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Granite Bay has just enough to overcome St. Mary's in Division I volleyball semifinals

Grizzlies will play top-seeded St. Francis for championship
By: Bill Poindexter, Roseville Press Tribune Sports Editor
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STOCKTON — Jamie Ingram has said it before, and she said it again Tuesday night:

“I have 13 gamers that will come to play any day,” the Granite Bay High School girls volleyball coach said following her team’s exhausting 27-25, 16-25, 18-25, 25-23, 15-13 victory over host St. Mary’s in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I semifinals.

The Grizzlies (36-5) avenged a 3-1 loss to St. Mary’s (22-6) earlier this season that ultimately determined Granite Bay’s No. 3 seeding and St. Mary’s No. 2 in the playoffs. Granite Bay will face top-seeded St. Francis on Thursday at UC Davis.

“It’s really exciting,” said Granite Bay junior Taylor Nelson, one of three team captains. “This has been our goal since day one.”

Coach Angela McShane’s Rams threw a complete package at the Grizzlies — hard, located serving, two big-time outside hitters in seniors Melissa Brum and Megan Byrne, excellent blocking, coverage and recovery.

St. Mary’s had it all, and it wasn’t enough to keep the Grizzlies from earning their first trip to UC Davis for a section final in Ingram’s four years as coach. Granite Bay dived for saves, Kiah Drongesen controlled the back row, and the Grizzlies swung away with juniors Nelson, Nicolette Pinkney and Maddy Deters, senior Kelsy Green and sophomore Brooke Hershberger.

Granite Bay played with a lead and finished the fourth set to even the match at 2 and overcame deficits to win the first and final sets. Two kills by Nelson, sandwiched around a kill by Pinkney, turned a 13-12 deficit in the fifth set into a berth in the section final.

“Everybody worked hard, and I appreciated the energy and effort of every one of them,” Ingram said. “This came down to heart. It wasn’t skill or technique but sheer desire to win.”

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