by Matt Folsom
Any win is a big win for a first-year program, but the Sierra College beach volleyball team's 3-2 win over Foothill last Friday gave the upstart Wolverines at realistic shot at third place in the Coast conference and a postseason berth.
The three-hour trek from Rocklin to the Main Beach in Santa Cruz, an idyllic setting for beach volleyball, provided Sierra with a look at just how improved coach Alanna Whitnack's Wolverines are. While dropping five straight-set matches to undefeated Cabrillo in the opener, each match was competitive, especially the 1's, where Sierra's Ally Wubben and Stefanie Christofferson fell 21-16 and 24-22 to the Seahawk team of Mitchell and Ehritt, and the 2's, where Cabrillo's Smallwood and Frazzoni outlasted Sierra's Sarah Shively and Sophie Satterlee 22-20 and 21-19.
Sierra fell behind Foothill 2-1 in the afternoon match, only to see Wubben/Christofferson and Shively/Satterlee pull out three-set wins over Owls Ho/Maffei and Mauricio/Dame for the victory. Sierra 5's Cassidy Reid and Mackenzie Harrison started off the match with a 19-21, 21-18, 15-3 win over Owls Khayatah and Blackburn.
Sierra's Whitnack said the Foothill win, "showed we have improved every week. While we lost Brittany Boerstra to a (season-ending) shoulder injury three weeks ago, we added (indoor All-NorCal libero) Sarah Shively."
The Wolverines (2-3) travel to Saratoga Friday (4/8) to take on West Valley (1-4) and Gavilan (3-2). Wins over the Vikings and the Rams would thrust Sierra into third in the Coast behind NorCal powers Cabrillo (5-0) and Feather River (4-1) with two weeks left in the regular season.