Badgers’ magical volleyball season ends in state quarterfinals

Chloe Duke, a senior, goes for a kill against Kelseyville in the first round of the state Northern California Division III playoffs.
Chloe Duke, a senior, goes for a kill against Kelseyville in the first round of the state Northern California Division III playoffs. Special to the Sierra Star

As so many of the Badger Faithful now know, the magical 2018 Yosemite High volleyball season ended Nov. 8 in Oakhurst. Presentation High of San Jose defeated the top-seeded Badgers three sets to one (21-25, 25-11, 25-14, 25-21) in the Northern California Division III quarterfinals.

Eighth-seeded Presentation is on a roll. The Panthers (16-18) defeated Christian Brothers of Sacramento 3-1 on Saturday to advance to the NorCal final on Nov. 13 against No. 6 seed Head-Royce of Oakland.

For Yosemite, the D-III playoffs are a different world. Presentation is an all-girls Catholic school that costs $17,930 per year in tuition; 95 percent of its graduates go on to college. Presentation arrived last week in Oakhurst in a Mercedes bus.

Head-Royce is also a private school. In the SoCal Region, Ontario Christian met El Capitan of Lakeside in the regional final. Of the state’s D-III Final Four only El Capitan is a public school – with an enrollment of around 1,600 students. Yosemite sits at about 650.

It is certainly an advantage being a private school in many sports. Private schools can recruit and public schools cannot. Presentation draws from the Silicon Valley. The Badger players live only in the Yosemite Unified School District.

It is a credit to our students and coaching staff to have achieved so much.

For Mountain area volleyball fans it is still hard to comprehend that this amazing season is over. To me, the 2018 season was one of the greatest ever.

It is the first YHS volleyball title since 2004, ninth overall. And that 2004 team coached by Tammy Thacker did not win league but got hot in the playoffs.

In 2018, the Badgers went 39-9 overall and 10-0 in the North Sequoia League – one of the best small-school volleyball leagues around. Chowchilla was the Central Section title winner in Division IV. Washington Union won the D-V title. NSL teams Kerman and Sierra were also in the Central Section playoffs. YHS defeated Madera South (a school of 2,900-plus students) in the Central Section D-III championships.

Madera South, Chowchilla and Washington Union moved on to the state championships in NorCal D-V as the top three seeds. YHS stayed in D-III.

The CIF seeding process continues to be an enigma to me. How does a large school like Madera South go from playing in the D-III Central Section title match to playing in the D-V state championships? That is a column for another day.

The Badgers can be proud that they beat them all. To the players, parents, and coaches, congratulations on a historic season. It was a lot of fun.