Grizzlies power past Napa into section volleyball semis
Last season, the Granite Bay High School girls volleyball team, though young and inconsistent, showed flashes of what it could eventually be. That eventuality has arrived.
The Grizzlies (24-8) erased painful memories of yesteryear, when they didn’t qualify for the playoffs despite many wins over playoff teams, by downing Napa 25-11, 25-21, 25-18 in a Sac-Joaquin Section Division I quarterfinal match Thursday night at Granite Bay.
“It was hard, but that’s what motivated us,” sophomore outside hitter Maddy Deters said. “That gave us the energy to come out and do what we’ve done this season.”
Deters set the tone in the first set, notching five of her match-high 15 kills and serving two aces. When the 13th-seeded Indians (31-9) tied set two at 16, Deters responded with kills on three of the next four points to give No. 4 Granite Bay a 19-17 lead. She added three kills during a 12-2 run that put the third set out of reach.
“I definitely live for those moments,” Deters said. “The kills give me such an adrenaline rush.”
Powered by a corps of sophomores, including Deters, setter Taylor Nelson, with whom coach Jamie Ingram says Deters “shares a brain,” and outside hitter Nicolette Pinkney — all of whom played as freshmen last year — the Grizzlies are in the semifinals for the first time since 2004, when they won the Division II section title.
Awaiting them Tuesday is top seed and 10-time section champion St. Francis (34-5), which likewise has swept through two rounds without dropping a set.
“I have a group of girls with tremendous competitive fire and the will of a lion,” Ingram said. “This group has done a great job of setting high yet attainable goals. One of those goals was (reaching the section finals in) Davis. It doesn’t matter who is on the other side of the net.”
Christian Brothers 3, Oakmont 0 — The ninth-seeded Vikings (21-14) lost to the top-seeded Falcons (26-11) 25-16, 25-12, 25-19 in the Division III semifinals two nights after winning at No. 8 Los Banos 25-9, 25-8, 25-15.
Setter Brennah Gladwill had 23 assists, six aces and three kills against Los Banos. Katie Carte had 12 kills, Morgan Reed had 11 digs and four aces, and libero Sophi Lozano had 18 digs.
Sac Country Day 3, Valley Christian 2 — The Lions (15-9) were eliminated in the Division VI semifinals by third-seeded Country Day 25-17, 11-25, 25-18, 24-26, 15-11.
No. 7 Valley Christian advanced by knocking off No. 2 Tioga 25-15, 25-16, 25-11 on Tuesday night in Groveland behind Emily Flood (11 kills), Erin Patterson (eight kills, four aces), Sarah Finnell (six kills) and HaeLeigh Sinerius (eight digs).
SAC-JOAQUIN SECTION DIVISION I SEMIFINALS
Matches: Granite Bay at St. Francis, Stockton-St. Mary’s at Oak Ridge
When: 7 p.m. Tuesday