Stakes Get Bigger For Lady Bruins Spikers
The stakes start to get a little bigger Tuesday night for the Bear River girls volleyball team.
Fresh off their first CIF Sac-Joaquin Section championship since 1998, the Lady Bruins will open CIF Northern California Regional play Tuesday when they host Cardinal Newman of Santa Rosa in a first round match at 7 p.m.
The Bruins, who dispatched Ripon Christian in four games last Thursday at UC Davis to capture the Sac-Joaquin crown, were given a No. 4 seed in the eight-team regional and were awarded the first round home match against the Cardinal, the number five seed who finished second in the North Coast section.
Cardinal Newman defeated John Swett, St. Helena and Marin Catholic in its North Coast preliminary matches before losing Saturday night 25-21, 21-25, 25-19, 25-21 to St. Patrick’s-St. Vincents of Vallejo. That match was played on the winner’s home court.
“They had a huge home court advantage,” Cardinal Newman coach Anna Waller told the Santa Rosa Press Democrat. “It was a wild environment and we played pretty tentative.”
While the Cardinal, which are led by hitters Emily Papale and Julie Buehner-Kemper, might seem new on the Div. IV regional scene, in reality they are not. This is the first year that Cardinal Newman has fielded girls teams after inheriting the girls students from the closing of Ursline High School.
“They have a couple of outstanding hitters,” said Bear River coach Matt MacDonald. “We’ll have to play good defense. They’re a solid team.”
Last season MacDonald’s Lady Bruins advanced to the NorCals and were eliminated on the road at Marin Catholic.
“It’s huge to be able to host when you get to the regional level,” said MacDonald. “Now we have to go out and use it to our advantage.”
Bear River will try and counter the Cardinal with all-Pioneer Valley League players Kaya Johnson, Kirsten Pereira, Teryn Rath and Sara Schell leading the way.
In the other Div. IV first round pairings Tuesday, No. 1 Sacred Heart Prep of Atherton (30-5) will host No. 8 Ripon Christian (27-7); No. 3 Harbor of Santa Cruz (32-6) entertains No. 6 West Valley of Cottonwood (25-8); and
No. 2 St. Patrick’s-St. Vincent of Vallejo will be at home opposite No. 7 Yreka (26-8).
Special CIF Regional ticket prices will be in effect for the match. Adults tickets are $9 and students and children $5.