In what Yosemite High senior Savannah Bohna called the most competitive game of the year, the Badger’s volleyball team, (25-3, 4-0 North Sequoia League), playing before a home crowd of 400, beat a good Chowchilla (20-7, 3-1 NSL) squad in three sets Sept. 5 (25-15, 27-25, 25-16).
“We came out strong and stayed strong throughout all three sets,” Bohna said.
Coach Michele Chenowith said she knew Chowchilla would be tough - “And I think they have more in them. It’s not easy to ride the bus up here and play on our court. We will have to bring our A game when we go to Chowchilla.”
Chenowith said her squad showed a lot of teamwork, and held strong in winning all the long rallys in the game.
“We are our best competition in practice - we push each other to get better every day,” Chenowith said. “I’m fortunate to have a team that if one or two players are having an off night, there are four or five other players that can step up to fill those shoes.”
At the end of play last week, Maxpreps.com had Yosemite ranked as the No. 1 team in the Central Section D-III. The team is ranked No. 8 amongst all schools in the Central Section.
In the first set, Yosemite jumped out to an 8-4 lead, and kept Chowchilla at bay throughout the match, scoring five unanswered points for a 24-15 lead. Bohna made the kill shot that give the Badgers the 25-15 win.
In the second set, the most exciting of the night, Yosemite again scored first and had a 7-4 lead, only to see Chowchilla tie the game at 10-10. The game, with many long rallys between the two teams, was tied two more times at 14-14 and 18-18.
Yosemite got a 20-19 lead, but Chowchilla came back to take the lead 21-20. Like two prize fighters, the two teams continued to exchange blows, with the Badgers getting a two-point lead at 24-22, and finishing out the game with a 27-25 win.
The set seemed to take a little steam out of Chowchilla. After an early 3-2 lead in the third set, Chowchilla never regained the lead, at one point falling behind 19-10, before Yosemite cruised to the 25-16 win.
Bohna had her best game of the season, leading the team in kills with 12. She was the only member of last year’s team to receive All-League honors. Karee Smith had another strong game with 8 digs, 5 kills and 2 blocks.
Senior Tiffany Cacy, who was the team’s MVP last year, just missed a double-double with 13 assists, and 9 digs.
Junior Sayda Taylor finished the night with 7 kills and 3 blocks, with another junior, Chloe Duke, recording 6 kills. Siena Oswald had 12 digs.
For Chowchilla, Allison Cargil had a team high 8 kills and 13 digs, and Kinsley Vlot recorded 7 kills, 13 digs, and 3 ace serves.
Sophomore Emily Seals had 18 assists and Adriana Felsinger had 2 blocked shots.
“I felt like we beat ourselves, between missed serves and hitting out and finally not talking and trusting one another,” said Chowchilla Coach Ashley Wiens. “ We hold Yosemite up really high because they’ve always been good ... we just forget to count ourselves in that we are a very talented group of athletes who have what it takes. I think my players are going to be out for redemption when they come to Chowchilla (Oct. 24) - that’s one of the things they have worked towards this season, redeeming losses from last year as well as this one against Yosemite.”
On Oct. 3, the team traveled to Easton, to give the Washington Union Panthers its third league loss, beating them in three sets (25-16, 25-10, 25-3).
Over the past two seasons, and through last week, Yosemite has compiled an overall win-loss record of 64-16, sharing the North Sequoia League title with Sierra in 2015 and winning the title outright last year. Prior to that, Sierra had won four consecutive NSL titles.
Last season the No. 3 seeded Badgers advanced to the D-III Central Section semifinal round, losing to No. 2 seed Mission Oak Hawks in three sets. Mission Oaks was then defeated by Bakersfield Christian (34-1) for the section title.
JV team remains undefeated
Yosemite’s JV team also had a good week, beating Washington Union (21-25, 25-16, 15-8), and Chowchilla (25-22, 25-17).
Against Union, Kelsie Wasem recorded 6 kills, and Kaylee Smith had 5 service aces and 6 digs.
Against Chowchilla, Madison Gibson had her best game of the season, with a perfect serve/receive game, 10 digs and 4 kills.
Setter Isabelle Magee had 15 assists in the game.
“Isabelle is really learning how to run an unstoppable offense,” Coach Tricia Ruiz said.
Ruiz is happy with the improvement the team is making game after game.
“These girls are starting to play more consistently without making many errors, and this helps us to run a tough offense and push through on tough games,” Ruiz said. “I’m really proud of the way the team came together and worked like the team we have been trying to be ... talking and helping each other on the court the entire game.”
The team went undefeated in winning the NSL title the past two seasons giving the team a current three-year league record of 24-0.
The Oct. 5 game was also the annual fundraising night for cancer. This year the funds collected through t-shirt, cupcake, and cookie sales, along with a silent auction, raised more than $2,000.
Team member Rachel Loveland coordinated the event for her senior project.
But unlike past years, where the funds were passed on to the Central Valley Chapter, American Cancer Society, the money this year is going to two women in the community who have been affected by breast cancer.
“We felt this is the least we can do for what they have endured,” Loveland said. “We are still selling t-shirts and open to donations if anyone wishes to donate.”
On the road
Yosemite is on the road this week, having played Sierra (7-8, 2-2 NSL) on Tuesday (see www.sierrastar.com for results), and at Kerman today (Oct. 12).
The game at Sierra will mark the halfway point of league play. Sierra had a chance to share the league title with Yosemite last year, but couldn’t pull off the win in the last league game of the season.
Sierra’s team is made up of 3 seniors, 7 juniors and two freshman. Freshman Sydney Wyman is the tallest player on the team at 5-foot-10.
Yosemite steam-rolled Kerman (8-12, 0-4 NSL) when they played at Yosemite on Sept. 26 in three lopsided sets (25-5, 25-8, 25-4).
The teams return home to play Liberty on Oct. 17, and Washington Union on Oct. 19. In the first round of league play, the Badgers beat both teams in three sets. Games times are 5 p.m. for the JV match and 6:30 for varsity.
The league game of the year will be at Chowchilla on Oct. 24. Yosemite should still be undefeated, and Chowchilla is expected to have just the one loss against Yosemite going into the game. Chowchilla, on it’s loud home court, could share the league title with the Badgers if they can win.