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Grizzlies advance to NorCal Division I volleyball final

Granite Bay sweeps San Ramon-California
By: Bill Poindexter, Roseville Press Tribune Sports Editor
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Jamie Ingram has said it all along: She has 13 players on her Granite Bay High School volleyball team who prepare, come ready to play every match and contribute.

The host Grizzlies proved their head coach's point in 54 minutes Saturday night with a 25-20, 25-15, 25-18 sweep of San Ramon-California in the CIF Northern California Division I semifinals. Granite Bay will get a third shot this season at St. Francis, this one at 7 p.m. Tuesday for the NorCal championship. The top-seeded Troubadours defeated No. 4 Menlo-Atherton 3-1 in the other semifinal.

“More than anything, we’re excited to still be on the train,” a smiling Ingram said. “We’ll see where it takes us.”

The NorCal playoff schedule offers no sympathy for Thanksgiving weekend, which brings the inevitable family vacation and leaves teams with missing links. Ingram’s alterations to the Granite Bay rotation were darn-near perfect.

Senior Sami Perry, not a regular server in Granite Bay’s lineup this season, received repeated reps Saturday night and confused California (30-4) with five aces during a nine-point service run early in the first set, and 6-foot junior middle Kate Hurley had five kills and four well-placed tips during extensive court time.

They complemented big numbers by the Grizzlies’ usual cast of characters in a command performance of serving, blocking, digging and hitting: Nicolette Pinkney with nine kills and fellow juniors Taylor Nelson and Maddy Deters with seven each.

Perry had six of Granite Bay’s 12 aces. She jumped into the service line with the Grizzlies trailing 3-1 in the first set and slammed an ace, followed by a short, sinking ace just over the net, followed by another ace, followed by a combo block by Nelson and Hurley, followed by yet another ace that even had California’s orange-clad following voicing their approval.

“This is so good,” Perry said shyly. “I’ve been working on my serve. I have a few tricks up my sleeve. I try to fake ’em out.”

The combo effort was more than enough to take out California and 6-1 senior Sabrina Clayton, who had 13 kills.