Sierra beach volleyball edged by West Valley, split dual

Beach Volleyball

The Sierra College beach volleyball team split two matches March 21 in a Big 8/Coast Conference crossover.

The 7th ranked Wolverines downed San Mateo 5-0, but fell 3-2 to 10th ranked West Valley. The Vikings feature one of the toughest No. 1 duos in northern California and the match came down to a showdown between Sierra's top pair, Savanah Schroeder and Sara Schell, and the Vikings' Mapuhola Sekona and Emma Blockhus. Sekona and Blockus prevailed 21-13, 21-19 to secure wild, hard-fought match.

The Wolverines' led 2-1 after the opening round behind wins from Maddy Rowland and Kylie Shinn (3's) and Bella Orteza and Brittany Boerstra (5's).

"I take my hat off to West Valley," said Sierra head coach Alanna Whitnack. "They are a much improved team and they outworked us. We have a lot to learn and take away from the dual and those things will help us get better for the start of the inaugural season of the Big 8 beach volleyball conference."

Earlier in the day, Sierra downed San Mateo 5-0 (two matches were forfeited) behind wins from Schell and Schroeder (1's), Meghan Merlino and Kalala Strickland (2's) and Rowland and Shinn (3's).

"It has been three years in the making," said Whitnack. "And we would like to work the hardest we can to be the first team to win a Big 8 Conference beach championship."

The Wolverines travel to Quincy on Friday, March 30 to take on Feather River and College of the Redwoods (3pm).

Story by Scott Johnston, photo by Dave Lawicka