Pierce volleyball’s historic run comes to end

Bears fall to Shasta in five sets

Callie Muniz passes the ball during Pierce’s CIF State Playoff loss to Shasta in Redding on Saturday.

The Pierce’s volleyball season came to an end in Redding on Saturday, as the No. 3 seed Bears fell to No. 2 seed Shasta in the quarterfinals of the CIF State Volleyball Division IV Championship Tournament. Pierce lost by scores of 26-24, 23-25, 12-25, 25-23, and 4-15. 

“We fell short and couldn’t finish out the match,” head coach Kim Travis said in a text on Monday. “We panicked and started to resort back to selfish play and attitudes. We win or we learn, and we definitely did both this season. But regardless of this loss, I am extremely proud of my team. I’m proud of their effort, their fight, and their resilience to leave their mark at Pierce High School, which is exactly what we did. I am full of Pierce Pride.”

Katie Williams led pierce with 11 kills, followed by Callie Muniz and Emily Ehrke, who had eight apiece. Betsy Myers had a solid night defensively and in serve reception with 21 serve receptions and 14

The loss to the Wolves brought an end to what was a storybook season for Pierce’s volleyball program, which saw them make their first appearance in the Northern Section Championship, win their first section championship, and win their first (and second) matches in a state tournament. Pierce’s run to the Northern Region Semi-Final of the state tournament is also the deepest a county volleyball team has ever gone in the CIF state playoffs.

On Tuesday, Nov. 6, Pierce swept No. 14 seed The Bay School in the opening round of the state tournament, winning by scores of 25-11, 25-15, and 27-25. Senior Callie Muniz, who was a force in the Northern Section playoffs for the Bears, continued to lead the way offensively. Muniz had 15 kills in the match, followed by Alexis Dorentes’ 11. Travis said that Sierra Murphy turned in a solid night on both offense and defense, and distributed the ball well.

Pierce followed their opening-round win by defeating No. 11 seed Colfax 3-2 on Thursday. The Bears won by scores of 25-23, 25-22, 16-25, 31-33, and 15-9. 

Early in game one, Colfax led by as much as four before Pierce clawed their way into the lead for the first time, 11-10. They never trailed again from there. Pierce was in a game-point situation with Dorantes at the service line, up 24-19, but Colfax senior Halle Neumann earned a side-out for the Falcons with a block. With Keegan O’Sullivan serving, the Falcons scored three straight to bring the score to 24-23, but a Halle Charter block sealed the win for Pierce.

In game two, the score was tied at 9-9, and again at 14-14, before Colfax strung together a five-point run to take a 19-14 lead. A series of violations and errors by the Falcons helped Pierce close the gap, and Betsy Myers stepped to the service line with the scored tied 22-22. The Bears ended the game on a 3-0 run, with an ace from Myers, a kill from Muniz, and a violation by Colfax. 

Mistakes plagued the Bears in game three, and helped Colfax jump ahead 7-1. After Pierce fought to bring themselves back within two points, another 6-1 Colfax run put the Falcons up 20-13. Colfax led by at least six the rest of the way, with a Neumann kill securing the 25-16 win for Colfax.

In game four, Pierce took an early 6-2 lead but serving errors helped the Falcons stick around. After Colfax tied the game at 10-10, neither team led by more than three as the two teams battled to a 23-23 tie, with Pierce’s Katie Williams serving. A double hit violation by Colfax put Pierce in a match-point situation, but the Bears were unable to put the Falcons away. Each team had five set-point opportunities from there, with Colfax finally delivering on their fifth chance, winning 33-31.

“We talked about it after that fourth game: we had multiple opportunities to close it out, and we didn’t,” Travis said on Thursday night. “I told them we didn’t come this far to only come this far, and we’ve got to find a way to push through this.”

Pierce took the final set 15-9, with the final two points coming on a Katie Williams kill and a Colfax error. 

 “We had a lot of errors we needed to clean up,” Travis said. “They came out in the fifth game fired up.” ■

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Brian Pearson is the Managing Editor & Reporter for the Williams Pioneer Review. Brian joined the Williams Pioneer Review in June 2016 and is committed to bringing hyperlocal news to its readers. A few of his projects include reporting on local government and the newly feature sports page. To contact Brian about this article, or for future articles, please email him at brian@colusacountynews.net