FRC’s Lindsey Ball prepares to serve against Santa Rosa Junior College. The Eagles lost the match, allowing Santa Rosa to head to the State tournament. Photos by James Wilson
The Feather River College volleyball team faced something Nov. 27 it hasn’t faced since the beginning of the 2012 season; a loss.
The Santa Rosa Junior College Bear Cubs played FRC in the final round of playoffs. The winner advanced to the state championship tournament. In a three game match, Santa Rosa beat the Eagles.
“We made a lot of mistakes,” said Eagles’ coach Sarah Ritchie. “We made 48 unforced errors and we lost by only eight points. Santa Rosa didn’t beat us; we beat ourselves.”
The Eagles had problems at the net throughout the match. Whereas FRC normally excels in its serving game, against Santa Rosa the team fell short.
“We made mistakes that we never make,” continued Ritchie. “We were doing things we haven’t done all season. We hit the ball out of bounds multiple times. We just... I hate saying the word ‘choked’, but there’s no other word to describe how we played.”
FRC faced Santa Rosa earlier in the season in a tournament match. FRC won 2-1. That match was one of the two matches Santa Rosa lost all year. Before Nov. 27, FRC also only lost two matches.
The California Community College Athletic Association seeded FRC second and Santa Rosa third. Santa Rosa played immaculately, and only made six errors the entire match.
The first game was fairly evenly matched, but the Eagles were noticeably taken aback by the skill level of Santa Rosa. The Bear Cubs returned nearly every Eagle attack. Santa Rosa won 25-22.
Santa Rosa got an early lead in the second game to lead 15-7 at one point. The Eagles fired back and kept the ball bouncing back to the Bear Cubs’ territory. Slowly but steadily the Eagles started coming back.
Toward the end of the game Marilyn Agae served up a wicked ace to tie Santa Rosa 23-23. Santa Rosa regained its momentum, however, and finished the game 25-23.
The Eagles started game three determined to win and quickly gained a 6-4 lead. The Bear Cubs came back however to lead 10-7. The lead mimicked the ball by going back and forth between the two teams.
Feather River came back to tie the game 17-17. Santa Rosa’s technical abilities proved too much for the Eagles, however, and the Bear Cubs knocked the Eagles out of the playoffs with a 25-21 victory in game three.
“(Santa Rosa) was very good on defense and extremely tough servers,” said Ritchie. This is the first time this year we’ve seen a team serve that good.”
Though Santa Rosa won, the Eagles fought extremely hard to make Santa Rosa earn its victory.
Amber Hall led the Eagles with 16 kills and eight digs. All-State player Callie Aberle hammered eight kills and two aces. Jeanette Van Sickle added six more kills for the Eagles.
“(Hall) did great,” said Ritchie. “She really showed up. If we would have had one more player not make as many mistakes we would have won.”
The sophomores on the team traveled to Los Angeles Nov. 30 for a sophomore showcase; another chance to show college scouts what they’re made of. All the sophomores on the team had several colleges talking to them about recruitment.
FRC ended its season with a school record season; 31-3. The Eagles went undefeated in conference; never even getting to a fourth game. The Eagles were only one game away from breaking a state record of the most wins in a single season.
“We had a phenomenal season,” said Ritchie. “The girls played well and they are just the greatest team. I want to be around them every single day. They really made me love my