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Carmichael Times

Bella Vista girls volleyball season ends in 1st round of D2 playoffs

Oct 26, 2022 12:00AM ● By By Shaun Holkko, sports editor

The Bella Vista girls varsity volleyball team won the 2022 Capital Valley Conference Championship with a 10-2 record in league play. Photo courtesy of Jackie SufflÃ(c)

FAIR OAKS, CA (MPG) – The Bella Vista girls varsity volleyball team’s 2022 season came to an end on Tuesday, October 25 with a loss to No. 9 seed Linden in the first round of the Division II CIF Sac-Joaquin Girls Volleyball Playoffs.

The Broncos (18-6, 10-2 Capital Valley Conference) were the No. 8 seed in the postseason tournament. Bella Vista entered the playoffs on a four-match winning streak and winners of seven of its last eight.

On Tuesday night, the Lions (24-3, 14-0 San Joaquin Athletic Association) prevailed in a grueling five set match. The Broncos controlled the first set, winning by a double-digit margin at 25-15. Linden responded in the second set and took it 25-19 to even the games at one a piece.

The score flipped in the third set, as Bella Vista won it 25-19. The Broncos had a chance to close out the match and advance in the fourth set. However, the Lions narrowly stayed alive, winning the fourth set 25-23.

Linden prevailed in the fifth set by the same margin, earning the match victory with a 15-13 fifth set. The Lions prevailed 3-2 to advance in the playoffs, where they will face No. 1 seed Whitney in the quarterfinals.

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“Although the outcome was not in our favor, the game is something BV girls should be proud of,” Bella Vista coach Jackie Sufflé told the American River Messenger. “They have the heart of champions, and that showed through with every set that was played.”

Despite the first-round postseason exit, Bella Vista and its fans have a lot to be proud of from this season. The Broncos had a 10-2 record in league play which earned them the CVC title, their first since 2015 when the team made the postseason in back-to-back years.

According to Sufflé, there were four key players who stood out the most on this year’s team. Senior outside hitter and co-captain Dani Brown was Bella Vista’s top hitter with her power and accuracy, making her one of the best in the CVC. Senior Taryn Henry stepped up as the Broncos’ only setter for three quarters of the year.

Sophomore opposite hitter Gillian Rossi continued to progress with her hitting and passing, surprising everyone along the way. Fourth and finally, senior co-captain Piper Jones was the team’s only libero all season, selflessly committing to defense and setting her teammates up for kill opportunities.

Bella Vista had several winning streaks this year. After beginning the season with back-to-back losses in non-league action, the Broncos won five in a row. Bella Vista’s first streak came to an end when it was swept at home by Woodcreek in CVC play. The Broncos followed that loss with a six-match winning streak.

At the Carmichael Invitational Volleyball Tournament on September 24, Bella Vista swept their first three matches. However, the Broncos' second streak came to an end in the last match of the day with a two-set sweep loss against Rio Americano.

Following the loss to the Raiders, Bella Vista won three straight matches, but had another streak ended by Woodcreek. The Timberwolves once again swept the Broncos in three-sets, this time on their home court in Roseville.

However, Bella Vista got the last laugh as it finished as CVC champions with Woodcreek finishing in second place, one game behind the Broncos. Bella Vista’s fourth and final win streak of the year was the one they had going into the playoffs, which was snapped at four.

RELATED: Bella Vista blows past Cordova in season opener

The Broncos had six seniors on this year’s league winning team. The Bella Vista players graduating this year are Jones, Brown, Henry, middle hitter Lauren Becker, opposite hitter Katie Mounts and setter Isabella Purugganan.

“My graduating class is talented, driven, energetic and disciplined. They are excellent role models on and off the court,” Sufflé explained. “They are a group of seniors that I have valued since the minute they joined the team. I will miss them more than I can put into words. They will be extremely missed by myself and everyone else on the team.

“They have helped pave the way of expectations for the future varsity teams at BV. We are lucky to have had them.”

Sufflé and assistant coach John Stockett will have 10 players returning next season for a quest to repeat as league champions, beginning in August.