Bear River volleyball wins again

By: Garrett Johnston / Special to the Journal
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The Bear River Bruins won their NorCal section quarterfinal against the Cardinal Newman Cardinals at home on Tuesday night, 20-25, 25-16, 30-28, 25-20. It was a feat that they had not accomplished since 1991.
“Offensively,” coach Matt MacDonald said, “what a performance.”
Indeed, it was as the Bruins had to overcome dropping the first game 25-20 to Cardinal Newman and their outstanding outside hitter Emily Papale, who lead the match with 31 kills.
The Bruins would bounce back with the most important set of their season to that point. Down 1-0, they won the second game 25-16 on the strength of a passionate standout performance from Teryn Rath. She connected on five kills in six attempts in that pivotal game to keep life in Bear River’s season.
“This was her best game of the year,” MacDonald said. “It was really her break out game.”
Rath contributed a season-high 15 kills and was integral in containing Papale with four blocks for the game.
“It’s my main job for the team and I’ve really tried to focus on that and get better at (defense) and just continue to help my team with that,” Rath said. 
The third game saw the Bruins take their first lead at 29-28 in a game that Cardinal Newman had the upper hand in throughout. Starting with a 15-9 lead on solid hitting and great placement, Cardinal Newman head coach Anna Waller saw her team fall to a relentless Bear River attack.
“That third game that was so close,” Waller said, “back and forth, and to lose that kind of left a sour taste in our mouth. It was going to control the momentum.”
It indeed controlled the momentum as the Bruins finished the game off with a resounding kill from team captain Sara Schell to finish the game at 30-28.
Bear River similarly trailed the fourth game throughout but would tie it at 17-17 on another pivotal hit from Schell. The Bruins took the lead on Amanda Clark’s kill on the next point and the game 25-20.
Bear River senior Kaya Johnson had a career-high 54 assists in the match and was very proud of the way her fellow teammates and seniors played in what would be their final home game of the year.
“That’s how we wanted to end it with a solid win at home,” Johnson said. “We played it with heart and passion and that’s what you have to do.
Bear River will now play the NorCal region’s top-seeded Sacred Heart Prep on the road on Saturday night at 7 p.m. The winner of the match will play the victor of Harbor and St. Patrick/St. Vincent to go to the state championship game.