Forest Lake wins in first CIF NorCal tournament appearance

Lady Falcons advance to D-VI semis
By: Erik LeTendre
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AUBURN– The Forest Lake Falcons (25-6) defended their home ground against Jewish Community (7-14) in the first round of the NorCal Division VI tournament Wednesday night, via a 3-0 sweep.

Forest Lake, who finished 12-2 in the Central Valley California League to give them second place overall, went up against a Wolves team that went 2-10 in the Bay League to place them in seventh.

The Falcons are also just coming off a second-place finish in the D-VI Section Tournament and looked eager yet nervous to play in their first ever CIF state championship tournament.

The matchup, which proved to be a short three-game series, was mostly dominated by the Falcons. The first game saw them score the first five points and use waves of momentum to win by score of 25-12.

The second game consisted of more toughness brought forth by Jewish Community, as the Wolves took the first pair of points before giving way to the combination of power and determination of Forest Lake.

The Falcons were led by outside hitter Ellie Wood, who racked up 10 kills, six aces and five blocks throughout the night and notched the second game, 25-15.

The final game was a tight, back-and-forth showing with the score at 20-18 in favor of the Falcons. Forest Lake was again pushed to victory by both Wood and libero Raegan Tanon, who accumulated eight digs.

There was an aura of relief and gratitude that emulated off both the crowd and its team after the game, with many slow to get up and deciding to stick around to congratulate everyone.

Forest Lake coach Travis Smith had much to say about his team.

“This means a lot to us and to me,” he said.  “With this being our first ever appearance in the CIF tournament, we definitely didn’t play our best. You could see our nerves towards the end. But I am very proud of our team. I can’t wait for the next game.”

The Falcons will stay at home to take on visiting Paradise Adventist Academy in Round 2 of the tournament Saturday at 6 p.m.