Ripon Christian entered Bud Castle Gym on Thursday night full of loud energy.
Maggie Beck / Union Democrat Sonora’s Leah Dambacher makes a dig with support from teammate Bailey Henington on Thursday against Ripon Christian at Bud Castle Gym.
Before the teams took the floor to warmup for their second round volleyball clash in the Division IV Sac-Joaquin Section Championships, the Knights were cheering wildly for several minutes in the visiting locker room. When they hit the floor, the Knights again voiced approval and clapped after every move a teammate would make.
But then the Golden Regiment Marching Band entered the building and changed that tune.
Soon everything was drowned by drums, trumpets and tubas and Sonora fans and the Wildcats responded with a performance like the champions they are.
The Wildcats are in the final four, and one win away from their second straight appearance in the section championship game after defeating the feisty Knights 3-0 (25-17, 25-13, 25-11).
“I’ve never seen an atmosphere like ours,” said Wildcat head coach Kim Evans. “And it was interesting, we do a lot of quiet visualization and Ripon Christian was just in their room being so loud, almost singing for 10 minutes as we’re trying to focus. So they came out with a lot of energy. But as soon as the band walked in, you could all see them turn and look and stare … Our home court advantage is huge.”
The Calaveras Redskins girls’ volleyball team got off to a slow start in the quarterfinals of the Division IV Sac-Joaquin Section Championships and could never fully recover.
Jesse Jones / Union Democrat Calaveras outside hitter Dakota Butzler (left) rises for an attack on Thursday at Mike Flock Gym in San Andreas.
No. 3 Calaveras dropped its first two sets and lost a nail-biter in the third to fall 3-0 (25-22, 25-18, 25-23) against the No. 6 Ripon Indians on Thursday night at Mike Flock Gym in San Andreas.
“We were just kind of out of kink,” Redskins head coach Pam DiBasilio said. “There was a hitch in the beginning today. We had a lot more errors than we typically do, especially in the first two games. We were just reacting to the ball instead of reading and playing it tonight, unfortunately. But we brought it back in the third game and started doing our thing.”
It has been two years since the Sonora Wildcats were last in a playoff game.
After finishing the season with a 9-1 record they will come into the playoffs as the number two seed and face off against a 7-3 Marysville team that runs a similar offense to the Wildcats.
The Wildcats defense will be the key for them to walk away with a victory this Friday night at Dunlavy Field.
Pass, set, KILL!
Maggie Beck / Union Democrat Sonora Wildcats (from left) Grace Hernandez, Bella Bergamaschi, Shannon Friend, Bailey Henington (3), Kristin Chormicle and Leah Dambacher (5) celebrate a point won on Tuesday vs. Hughson at Bud Castle Gym.
Again and again.
Eight times in Sonora’s first nine points in the second set came on precise passes, perfect sets, and hammer spikes as the Wildcats flexed their muscles against the Hughson Huskies on Tuesday night in the first round of the Division IV volleyball Sac-Joaquin Section Championships at Bud Castle Gym.
After playing fairly even with the Huskies through most of the first set, Sonora lead 16-12 before pulling away to win 25-14, the No. 1 ranked Wildcats throttled the No. 16 Huskies in Game 2, 25-7, and finished them off in Game 3, 25-15, to advance to the quarterfinals on Thursday against No. 8 Ripon Christian.
“I thought it was great that we came out and played our best and beat them in three sets, which was our goal,” said Wildcat senior outside hitter Shannon Friend, who tallied a game-high eight kills. “I think we’re pretty confident. Our goal is to win section and go to state. And I think all of us believe we can do that, which helps us win games.”
The Calaveras Redskins volleyball team made winning look easy.
No. 3 Calaveras raced to a 10-point lead in the opening set and coasted to a 3-0 (25-11, 25-11, 25-17) victory over No. 14 Highlands in the first round of the Division IV Sac-Joaquin Section Girls Volleyball Championships on Tuesday at Mike Flock Gym in San Andreas.
The Redskins splattered 34 kills and senior outside hitters Dakota Butzler and Hannah Hull tied for the team-lead with eight.
Calaveras advances to the quarterfinals and will next host No. 6 Ripon this Thursday.
“It’s exciting, very exciting,” Redskins head coach Pam DiBasilio said. “The win moves us up one bracket. We’re trying to get to the end.”
The Sonora Wildcats girls’ water polo team stayed neck-to-neck with Rio Americano up until the final minute.
With only one goal separating the two squads throughout the entire game, Rio Americano gave itself some breathing room when the Raiders scored on a defensive error with 59 seconds left to give themselves a two-strike advantage.
No. 1 Rio Americano held on as the final seconds ticked away and defeated No. 3 Sonora 7-5 on Tuesday in the quarterfinals of the Division II Sac-Joaquin Section Girls Water Polo Championships at Whitney High School in Rocklin.
“The error — made by our center defender — was due to a very heads up, aggressive attempt to steal the center pass, which missed by centimeters and likely would have given us a last chance to tie the game,” said Wildcats head coach Matt Personius. “We pushed the No. 2 (overall) seed in D2 harder than anyone expected us to. And, to be honest, I really felt that we were the better team overall tonight, but fell short on misplays that could easily have gone our way.”
Summerville Bear fullback Nathaniel Ulvevadet saved one of his finest performances for the regular season finale.
Jesse Jones / Union Democrat Summerville’s Nathaniel Ulvevadet (33, above left) is congratulated after his touchdown run by Kole Elkins.
Ulvevadet, making his sixth start of the year, rushed for a team-high 90 yards and scored a career-best four touchdowns, including a bulldozing 39-yard run that helped Summerville top the Linden Lions 42-28 and clinch a playoff berth on Friday at Thorsted Field in Tuolumne.
“I had some really great blocks from my line,” Ulvevadet said. “I can’t speak any better about them. They just gave me some really good holes, and I was able to run hard for them.”
For the first time in nearly two decades, the Calaveras Redskins football team will not be in the playoffs.
Calaveras ball carrier Jason Stokkeland looks for running room on Friday night against Amador at Frank Meyer Field in San Andreas. Maggie Beck / Union Democrat
A 13-8 defeat to the Amador Buffaloes Friday night at Frank Meyer Field was a loss the Skins could not afford.
Calaveras found itself down 13-0 early in the first quarter following a pick-six and a 1-yard touchdown run by Logan Collins.
With Amador driving on its second possession of the game, the Skins defensive line took control.
Stephen Brookshire, Todd Carter, and freshman John Kelley all made big tackles to stop the Buffaloes momentum.
The Skins had trouble moving the ball on a fast Amador defense. Both Connor Hamilton and Cameron Moore found it difficult running the ball early in the game.
“Their backers filled really well tonight,” Hamilton said. “They are the first team since Sonora that filled that hard with their linebackers. They also tackled really well in open space.”
Marquell Hubbard didn’t think his shot was going to fall.
After Sacramento City missed a free throw with 5.8 seconds remaining in the Tony Costello Memorial Tournament championship game at Las Positas College in Livermore, Hubbard drove down the floor and let the ball fly from about 18 feet with two defenders’ arms drenched in his face.
Hubbard’s shot beat the buzzer, and the ball rattled into the rim as the Columbia College Claim Jumpers men’s basketball team captured the tournament title by beating Sacramento City 60-59 on Saturday in the eight-team bracket.
“It was amazing,” Hubbard said of his game-winning shot. “It was an incredible feeling. I wasn’t sure if it was going to fall because I had someone in my face. I had to go under his arm and make the shot.”
The pressure was on.
Jesse Jones / Union Democrat Summerville goalie Josh Freedman makes a diving save during the shootout Thursday to help the Bears beat Gustine at Thorsted Field.
After 100 minutes of play, which included two overtime periods, Gustine and Summerville battled to a scoreless game to force a penalty kick shootout.
But the playoff stage never got too big for the Mother Lode League champion Summerville Bears boys’ soccer team.
Summerville goalkeeper Josh Freedman made a key save, and Braden Anderson, Constantin Rust and Jonah Funk converted from the penalty spot to help the No. 2 Bears prevail 3-2 over the No. 7 Gustine Redskins in the first round of the Division VI Sac-Joaquin Section Championships on Thursday at Thorsted Field in Tuolumne.
“We practice penalty shootouts at practice,” Rust said. “So we were prepared, but obviously we really wanted to end the game in regulation.”