The No. 3 seed Yosemite High volleyball team’s (30-11, 8-2 North Sequoia League) quest for a Central Section D-III Championship came to an end Tuesday in Tulare as the No. 2 seed Mission Oak Hawks (26-6, 10-0 EYL) beat the Badgers in three sets (25-22, 25-19, 26-24), in the semi-finals round. The Badgers let a seven point lead slip away in the third set.
The Hawks entered the game ranked No. 36 in the state in D-III by maxpreps.com, while Yosemite was ranked No. 65.
Mission Oak will advance to the D-III championship game, 3 p.m., Saturday at West Hills College in Lemoore against No. 1 seed Bakersfield Christian (23-7, 10-0 South Sequoia League), who defeated No. 4 seed Arvin (31-3, 10-2 SSL) in three straight sets Tuesday night.
Bakersfield Christian was ranked No. 17 in the state in D-III, while Arvin was ranked 53 by maxpreps.com.
In the Yosemite-Mission Oak game, Yosemite’s Savannah Bohna recorded 11 kills, with Karee Smith and Dainya DeBock adding eight and four kills. Team setter Tiffany Cacy had 22 assists on the night.
Kailei Gould had 21 point-saving digs, and four kills. Rachel Loveland had three kills.
“Mission Oak was a tough team” said Yosemite Coach Michele Chenowith. “I’m proud of our girls for playing hard tonight and all season ... we put up a good fight.”
Chenowith added the eight sophomores playing on her varsity team gained a lot of experience this year, and she is looking forward to them all returning next year, plus girls moving up from the Badger’s JV team who went 10-0 in league this season.
Yosemite defeats Reedley in quarter finals
The Badgers started three sophomores (Savannah Bohna, Tiffany Cacy, Karee Smith) as they have all season, and advanced to the semi-finals with Mission Oak after beating the No. 6 seed Reedley (14-16, 8-2 NYL) Nov. 12 at home in five sets (23-25, 25-13, 25-14, 23-25, 15-13).
After losing the opening set by two points, the Badgers came back to win the second and third sets by 12 and 11 points, respectively. The third set had seven early ties, but with the score 9-9, Yosemite went on a five-point run to make the score 14-9. Yosemite extended the score to 23-12, and Reedley was unable to recover.
The fourth set was tied 17-17, when Reedley scored four points to make the score 21-17, before finishing off the set, and setting up the fifth set of the match.
Yosemite got off to a 5-2 lead, and leading 10-6, it looked like the Badgers were ready to close out the 15-point match, but four points by Reedley evened the score at 10 each. The set was tied two more times - 12-12, and 13-13, before the Badgers ran away with two more points for the win.
With their high school volleyball careers winding down, Yosemite’s seniors came to play. Defensive specialist, Senior Kailei Gould, had 35 point-saving digs on the night, with support from senior Shelby Biscaglio’s 21 digs. Gould also had 12 kill shots, and senior Dainya DeBock added 10 kills and two blocks.
Sophomores on the team were heavy contributors to the win, including Cacy (34 assists, 13 digs), Smith (12 kills, five blocks), Bohna (12 kills), Samantha Rockey (10 assists, 10 digs), Loveland (five kills, one block, nine digs), and Siena Oswald (18 digs, one ace).
Mission Oak advanced to Thursday’s quarter final game after defeating No. 7 seed Woodlake in three sets (25-21, 25-18, 25-17). Mission Oak received Tuesday’s home court advantage due to their No. 2 seed over Yosemite’s No. 3 seed.
It was a successful year for the young Badgers who lost five key players from last year’s 15-13 team to graduation - a team that lost to San Joaquin Memorial in the playoff quarter-finals.
Chenowith, who has taught math at YHS for 22 years, returned to coaching this year after taking three years off while serving as the school’s athletic director. Her teams have tied or outright won five league titles, and three CIF D-III Central Section Championships (1997, 2000, 2001).