Falcons turn back scrappy Forest Lake

By: Mike Ray
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COLFAX – A familiar face is back on the sidelines for the Forest Lake Christian girls volleyball program, and that could spell trouble this season for FLC’s Central Valley California League opponents.

After a three-year hiatus, longtime Forest Lake volleyball coach Travis Smith is back. Smith, who last coached at Forest Lake from 2009 to 2016, has over 300 career wins and led the Falcons to seven CVCL championships and six CIF NorCal appearances.

“I kind of un-retired for the third time,” said Smith, who graduated from FLC in 1994 and has taught at the school for several years. “It’s good to be back, though, and the girls are working hard.”

On Tuesday night, Smith’s young Forest Lake team, which has only two seniors, went toe-to-toe with Colfax’s defending CIF Division V section champions and made the Falcons work before the hosts took a 25-22, 25-21, 25-15 win.

“I thought we were scrappy tonight,” said Smith. “Colfax is a good team, but we need to see these type of teams before league.”

Speaking of the CVCL, Smith’s Falcons will open league play Sept. 4, when Forest Lake visits defending CIF D-VI Northern California champion Woodland Christian.

“Woodland is very good,” said Smith. “We’re hoping that we can put everything together and play with them.”

If Forest Lake is going to make a run at Woodland Christian, expect for Lilly Sween to be right in the middle of things. Sween, a senior middle hitter who last spring was a CIF Master’s track qualifier in the high jump, used her athleticism to give Colfax fits in the opening two sets.

“Lilly is our leader,” said Smith about Sween who had seven kills and four blocks. “She does a good job for us.”

Others playing well for Forest Lake in the match included junior outside hitter Taylor Dunn, sophomore opposite Ellie Wood and junior libero Raegan Tanon.

“With only two seniors, we need everyone to step up,” said Smith. “It should be fun this season.”

Colfax, which improved to 3-0 on the season, didn’t seem sharp early but had enough punch in the late going of the first two sets to hold the visitors off.

Jacy Dean led Colfax in the kills department with seven. Halle Neumann added five and Grace Bliss three. In digs, Sara Detwiler collected six and Neumann added three. Colfax travels Thursday to Sutter for a 6 p.m. match.



Hillmen spike El Dorado

Placer’s girls volleyball team improved to 2-1 on the season Tuesday night with a four-set win over visiting El Dorado.

With Katie Schwab racking up 21 assists and serving up five aces, the Hillmen reeled off a 25-22, 25-20, 22-25, 29-27 verdict over the Cougars, who were last season’s CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division III champions.

“Everyone played,” said Placer coach Jennifer Wright. “It was a good win.”

Also having a hand in the victory were Heather Young (seven digs, five aces) and Emily Wright (eight kills, nine digs).

Placer’s JV and Frosh squads also notched wins. Placer hosts Casa Roble Thursday at 6 p.m.

Bear River 3, Gridley 0

Callie Bickmore’s 14 kills and three serving aces helped push the Bruins past the visiting Bulldogs from the North Section Tuesday night.

Bear River (6-1) took the match via scores of 25-10, 25-14, 25-9. Kerynn Smith added five kills while Sydney Franks contributed four. Angela Thornbury also got into the act with six kills and four aces.

The Bruins, who received 30 assists from Caitlin McLaughlin, plays at Nevada Union Thursday night.  

Woodcreek 3, Del Oro 2   

The Timberwolves spotted visiting Del Oro a 1-0 lead before roaring back to post a five-set win over the Lady Eagles.

Del Oro won the opening set 25-9, but the tide in the match soon turned as Woodcreek took the next two sets, 25-18, 25-20. Del oro tied the match with a fourth set 25-11 decision, but Woodcreek pulled it out with a 16-14 margin in the decisive fifth set.