Brian Pearson | Williams Pioneer Review
The Pierce Bears varsity volleyball team capped a solid week of play on Thursday with a statement win over the Sutter Huskies, a perennial volleyball power and the defending Northern Section Division 4 Champions.
“That was a good confidence building win for us,” Bears coach Kim Travis said.
The Bears not only defeated the Huskies in the inter-league match-up, but did so in dominant fashion by notching the win in three sets, 25-15, 25-16, and 25-20. With the victory, Pierce exacted a measure of revenge: Sutter ousted them in the semi-final match of the Northern Section CIF D-4 Playoffs last year and went on to capture the ection title.
“It was definitely a little boost for our team this season, and it’s nice to look back on last season and realize we beat them this year,” senior libero Ellie Geyer said. “Being a returning player, we were a little scared going in there, but we went in with an open mind and tried to show some confidence as a young team. Once the game started, we were getting in the groove. We were obviously expecting Sutter to be better than they were.”
Last year was Pierce’s first year competing in D-4, and last year’s squad showed that it was among the best in the section. The 2016-17 Bears are not the same team that reached the semi-final last year, nor is this year’s Sutter team the same that won a section title. Still, the win against the Huskies was a meaningful one for senior setter Lauren Ornbaun said.
“We came in wanting to play strong both mentally and physically, and I think we did a great job,” Ornbaun said. “Sutter is a huge win for us, having lost to them in the playoffs last year. This win means a lot to me and the team. I like playing high-ranked teams because it tells our team where we need to be. Games like tonight’s make me have a strong, good feeling about league.”
Travis said that Ornbaun led the way for the Bears on Thursday, and did a fantastic job placing the ball.
Ornbaun finished the contest with 32 assists, 3 aces, and 2 kills.
Geyer was solid on defense, with 12 digs and 26 serve receptions, Travis said.
Pierce’s win against Sutter came after a hard-fought five set victory over Pioneer of Woodland on Aug. 30. Against Pioneer, the Bears repeatedly showed the ability to overcome adversity after losing the first two sets 22-25 and 19-25.
Pierce battled back to take the next two sets 25-22 and 25-12, before falling behind early in the deciding set.
“We were down in the fifth set, losing 10-4, and battled our way to a victory, getting seven straight points to win 15-11,” Travis said.
“Going into this season, we knew we were a young team, and we had to deal with a couple injuries. But after these two games, we have gotten some more confidence,” Geyer said.
Leading the way against Pioneer were Cora Cherry, with 14 kills, 4 aces, and 4 blocks, and Callie Muniz, who finished with 10 kills and a block.