Experienced Lady Falcon spikers looking to soar

By: Mike Ray, Staff Writer
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COLFAX – The 2017 girls volleyball season at Colfax High was one to remember.

Led by a veteran cast, Colfax captured its first CIF Sac-Joaquin Section title in 21 years when the Lady Falcons swept through three straight section postseason foes without losing a game and garnered the Division V championship.

Boosted up into D-IV for the CIF regional state championships, Colfax defeated Sutter and went on a six-hour road trip to Crescent City to down Del Norte before eventually falling to Carondolet of Concord in the semifinal round.

Now, despite losing standouts Katelin Duer, Caleigh McClenahan and Annie Bain to graduation, with eight returning letter winners, third year coach Haley Biles is sending messages that the potential for another strong season looms on the horizon.

“We’re basically a senior-oriented team this year,” said Biles, who guided the Lady Falcons to a 21-7 mark a season ago. “What I like about this squad is that we have a lot of versatility.”

Key returnees for Colfax include All-Pioneer Valley League outside hitter Halle Neumann, who accumulated 150 kills last season, and junior middle hitter Grace Bliss, who was also an All-PVL pick with 108 more kills.

Also back for Colfax are senior defensive specialist-liberos Hailee Mulic, Sara Detwiler and Lydia Michael and opposite hitters Keegan O’Sullivan and  Hanna Hinrichs.

“We have some experience and depth back this year,” said Biles. “A lot of these girls played a lot of games last season.”

Biles also welcomes a junior group of players who helped Colfax win last season’s PVL JV championship. They include Abby Hanaway, Miriah Vossoghi and Nelly Balk. Also expected to be in the playing rotation is sophomore Kayla Beebe.

As far as league play goes, Colfax returns to a new-look PVL. The Lady Falcons figure to battle a rejuvenated Bear River squad for honors in a league that will include three new coaches.

“The competition in our league has always been there,” said Biles. “We’re expecting another tough battle this year.”

Because Colfax’s enrollment has gone over the 600-mark (601), the Lady Falcons will move back into D-IV for the postseason. A year ago, while winning the D-V section title, the Lady Falcons had wins over El Dorado, which won the D-III section crown, and Union Mine, which reached the D-IV semifinals.

“We’re playing a pretty tough preseason schedule,” said Biles about the team’s non-league slate, which includes matches with El Dorado, Woodcreek, Whitney, Del Oro and Oakmont. “It should make us a tougher team down the road.”

Colfax will compete in this weekend’s Del Oro scrimmage with the Golden Eagles as well as  Rocklin, Bear River and Whitney. The Lady Falcons will then host Nevada Union in a CIF Foundation match Monday, Aug. 20, before opening their official season Aug. 21 at Woodcreek.