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Bright lights, big gym and St. Francis are too much for Granite Bay

Grizzlies drop Division I section volleyball final but qualify for NorCal Regionals
By: Bill Poindexter, Roseville Press Tribune Sports Editor
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DAVIS--St. Francis High School has been to the Sac-Joaquin Section volleyball finals many times. It's now third in section history with 12 championships following Thursday night's 25-23, 25-14, 25-10 sweep of Granite Bay at the UC Davis Pavilion.


Granite Bay has won one section banner in volleyball, in 2004. So playing in the big arena, so big that two matches are held side by side at the same time, was a new experience for coach Jamie Ingram's Grizzlies - one she's sure they'll use to grow upon.


"I'm totally proud of my girls. They put up a good fight," Ingram said. "We came to compete. St. Francis brought a great match. They've been here."


While Bear River and Ripon Christian engaged in a loud, spirited Division IV final on the other side of a see-through curtain, Granite Bay battled the Troubadours. The Grizzlies used good setting and the hitting of juniors Nicolette Pinkney, Taylor Nelson and Maddy Deters and senior Kelsy Green to build a 23-20 lead in the opening set, but St. Francis scored the last five points and then rolled to victories in the second and third sets.


The big thing wasn't failing to put away the first set, Ingram said


"The biggest thing for the girls was the big gym, the bright lights, the chaos of everything going on around us," she said.


It was another step forward for Granite Bay, which lost to St. Francis in five sets in the 2011 semifinals.


"Last year, they knocked us out. This year, we got here," Ingram said. "But like I told the girls, be upset. Let that motivate you to win out. Our goal now is to win out."


The Grizzlies qualified for the Northern California Regional playoffs and will learn their opponent this weekend.


Contact Bill Poindexter at billp@goldcountrymedia.com. Follow him on Twitter at BillP_RsvPT.