In a game to decide the champion of the North Sequoia League, the Yosemite High School volleyball team (33-4, 9-1) beat rival and defending league title holder Sierra (24-4, 8-2) Thursday night at YHS (25-9, 15-25, 25-17, 25-18).
Sierra was playing for its fifth consecutive league title. The last time Yosemite won a league title was in 2011, when they split the championship with Chowchilla.
Yosemite Coach Michele Chenowith said she had very little sleep all week leading up to the game, but was confident in her team that “wanted this so bad.”
“The girls came in tonight with the right attitude and fought hard all night long to earn this championship,” Chenowith said.
Yosemite’s Siena Oswald, who started off the first set with six service points for the Badgers, said the team came together to show Sierra what they could do.
“Our defense killed it and we just increased our overall level of play as the night went on,” Oswald said.
Yosemite’s Rachel Loveland said she was glad the team was able to accomplish what they have been working for years to achieve.
“Not only did we win league by beating our rival in front of our hometown crowd, we brought our school and community together in a way that nobody will ever forget,” Loveland said. “These are the moments we will remember for the rest of our lives.”
The game was played before nearly 700 volleyball fans and the loud and repetitive chants of “This is Badger Country,” and “Let’s Go Badgers.”
Going into Thursday’s game, The Fresno Bee had Yosemite ranked No. 16 in the entire Central Section and Sierra ranked No. 17.
Yosemite was ranked No. 3 in D-III behind Mission Oak and Bakersfield Christian, while Sierra was ranked No. 1 in D-IV ahead of Liberty and Minarets.
Badgers host playoff game Nov. 4
Yosemite has received the No. 3 seed in the 12-team D-III CIF Central Section playoffs beginning on Nov. 1. The Badgers have a bye on the opening round and will host the winner of No. 6 Woodlake and No. 11 Sunnyside, at 7 p.m. on Nov. 3. The winner of that game will advance to the Nov. 8 semifinals.
The No. 1 seed went to Bakersfield Christian and No. 2 is Mission Oak of Tulare, the team that knocked Yosemite out of the playoffs last year.
Sierra has received the No. 2 seed in D-IV and will play the No. 15 seed Coalinga at home Nov. 1.
Minarets (24-7, 10-0 West Sequoia League) has received the No. 4 seed in D-IV and will host No. 13 Granite Hills Nov. 1.
Though Sierra was ranked No. 1 by the Fresno Bee, the No. 1 CIF playoff seed in D-IV went to Liberty.
Sierra beat Minarets last year for the D-IV title.
JV team beats Sierra for 10-0 season
The Yosemite JV team (27-2, 10-0), coached by Tricia Ruiz, beat Sierra (8-2 NSL) in two sets (25-22, 25-17) to win the NSL title.
It was the second year in a row that the Badger JV team went undefeated in league.
“We got off to a slow start and I could tell our nerves were playing into our mental mistakes,” Ruiz said. “After a time out and a little reminder to settle down and just play our game, we never looked back.”