SHINGLE SPRINGS — Monday’s intra-county Foundation volleyball game between host Ponderosa and Golden Sierra cut both ways: some positive moments; some not so much.
The annual match designed to raise CIF scholarship funds doesn’t count in the standings — negating the Bruins’ 15-25, 25-23, 25-20, 25-20 victory; sparing a Grizzly setback after a solid opening set.
Ponderosa played without two key seniors. Starting libero Morgan O’Neill is out with an injury as was Lindsey Bowles, the Bruins’ top outside hitter. Bowles was expected to play but scratched at the last minute.
“Our starting lineup had never practiced together before but they fought through adversity in that first set,” said Ponderosa coach Sheri Millhollin who noted that senior Alex Rader was learning a new position. “We’re a mix of seniors and youth and we were young tonight in missing two seniors. I thought the team stepped up and did real well.”
Golden Sierra has seven returning in libero Sierra Cokinos, setter Tiffany Grey, outside Jamie Hinton, Abigail Wever, Alexis Hall, Kaleigh Brothers and Jordyn Condit, four of whom were starters.
“We have some experience back but a huge hole to fill in graduating Katie Christner and Caitlin Hess,” Griz coach Justin Cox said. “We’re not very big but trying to make up for that with defense. We have high hopes this year — we just have to figure each other out and get comfortable.”
That wasn’t a problem in the first game as Golden Sierra watched the Bruins self-destruct through the net in the late stages. Grey, Cokinos and Paige Murchison all made plays to put the visitors up a set.
“We did great in that first game and the second was close,” Cox said. “It was just crucial mistakes that cost us.”
Ponderosa rallied from 21-23 in the second set as Nicole Banke’s set for Rader’s kill swung momentum to the home side and the Grizzlies faded down the stretch.
Behind the blocking of Sarah Walker and the play of Rader, Banke, Megan Jones, Kylie Christensen, Kenna Davidson, Courtney Chester, Lauren Williams, Christine McDavid and freshman Maddie Clayton, the Bruins had control of the next two sets before shaky play let the Griz back in.
“We left the door way open in those last two sets,” Millhollin said.
Cox said Golden Sierra’s biggest competition in the Sierra Delta League will come from Bradshaw Christian and Vacaville Christian. Millhollin said St. Francis will be the team to beat in the Delta River League.