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Bears sweep Colusa for 3rd straight win
Mariah Diaz was dominant at the net and the Bears swept county rival Colusa on Thursday night in Arbuckle.
The Bears' senior middle blocker led all players with seven kills, five blocks and three aces as her team won 25-12, 25-21 and 25-20.
Sophomore-heavy, Pierce (7-4) relies on the leadership of its two senior leaders in the middle - Diaz and Natalie Corona.
"When we work together as a team on the court it totally pays off and shows during game time," Diaz said.
Corona added six kills and three blocks, junior outside hitter Hilary Brainard made four kills, two aces and 13 digs, and sophomore libero Carissa Cabral fired off three aces and made 12 digs.
The Bears focused on shutting down the RedHawks dangerous junior middle hitter Teale Stacey, according to coach Kim Travis.
"I told them coming in, Teale is going to serve hard to you and Teale is going to hit it to you so you better be on your toes to get the dig, and we better be strong at the net," Travis said.
They did enough to hold Stacey to four kills, a block and an ace, but the attention the Bears paid to Stacey opened holes for RedHawks junior setter Emily Corrie - who made 14 assists in the match - to find sophomore middle hitter Alejandra Martinez for five kills.
For the first three weeks of the season Pierce struggled to find a rotation that worked well together, but last week during the Hamilton tournament they found the right mix, Travis said.
With sophomore libero Carissa Cabral and sophomore setter Molly Doherty playing key roles, Pierce is loaded with potential.
Cabral played opposite last year but shifted to libero while playing for Travis' club team during the offseason, though she was reluctant at first, Travis said.
"(Cabral) is phenomenal at it," the coach said. "She does a great job and she's a spark plug for us, it doesn't matter who I put her in for or what I tell her to do, she goes out there with the best attitude and gets it done."
Doherty steps into the setter role, which was held by seniors the last two seasons, and Travis said she is excited to see her development throughout the next three seasons.
"Molly is a young setter but she has a lot of power in her sets and she's smart, she knows who she needs to get the ball to when we need to get a point," she said.
Colusa also features a young group of players who are improving with each match, coach JayAnne Sheley said.
In a three set loss to Winters on Sept. 10, the RedHawks made 15 service errors, but against the Bears, Colusa made just two.
"We're a really good team this year," Sheley said. "We're just young so that makes it tough."
CONTACT Kirk Barron at email@example.com