|Outside hitter Callie Aberle, a freshman from Reno, Nev., launches an attack for Feather River College. Aberle registered 14 kills in FRC’s final match.|
After winning conference with an undefeated record and securing a home playoff game in the Northern California regional brackets, the Feather River College women’s volleyball team earned an exciting win against Napa Valley College Tuesday, Nov. 22.
Playing in front of hundreds of supporters in the FRC gymnasium, the Golden Eagles pulled off a tense five-game victory, much to the delight of the home crowd.
Feather River, ranked sixth with a 21-7 record, had its hands full with 11th-ranked Napa Valley, which entered the match at 19-3 overall.
It took all five games for FRC to eliminate Napa. The final scores were 25-18, 19-25, 24-26, 25-22 and 15-6.
The Golden Eagles came out strong in game one and took a 5-1 lead, but then Napa woke up and ran the next six points to go ahead 7-5.
FRC tied the game 8-8, and then the teams traded points up to a 17-17 tie.
The Golden Eagles then went on an 8-1 run to take game one 25-18.
In game two, FRC and Napa were tied at five, until Napa ran eight straight points to 5-13, and then continued building to a 7-17 lead.
Determined not to roll over, Feather River then outscored Napa 12-6 to get within four points at 19-23, but Napa scored the last two points to take game two.
With the match tied 1-1, the intensity ramped up in game three. Both teams fought hard for every point, resulting in a close game with many lead changes.
Near the end, FRC fought back from a 14-18 deficit to tie the game 19-19 and then take a 22-21 lead. However, Napa clutched up and won in extra points, 24-26, taking a 2-1 lead.
Stunned after losing two straight games, FRC quickly fell behind 1-6 in game four, but then suddenly recovered and went on a 8-1 run to take a 9-7 lead, prompting Napa to take a timeout.
The Golden Eagles continued to pull ahead up to 20-14, until Napa ran five straight and then tied the game at 22-22.
Facing a must-win situation, Feather River took care of business by winning three straight points to take game four 25-22, and force a game five.
It was all FRC in the final game, as the Golden Eagles jumped out to a 9-1 lead and sealed the deal at 15-6 to take the match.
FRC coach Sarah Ritchie said she was mad at her team for playing poorly, but acknowledged that her players delivered when it mattered most.
With the victory, Feather River advanced to the second round of the playoffs against third-seeded American River College in Sacramento Saturday, Nov. 26.
Again, the match went the full five games, but this time FRC was eliminated. The defeat was particularly tough because Feather River won the first two games, but then lost the next three.
“It was a heartbreaker,” said Ritchie. “We were up the first two games and just couldn’t seal the deal.”
After taking the first two games 25-22 and 25-20, Feather River lost the next three 17-25, 18-25 and 8-15.
“The girls played well and I’m extremely proud of them,” said Ritchie.
Freshman Callie Aberle led the Golden Eagles with 14 kills. Sophomore Jovana Sisovic claimed 12 kills and five blocks. Freshman Lindsey Ball earned eight aces and 14 digs. Freshman Marilyn Agae delivered 42 assists and 10 digs.
Feather River completed its season with a conference record of 10-0 and an overall record of 22-8.