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Sutter takes two-game lead before stumbling in semis
Yreka stages comeback to stun Huskies
They held a commanding lead and had the match all but in hand, but something happened on Thursday night that had everyone involved with the Sutter High volleyball program shaking their heads in disbelief afterward.
After taking a two games to none advantage in their Northern Section Division IV semifinal against No. 5 Yreka, the top-seeded Huskies saw their season come to an end in the worst possible way as the visiting Miners rallied all the way back to earn a thrilling five-set victory.
Sutter (22-8) took the first two games by scores of 25-18 and 25-21, before Yreka (29-7) fought back to take the next two sets by scores of 25-17 and 25-23.
The Huskies also took an 8-4 lead in the fifth and deciding game, only to see Yreka stage a late run to win by the closest of margins, 15-13.
"It went down to the wire and that's all you can ask for. It was a great game and both teams made amazing plays," said Sutter coach Ann Reynolds. "There's not any one thing I can contribute to their win or our loss. It's a 50-50 game, and a team wins and a team loses.
"We did our best, they just had I few more hits and kills than we did, I guess."
Nothing could really explain how or when the match changed for good, and the final result even had Yreka coach Scott Eastman at a loss for words.
"That was wacky. It was a slugfest, but both teams struggled to get their shots down," Eastman said. "I've been coaching 15 years and I've never been a part of a game like that. I'll have to check the stats to see how we won."
A big part of Yreka's win was the play at the net by senior captain Emily Andrus, who finished the evening with a team-high 15 kills. Also coming up big for the Miners was libero Lacie Landrum, who seemed to be all over the court while producing 21 digs.
But the Huskies weren't without some standout performances of their own.
Senior Ava Payton turned in another excellent all-around game while finishing with 15 kills and four digs, Erika Larsen tallied nine kills and Bianca Almeida added seven.
Savannah Besso dished out 37 assists, Brooke Smallwood and Alix Russell had nine digs each and Kylee Sallaberry tallied eight digs in the loss.
With the win, the Miners advance to the section title game on Saturday in Red Bluff against No. 2 West Valley, which beat defending champion Willows on Thursday on the other side of the bracket.
"It's always disappointing. You don't compete to lose, you compete to win," Reynolds said. "I don't think they have anything to be upset about. They played fabulous tonight, but it just wasn't our time."