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Wheatland Sun

Huskies grind onto semifinals, qualify for state playoffs

Oct 28, 2022 12:00AM ● By Story and photos by Steven Bryla

The Sutter varsity volleyball team celebrates after scoring a point during a three-set sweep of Colfax in the quarterfinals of the 2022 Division IV CIF Sac-Joaquin Girls Volleyball Playoffs on Thursday, October 27 in Sutter.

Huskies grind onto semifinals, qualify for state playoffs [5 Images] Click Any Image To Expand

SUTTER, CA (MPG) - The Sutter Huskies varsity volleyball team swept the Colfax Falcons in straight sets on Thursday, October 27 to move onto the semifinals of the 2022 Division IV CIF Sac-Joaquin Girls Volleyball Playoffs.

Sutter (28-4-1, 14-0 Pioneer Valley League) won the sets 25-12, 25-22 and 25-19. This was the third meeting between the Huskies and Falcons (16-9, 10-4 PVL) this season as both teams compete in the PVL.

Sutter coach Elizabeth Bhatti told the Territorial Dispatch that anytime you play a league opponent in the playoffs, it makes it more challenging.

“We know their strengths and weaknesses as much as they know the same about us,” Bhatti said.

Although the Huskies won the opening set by 13 points, Colfax gave Sutter a tough fight where it scored high in each set of the match. Bhatti added that when the Falcons upset No. 6 seed West Campus as the No. 11 seed in five sets on Tuesday, October 25, Colfax’s minds were likely set on upsetting the No. 3 seed Huskies.

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Every single player on Sutter contributed to the win Thursday night. Huskies senior libero Natalee Gardner, who led Sutter with 21 digs in the match, said the Falcons know their defense and were able to use it against them. 

“We had to work hard and expect everything from them,” Gardner told the Dispatch. 

The Huskies played their first-round matchup of the D4 playoffs on October 25 versus the Foothill Mustangs of Sacramento. Sutter also swept the Mustangs in three sets, but only gave up 25 total points compared to 53 against the Falcons.

Bhatti said she liked how the Huskies maintained their focus in between the first and second round matchups because it is easy for anyone to lose focus.

“I like how we are grounded with our focus and our energy no matter who we play,” Bhatti explained.

Huskies sophomore outside hitter Torrence Harter told the Dispatch that her team showed a lot of fight in the match against Colfax, especially in the second set. Neither team was separated by more than four points the entire set.

Harter had a power strike on the ball to tie the second set at 14. The Sutter crowd erupted and shook the gym when the Huskies won the second set and gave them a 2-0 lead in the match.

Harter said one of the things she has learned and appreciated the most about the seniors this season is how supportive of everyone on the roster they are. Support should be written all over the gym walls and floors at Sutter because you will hear that word non-stop from the varsity volleyball coaching staff and players on the Huskies roster.

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Sutter opened the third set with an early 3-0 lead but never relinquished the lead after they took it back at 7-6 for the rest of the night. Senior Carsyn Minton led the Huskies in kills with 11 and also contributed two digs. Senior setter Mia Minard had 10 kills, 10 digs, four aces and led in assists with 26.

The grit that Sutter showed in the Colfax match conveyed why they are a tough team to beat. They travel to play the second seeded Ripon Indians (20-10) on Tuesday, November 1, where they haven’t played since 2016.

The win against the Falcons also qualified the Huskies to play in the CIF State Volleyball Tournament. Bhatti joked with the Dispatch that she keeps telling the girls that they can’t have their final practice because she doesn’t want their time to end yet.