Eagles claim piece of SVC volleyball title with upset win over Union Mine

By: Matt Long
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What a way to enter the playoffs. Vista del Lago’s varsity girls’ volleyball team upset previous unbeaten Union Mine on the road Wednesday to earn piece of the Sierra Valley Conference title, the program’s first in school history. The Eagles, 11-1 in league and 30-7 overall, beat Union Mine, 11-1 in league, 24-2-1 overall, in four games, 25-18, 25-23, 18-25 and 25-18. Vista coach Patrick Sanders was proud of his team. “We played well in a big match,” Sanders said. “I congratulated the girls and told them to celebrate.” Union Mine defeated the Eagles on Oct. 11 in three games, 25-16, 25-18 and 31-29. This time the Eagles got revenge. “We played well as a team, came together and just rallied,” sophomore outside hitter Caroline Sipiora said. “We did not give up and we fought. This is huge. I’m ecstatic. This gives us a big boost for the playoffs.” Senior setter Francesca Premier added, “We played with energy and we played together and were a team.” Vista held a slim 16-15 lead in game one before finishing with a 9-3 run to win the game handily, 25-18. Kendall Moore served for three straight points to given the team some breathing room and the Eagles won the match following a block by Brittanie McKenzie and a kill by Kelsey Sampson. Vista fell behind the second game 4-0, but came back to tie the game at eight and the teams stayed close throughout the rest of the game. With Vista trailing 23-22, Premiere scored on a tip to tie the game. A Vista block gave the Eagles the lead and Sipiora earned a kill off a Union Mine block attempt to give the Eagles a two-game lead. The Eagles fell behind 6-0 in game three and never got closer than three points on their way to a 25-18 loss. In the final game, Vista took a 7-6 lead and never lost it. Moore, Dallas Williams and McKenzie had strong serving runs with contributions coming from everywhere, including kills from Williams, Sipiora and Sampson. Vista worked up a 19-10 lead and Union Mine got no closer than four points the rest of the way. The Eagles won the game and match with a kill by Williams. On top of the hitting from Sipiora, Williams, Sampson and Moore, Premiere did an outstanding job setting the ball all night, McKenzie was strong in the middle, while Jordan Cryderman played well in the back row. “We made some defensive adjustments from the last time we played them and just played better defense this time and kept on swinging,” Sanders said. “We also dug a lot of balls and kept scoring.” Sanders said the victory probably means a home playoff game on Tuesday, as the Eagles prepare for their first taste of playoff volleyball.