The Yosemite High girls volleyball team prepared for its run at a North Sequoia League title beating 23 teams, usually in three straight sets, with only three teams finding a way to defeat the talented and athletic Lady Badgers.
This is the team that had a 35-5 record, were the undefeated NSL Champs, and went on to the semifinal round of the CIF Central Section D-III Championship Tournament as the No. 3 seed. And they did all that without a senior on the roster.
The D-III team is currently ranked No. 8 amongst all schools in the Central Section by maxpreps.com.
This is a team, with a veteran coach in Michele Chenowith, without any ‘star’ egos to deal with, that has grown close on and off the court, and are playing as close to perfection as can be expected at this stage of the season. It’s a well balanced team, bringing a strong offense to the court and an equally strong defense - both improving with every game that’s played.
The team showed a good Liberty Hawks team (17-5, 1-1 NSL) last Thursday why they are the heavy favorite to win another league title this year. Before league play started, Chenowith said Liberty would be a big test for the Badgers.
To the displeasure of the home crowd at Madera Ranchos, the Badgers beat the Hawks in three straight sets (25-22, 25-20, 25-16). The Hawks will get another shot at the Badgers when they visit Oakhurst on Oct. 17.
Quick game with Kerman
The team opened league play at home on Sept. 26, hosting Kerman (8-10, 0-2 NSL).
If people arrived late to the Harry H. Baker Gymnasium, they might have missed a lot of the game that lasted just 45 minutes. No one on the team broke a sweat during the overpowering three set win (25-5, 25-8, 25-4).
In the third set, Siena Oswald had 17 straight service points, 8 of them as ace serves. She is currently ranked No. 3 in the NSL in digs (113), followed by No. 4 and No. 5, Sayda Taylor (123), and Tiffany Cacy (110).
After the Kerman game Taylor, a junior, said the team is playing well and everyone is excited to start league play.
“We will play our best to get as far as we can this year,” Taylor said.
Oswald was a bit more direct, stating, “We’re ready to win league and go to the playoffs.”
Taylor is currently No. 1 in the NSL in blocks, with teammates Karee Smith, and Rachel Loveland ranked No. 2 and 3.
Cacy, Jordyn Jackson, and Samantha Rockey are ranked No. 3, 4 and 5 respectively in the NSL for assists.
JV team also gets two wins
The Yosemite JV team also beat Liberty and Kerman to open league play.
Coach Tricia Ruiz said her team has cut down on errors and it “made us almost unstoppable.”
In the win over Liberty, Ruiz said Amanda Truelove played a great game with 5 kills and 2 service aces.
“Emily Walton passed well out of the back row getting 5 perfect passes and 4 digs,” Ruiz said. “Our team doesn’t have just one standout player so we need the whole team to work together to get our wins, and this week they really proved they can.”
The teams played Washington Union Tuesday, and host Chowchilla Oct. 5. JV game at 5 p.m., varsity 6:30 p.m.. Chowchila’s Kinsley Vlot, a junior, leads the league in kills (174), and digs (163).
NOTE: See Union results and more photos from Liberty game at www.sierrastar.com.
A lot of weapons
Smith and Taylor lead the team in kills with 140 and 138, with Smith scoring on 90% of her shots and Taylor on 87% of hers.
Those kill shot points have been ‘set’ by Cacy with an impressive 266, followed by Jordyn Jackson with 154, and Samantha Rockey recording 130.
It’s Taylor and Oswald with the most point-saving digs at 123 and 113 respectively, with Cacy close behind at 110.
Smith and Loveland were tied with 42 blocked shots through 26 games, just one ahead of Taylor who had 41.
Smith made 99% of her serves for 207 points (25 aces) and Cacy made 96% of her serves for 186 points (30 aces serves). Oswald made 93% of her serves for 184 points (25 aces).
Combined individual stats for 26 games prior to the start of league play