After opening the season with a win over Reedley on Aug. 22 (25-17, 25-16, 25-9), the Yosemite High School volleyball team rolled over Mariposa High Aug. 24, again winning in three straight sets (25-12, 25-11, 25-8).
More than 200 volleyball fans attended both games.
The well-balanced team was lead by Tiffany Cacy with 25 assists. On the receiving end of those and other assists was Karee Smith, Sayda Taylor, and Rachel Loveland who had 8 kill shots each, with Savannah Bohna, Siena Oswald, and Monique Ades adding 7, 6 and 4 kill shots respectively.
Smith, Taylor, and Chloe Duke got the student section on their feet with some bone-crushing kill shots.
Against Reedley Taylor recorded seven kill shots for points, blocked two shots, and had two ace serves. Smith and Duke had six kills, and Bohna had five with an ace serve.
Loveland contributed five blocks, and three kills, while Cacy had 17 assists, and two ace serves.
“It was a good week for Yosemite volleyball defeating Reedley and Mariposa,” Coach Michele Chenowith said. “We are still trying to work out kinks in our defense and also working on more consistency in hitting and serving, but we are starting in good place and look forward to continued growth throughout the season.”
The team is the defending North Sequoia League champions (34-5), and with no seniors on last year’s team, the entire team has returned for this season’s run at another league title and a shot at the Central Section D-III championship.
The team was the D-III No. 3 seed in the section last year, advancing to the semi-finale round of the playoffs, losing to the No. 2 seed Mission Oak High School in Tulare.
There is a good chance Yosemite and Mission Oak, with standout 6-foot-4 Samantha Arellano back for her senior year, will see each other again in the playoffs.
Smith, a senior, said if everyone on the team plays up to their potential, the team should be able to do anything they put their minds to - including a league title.
“I love this team so much and I’m super happy to be playing with everyone for another season,” Smith said. “It’s a little bitter-sweet because as exciting as it is, I get a little sad when I think that our group of seniors are playing together for the last time this year.”
Another senior, Loveland, said this will be the fourth season the seniors have played together.
“This team is a close-knit group on and off the court and we have good communication on the floor,” Loveland said. “This is going to be an exciting season for Badger volleyball. We are ready to win league and go win Yosemite High a section title.”
The Yosemite team, along with the Yosemite girls soccer team, were named CIF State Academic Champions last year for volleyball. The selections are made from the 1,590 schools in the state in all divisions.
The Yosemite team plays at Madera South on Aug. 29, will compete in the Carmichael Tournament in Sacramento Sept. 1, and will travel to Minarets for a game with the Mustangs on Sept. 5.
The next home game for the team is on Sept. 12, when the Lady Badgers host Immanuel.
The team’s first North Sequoia League game is at Chowchilla on Sept. 24.
This year’s squad is made up of seven seniors and six juniors.
JV team off to good start
The Yosemite JV team also beat Reedley winning two out of three sets (25-20, 25-23, 15-11), and beat Madera High last Thursday (25-15, 25-21).
Against Reedley, Yosemite’s Kayla Truelove contributed 12 kills and Alexis Clarke had five ace serves.
In the game against Madera, Kelsie Wasem and Madison Gipson both had five kills.
The team is made up of three juniors, seven sophomores, and two freshman.
Coached by Tricia Ruiz, the JV team is looking for it’s third straight NSL championship this season, having gone 20-0 in league in the two previous seasons.
“I’m working on putting together the strongest team possible, but it’s tough because there is so much talent in this group,” Ruiz said. “I’m expecting this team to do well in league, and hopefully we will bring home another league championship.”
This year, Yosemite is also fielding a freshman and frosh-soph teams.