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Carmichael Times

Rio Americano girls volleyball team advances to semifinals of D2 playoffs

Oct 28, 2022 12:00AM ● By By Shaun Holkko, sports editor

Rio Americano junior defensive specialist Ava Kaufman dives for a dig during the first round of the 2022 Division II CIF Sac-Joaquin Girls Volleyball Playoffs, a three-set sweep of Golden Valley, on Tuesday, October 25 in Sacramento. Photo courtesy of William J Carroll III Photography

SACRAMENTO, CA (MPG) – Following home playoff wins against Golden Valley and Tracy, the Rio Americano girls varsity volleyball team is moving on to the semifinals of the 2022 Division II CIF Sac-Joaquin Girls Volleyball Playoffs.

The Raiders (34-7, 12-0 Capital Athletic League) have won seven matches in a row dating back to a midseason tournament played on October 8. In that tournament, Rio was swept in two sets by Vacaville, who the Raiders will be playing on Tuesday, November 1 in the semifinals of the D2 playoffs.

After securing its eighth CAL championship with a 12-0 record in league play, Rio entered the postseason tournament as the No. 3 seed. The Raiders faced off against No. 14 Golden Valley (23-10, 10-2 Central California Conference) of Merced in the first round on October 25.

Rio swept the Cougars in three-sets. However, the win did not come easy. The Raiders narrowly won the first set, 25-22. The second set was not as close, but still competitive, with Rio prevailing 25-19. The Raiders won the third and final set by the slimmest of margins at 25-23, which was just enough to move them onto the second round.

Senior outside hitter Nikita Rogaski led the way for Rio with 12 of its 29 total kills. Junior setter Grace Stone tallied two game-highs with eight serving aces and 28 assists.

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In the quarterfinals two nights later, the Raiders matched up against No. 6 seed Tracy (20-11, 8-2 Tri-City Athletic League). The Bulldogs matched up against Rio earlier in the season in the midseason tournament on October 8, a match in which the Raiders were victorious two sets to one.

On Thursday night in Sacramento, Rio and Tracy played a grueling five set match and the victor remained the same.

Just like in their first meeting 19 days prior, the Bulldogs won the first set by a score of 25-23. The Raiders stormed back and took the next two sets 25-18 and 25-21. Tracy controlled the fourth set with its season on the line, winning 25-16 to even the score and send the match into a decisive final set.

With the home crowd at Rio behind them, the Raiders took the fifth set 15-10 to advance to the semifinals of the D2 playoffs. Stone tallied 56 assists on Thursday night, giving the junior over 1,000 total assists on the season.

Senior outside hitter Lulu Voss, who had a team-high 24 kills, combined with Rogaski for two-thirds of Rio’s total kills with 44 of 66. Junior defensive specialist Livia Bacchi finished with a team-high 15 digs. Bacchi and Rogaski nearly combined for two-thirds of the Raiders’ digs with 29 of 45. Voss followed closely behind with eight digs of her own.

RELATED: Del Campo sweeps Rio Americano, eyes Capital Athletic League title

Rio will not only be playing for a berth into the section title game on Tuesday, but the Raiders will also be seeking revenge. Vacaville (23-6, 14-0 Monticello Empire League) swept Rio in two sets on October 8, winning 25-22 and 25-16.

The Raiders have seven CIF SJS championships in school history and are two games away from obtaining number eight. The first serve on Tuesday night in Vacaville is scheduled for 7 p.m.