The run at a Central Section D-III volleyball title for Yosemite High (34-5, 9-1 NSL champions) came to an end in Tulare Nov. 8.
The No. 2 seed Mission Oak Hawks (29-8, 9-1 East Yosemite League) beat the young No. 3 seed Badgers in three straight sets (25-20, 25-17, 25-17) in the section semifinals round.
Playing at Mission Oak’s home gym, the Badgers made too many hitting errors and had troubles stopping the Hawk’s 6-foot-4 junior Samantha Arellano, who had 11 kills, four blocks and three digs during the match.
“We were very flat against Mission Oak,” YHS Coach Michele Chenowith said after the game. “We couldn’t stop Arellano by either digging or blocking her shots.”
Another junior, Christa Pilgrim, added 10 kills and eight digs for the Hawks, while Alyssa Parkison contributed 22 digs and sophomore Hazel Martinez recorded six digs and six blocks.
Yosemite’s Siena Oswald led the Badgers with nine kills and 15 digs. Savannah Bohna recorded four kill shots and had 13 digs, and Hannah Hurtado added 10 digs.
Sayda Taylor added seven kills and Rachel Loveland and Karee Smith had four and three respectively. Smith also had two blocks. Tiffany Cacy had 12 assists on the night.
Chenowith, with a team of nine juniors and four sophomores, is already looking to next season.
“It was a great season and a pleasure to work with all the girls and parents this season,” Chenowith said. “We will continue to work hard in the off season to keep improving our game so we will be even better next year with nine members of this team returning as seniors.”
Sixth league championship for Chenowith
The Badger league championship this year was the sixth shared or outright league title for Chenowith. Her first tour of duty with the Badgers was between 1994 and 2002 when YHS was league co-champs with Sierra in 94, 96, 97 (section champs) and 2000 (section champs). In 2001, the team was outright league champs and again section champs.
After a three-year stint as YHS athletic director, Chenowith came back to coach the volleyball team two seasons ago. In all those earlier years, Yosemite volleyball was D-IV.
However, Chenowith could not help but mention the section’s competitive equity system, which decides what division schools play in based on performance as opposed to school enrollment. As in other sports, Yosemite volleyball has been penalized for its success over the years by being moved up to larger school divisions.
“I try not to think about D-IV that has all teams with about the same enrollment as YHS,” Chenowith said. “Those are the teams (including D-IV schools Liberty, Sierra and Minarets) we defeated throughout the year. CIF uses competitive equity to place schools in divisions based on the history and success of the school in each sport, and D-III is very tough division led by Mission Oak and Bakersfield Christian.”
The system seems to benefit larger schools more than smaller schools, because if a large school is not successful, they get moved down to play with smaller schools. When a small school is successful, they get moved up to play larger schools in the playoffs, which is the case with Yosemite.
Bakersfield Christian wins title
The Bakersfield Christian Eagles (34-1) beat Mission Oak for the D-III title Nov. 12 at West Hills Community College. It was the second year in a row that Bakersfield Christian beat Mission Oak for the division championship. It was the Eagles’ fourth consecutive section title and seventh overall.
The team received the No. 1 seed in the Southern Section State Playoffs, and played No. 16 Santa Ynez Wednesday. The winner will play the winner of No. 8 Alemany and No. 9 Olympian Saturday.
Mission Oak, seeded No. 5, faced No. 12 Woodcrest Christian Wednesday. The winner will play the winner of the No. 4 La Reina and No. 13 Laguna Blanca on Saturday. For game results, see sierrastar.com.