The River Valley High girls volleyball team answered its first test in defense of its Capital Valley Conference title Thursday with a three-set victory at home over rival Yuba City, 25-13, 26-24, 25-11.
Outside hitter Jaclyn Ruiz led the way with 10 kills while Ravleen Kaur aided the Falcons’ up-tempo attack with five kills over the span of three sets.
Yuba City’s Kaitlyn VanPoole led the Honkers (1-3, 1-1 CVC) with five kills in defeat.
“We’re running a faster offense (this year) and having Jaclyn not only lead the way but showing the other players how we can run a faster offense is a huge help,” River Valley coach Grayson Agpawa said. “Yuba City has some athletes – I’ve coached many of them in club – they’re a great group. I can see them doing a lot better throughout the year.”
The Falcons used its sped-up offense, coupled with a few too many errors from Yuba City to grab a commanding 15-5 opening-set lead. Kaur quickly helped to putaway Yuba City with a kill, giving River Valley (3-1, 1-0) the 1-0 lead in the best-of-five match.
Yuba City was able to keep pace with River Valley in the second, tying the set at 10 courtesy of a 5-2 run. The Honkers never trailed by more than five in the set, as VanPoole was able to find some rhythm on the outside and Jordyn Martins and Rylee Sims each powered home a couple winners to stay right on the Falcons’ tails. Down 18-13, Yuba City clawed its way back to a 24-23 deficit courtesy of a transition kill by Brianna Santana.
River Valley’s Mackenzie Van Valkenburgh came right back with a transition putaway as River Valley jumped back ahead 25-24. River Valley finished off the late rally and the second set, 26-24.
“We know our team has resiliency and always keeps its head up no matter the situation,” Agpawa said. “It’s a great group of girls.”
The late offensive push by River Valley seemed to carryover in the third and final set, with the hosts getting way out in front, 11-3 courtesy of a Van Valkenburgh block and kill from Ruiz.
River Valley opened the third set on a 9-1 run and proceeded to extend its lead to 23-9 followed by another block by the 6-foot-1 Van Valkenburgh.
Maddie Brown added three kills, while Van Valkenburgh found holes in the Yuba City defense twice to aid the offense.
River Valley continues league action Tuesday at Roseville. Yuba City returns next Thursday on the road against CVC foe Bella Vista.