8, 25-11, 25-14 — but volleyball took a backseat to the talented, popular quintet whose bond far exceeds the two varsity seasons Jordyn Condit Abby Wever, Becca Brown, Tristan Nedeigh and Kensie Clark shared.
“They’re a wacky, fun, hard-working group of girls that work well together and I’ll miss them,” Golden Sierra coach Justin Cox said. “Tonight gave us a chance to play all the seniors and see them in positions they don’t normally play. It was more of a fun evening for them.”
Before play began the seniors and their families were introduced. The girls divulged their favorite food, color, animal and movies; revealed their hopes, dreams and goals; and thanked those responsible for their success.
“We love and feel proud playing for Golden Sierra … the Grizzly spirit is unmatched,” the five said. “There were some rough and good patches to this season but we came through as a family because we love each other.”
The Griz benefited immensely from the Rams lack of service receive in all three sets. Rio Vista also never ran much of an offense — scoring mainly due to Golden Sierra’s lack of interest.
Boredom with an inferior opponent has plagued the Grizzlies over the years but Golden Sierra, from Wever’s match-opening block, had it going in the first set. Condit had numerous connections with Jazmin Lutey-Willard while Paige Murchison and Nedeigh joined the act with Murchison running off a long service run.
Golden Sierra’s play sank to open the second set. Locked in a 10-10 back-and-forth, Wever’s tip broke the tie and Condit began landing serves as the Griz pulled away. Golden Sierra’s 8-0 spurt was highlighted by Wever’s two taps, Condit’s back row kill and Nedeigh’s tap to the middle. Wever closed the set on serve, one that ended on Murchison’s deflected kill and Wever’s ace.
Golden Sierra took no prisoners in the final set with Alix Nordby, Elise Wilson and Brittany LaShell on the court. Brown’s block of a Rams’ tip and her guided tap on Condit’s back set both gave the Grizzlies 10-point leads, Wever smashed three kills, Lashell’s pancake save was the defensive play of the night and Rio Vista miscues pushed Golden Sierra across the finish line.
The Grizzlies record stands at 14-14 after an 8-4 finish in the Sierra Delta League, good for third place. The team now awaits today’s playoff bracket release by the CIF.
“As long as we play as a team and work hard we’ll kick butt in the playoffs,” the seniors said.