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Wheatland Sun

Lady Bulldogs' season ends with loss to Trojans in playoff semifinals

Nov 02, 2022 12:00AM ● By Story and photo by Steven Bryla

Gridley senior co-captain and middle hitter Kennison Cota leaps into the air to spike the ball during a three-set sweep over Oroville on October 13 in Gridley. The Lady Bulldogs’ season ended with a 3-1 loss to Orland in the semifinals of the 2022 Division III Northern Section CIF Volleyball Playoffs on Tuesday, November 1.

ORLAND, CA (MPG) - The Gridley varsity volleyball team lost its semifinals matchup three sets to one at the Orland Trojans in the 2022 Division III Northern Section CIF Volleyball Playoffs on Tuesday, November 1.

Gridley lost the first set 25-15, before they came back and won the second set 25-22. The Lady Bulldogs dropped the third and fourth sets 25-7 and 25-20, respectively, ending their season.

Gridley (19-11) coach Elizabeth Ayon told The Herald that she would have liked to see better offensive production from her team against Orland.

“I would have liked to see more opportunities to hit the ball and more consistency with it,” Ayon said.

Ayon added that she would have liked to see more consistency with their overall hitting. The Lady Bulldogs struggled with their hitting percentage against Orland and their kills in the match. Gridley didn’t have a single player on their roster with a positive hitting percentage throughout the match and had a team average of -.095%.

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The Lady Bulldogs averaged 5.25 kills per set against the Trojans compared to the 7.7 they averaged throughout their previous 29 games. Gridley senior middle hitter and co-captain Kennison Cota and junior middle hitter Gracie Dewsnup, who led the Lady Bulldogs in kills per set throughout the season, combined for three total kills in the match.

Ayon told The Herald that the Lady Bulldogs weren’t able to capitalize on the service errors from Orland and gain momentum from them. She also said they couldn’t calm things down and played a little out of control, which led Gridley to fail to get on a comfortable run.

Gridley had 16 total assists in the match, all by senior setter and co-captain Avery Weagant, compared to 43 for the Trojans combined.

With the loss, the Lady Bulldogs were still eligible for the CIF state playoffs due to being in the semifinals of the Northern Section but were not selected to compete in any of the state brackets.

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Nineteen wins this season for Gridley tied the program’s highest win total since the 2017 season. Cota led the Lady Bulldogs in every statistical category except for assists and receptions. 

Ayon said with the establishment of a club season being a huge part of the offseason, the Bulldogs began prepping in January.

“They always showed up, worked hard, sacrificed their time and did their best,” Ayon explained.

Ayon added that her team gave it everything they had and were all in, which is all a coach could ask for.