By Bill Christner
Mother Lode News corresondent
GARDEN VALLEY — Golden Sierra High’s volleyball team hosted Ponderosa Monday in the traditional Foundation Game meeting between the programs.
After a loss to Granite Bay Friday, the Grizzlies hoped for a better outing but despite improved play, the outcome was the same as Ponderosa left with a 3-0 victory.
Bruin Lianna Sybeldon opened the first game with a roll shot around two Grizzly errors for a quick 3-0 Bruin lead. But the Grizzlies answered when JV call-up Abigal Weaver blocked the next attack.
Ponderosa played the ball up, Weaver stuffed it and Golden Sierra was on the board 3-1. With Tiffany Grey on serve, the Griz ran off four points on Grey’s ace, Weaver’s block and kills from Katie Christner and Alexis Hall for a 5-3 lead.
The teams battled through four ties to 12-12 before Ponderosa went ahead 15-13 on Grizzly errors and Sybeldon’s quick shot. Following another Sybeldon kill, the Bruins increased their lead to 19-14 on two Griz errors and a set that drop untouched.
Jamie Hinton’s kill got Golden Sierra back within three, but Alex Rader’s push to the back court gave the Bruins a four-point cushion. Christner’s back-row kill and a Bruin error closed the gap to 20-18.
After the teams traded sideouts, a Ponderosa hitting error, an ace by Caitlin Hess, and Christner’s kill tied the game at 22 before a free-ball error on Golden Sierra and an errant pass had the Bruins at match point. Sybeldon’s roll shot put the game in the books, 25-23.
“I thought we made some mistakes and missed some serves at crucial times. That was the difference tonight,” Grizzly coach Justin Cox said.
Game two was more of the same. After an early 2-2 tie, the Bruins opened a four-point lead on two Sybeldon kills, Rader’s push and a Grizzly hitting error.
Hall and Hess teamed for a block to get within three at 8-5, but Ponderosa went up 10-5 on Grizzly errors. Christner landed a back-row kill, Hess stuffed a quick shot and Hinton won a joust at the net to cut the lead to 10-8 before more Grizzly errors had Ponderosa up 12-8 .
The Griz tied it at 12-12 on an error, Hinton’s two aces and a second-touch kill from Hess but Sybeldon and Hailey Bellmer delivered kills that put Ponderosa back up by three. Christner’s kill narrowed the gap to 21-20.
With Ponderosa up 23-21, Grey caught the Bruins napping with a dump but a Grizzly serve found the net and an error handed the 25-22 victory to the Bruins.
“Neither team was consistent tonight but we didn’t seem to get nervous. That seemed to be the difference,” Bruin coach Sherri Millholin said.
Ponderosa jumped out to an 8-2 lead in the third game helped by Sybeldon’s kill and block. Golden Sierra battled back behind kills from Christner, Hall and Hess. Hall’s block and Brittany Tillotson’s ace knotted the game at 13.
The teams traded sideouts with Sybeldon logging another kill and Weaver blocking her next attack. After the Bruins went on a 4-0 run behind kills from Bellmer and Sybeldon, the Grizzlies ran out of fuel and Ponderosa closed the match on a 6-2 run, winning game three 25-17.
“I thought we passed much better tonight then last Friday at Granite Bay. Jamie and Sierra (Cokinos) really stepped up their passing game tonight. Our inability to make clutch plays hurt us,” Cox said.
Golden Sierra was led by Christner with 13 kills and nine digs, Hinton with six kills, nine digs and two aces, and Cokinos with 11 digs. Sybeldon logged 13 kills.