SHINGLE SPRINGS — Ponderosa volleyball rode the momentum of a season-ending win into its Division II playoff opener against Yuba City Tuesday, sweeping the visiting Honkers 25-11, 25-17, 25-10.
“We played just well enough to win. I think we didn’t play the way we were capable of playing,” coach Sheri Millhollin said.
The Bruins took early control of the first set, taking a 3-1 lead after a Lindsey Bowles kill. A combined Bowles/Lauren Williams block gave the Bruins a 6-3 advantage but Yuba City fought back to get within 8-7.
A Williams’ kill sparked a Ponderosa run and after moving in front 9-7, Bowles (13 kills) took control of service and the Bruins took over, rattling off 10 straight points to take a suffocating 19-7 lead. An Alex Rader (11) kill ended the set and the Bruins were flying high.
The two teams were tied at 8s after a Nicole Banke ace in the second set. Maddie Clayton’s kill staked the Bruins to a slim 13-12 lead but Yuba City retook the lead back after a tip fell and an Ally Reines ace.
Ponderosa kicked it into high gear after that as a Rader kill earned the Bruins service back, and Kylie Christensen (22 assists, 4 aces) served an ace, followed by five consecutive Ponderosa points to take a 21-14 lead. A Morgan O’Neill (16 serve receives, 11 digs) hit fell and Bowles ended the set with a powerful kill that gave the Bruins a 2-0 cushion.
Ponderosa went up 4-2 early in the third set before Yuba City battled back. Like the first two sets, the Bruins turned on the turbo jets. After an errant Bowles hit, Ponderosa rallied off 11 straight points, including Christensen’s ace.
A Bowles kill increased the lead to 21-10 and she had another after a long rally to get Ponderosa within a point of victory. Rader’s serve was not returned to give the Bruins the win and a date with Del Oro in the second round.
“We’ve been having some great practices, and executing when we need to, but we’re going to need to play a more complete game on Thursday than tonight if we expect to win,” Millhollin said.