Tracy loses section championship

Tracy High senior Ava Stass (left) and junior Jianna Palmer go up to block a Granite Bay shot during the Sac-Joaquin Section Division 2 title match at Ripon High Saturday night.

Tracy High’s volleyball team came up against a tall, quick and disciplined Granite Bay team on Saturday night at Ripon High in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division 2 championship match, with the Granite Bay Grizzlies keeping control of the match for the 3-0 win and the SJS Division 2 championship.

The outcome puts Tracy (19-6, 8-2 Tri-City Athletic League) as the division runner-up after the Bulldogs had hoped to repeat their success of 2019 when Tracy won the SJS Division 2 title.

“My team and I were super-excited with this being our second time coming in,” said senior libero Alyssa Cargill. “We were super pumped to fight. We watched as much film as we could. We fought the best we could and they were just the better team, so we have to accept that.”

Senior outside hitter Kylie Van Os added that she and her team knew the competition would get tougher with every match, and more determined to unseat Tracy as the SJS Division 2 champion.

“This whole season, everyone is coming for us and this is the section game. Everyone wanted it all and Granite Bay didn’t let anything drop,” Van Os said. “Their hits were impeccable their serve receive was amazing. Our team just got a little bit flustered at the wrong points and weren’t able to get back in the game. We put up a good fight. It just didn’t fall in our favor tonight.”

Granite Bay (23-16, 5-5 Sierra Foothill League) won it with scores of 25-8, 25-16, 25-16. The Grizzlies started off the first set with a couple of scoring runs that put them up 15-3 before Tracy started to make scoring shots. Strong hitting from junior Jianna Palmer and blocks from senior Ava Stass and sophomore Ellie Hernandez allowed Tracy to put up some points.

Granite Bay’s speed on the court made it tougher than usual for Tracy to score. The Grizzlies were quick to move into position to dig out even the best-aimed shots from the Bulldogs, and the Grizzlies executed well-timed sets and hits at the net.

“They were really good on defense. They weren’t making a lot of mistakes,” said Staas. “They weren’t hitting into the net, they weren’t hitting it out like a lot of teams in playoffs that we did see. I think we were expecting that and weren’t expecting them to come with so much fight, and we were making more mistakes than they were.”

“We weren’t reading as much and we weren’t picking up as much tips. We didn’t do terrible. I just think we definitely could have improved a little bit.”

Tracy regrouped to start the second set. A few service points from Staas and a shot from junior outside hitter Chloe Lemons kept the set tied. Granite Bay seniors Mackenzie Wells and Hailey Erickson continued with their aggressive play at the net. Tracy kept the set close with blocks from Staas and Palmer, but the Grizzlies again took control to win the set.

Granite Bay started with the lead in the third set. The Bulldogs started to catch up with junior Taylor Gardner at the service line with support from outside hitters Van Os and Lemons. Junior Mariah Bogetti also provided blocking to keep Tracy competitive. As the Grizzlies got closer to closing out the set Lemons and Palmer made kill shots to keep Tracy in the match before the Grizzlies were able to make scoring hits past Tracy’s blocks.

The Bulldogs’ season continues next week as Tracy has qualified for the California Interscholastic Federation state championship tournament. The CIF seeding committee meets Sunday and will announce brackets after the meeting. The first round will be Tuesday night, and the first three rounds and the regional finals will be at school sites, with the state championships to be played Friday and Saturday, Nov. 19 and 20, at Santiago Canyon College in Orange.

Contact Bob Brownne at brownne@tracypress.com, or call 209-830-4227.

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