Taylor powers Feather River to state finals with sweep over San Mateo

Hannah Taylor gets up high for this play at the net during Feather River's semifinals win on Saturday (photo by Jon Marley).
Hannah Taylor gets up high for this play at the net during Feather River's semifinals win on Saturday (photo by Jon Marley).

Updated Records: Feather River (35-1), San Mateo (23-4)
San Mateo is eliminated and finishes in a tie for 3rd place at state
Finals, Sunday, 2 p.m.--N2 Feather River v. winner of N1-San Joaquin Delta v. N3-American River

(FRESNO) -- Feather River College, the North #2 seed, hasn't lost a set since Oct. 8 and stretched its remarkable winning streak to 33 matches as the Golden Eagles swept N4-College of San Mateo, 25-20, 25-18, 25-18, in the CCCAA State Championship Semifinals on Saturday afternoon. 

It was Feather River's third sweep this year v. San Mateo, a team that made its first trip to the state tournament despite starting its program in the 2016 season. Feather River's set streak is now at 40 in a row after a near-perfect performance by All-State opposite Hannah Taylor, who blasted 17 kills in 27 attempts with just one attack error (hit .593) and delivered five blocks. 

"We asked Hannah to carry us and she's 6-foot-2, so she should," said Feather River head coach Sarah Ritchie. "We talked to her about how well she played in the quarterfinals, and she's a banger who has that ability to carry the attack. We have a number of great players who can step up at anytime whether it's Nellie Stevenson, or Carissa Chainey, or Sydnee Rowe.

"Everybody talks about how we're all about jumping and hitting, but we've become a very good defensive team. That's a part of our game that has improved tremendously during the season. Our libero has been steady for us in Ava Saiers. Hannah and Seriah Mckinney put up a big block too. We strive to be efficient on offense so it's all about our serve and receive. We concentrate on what we can do, not worry about our opponents."

Chainey landed 11 kills (.294) and served three aces, Stevenson totaled 33 assists, Rowe five kills, Mckinney three kills and four blocks, and Saiers added eight digs. 

FRC hit .349 as a team in 89 swings while San Mateo hit .148 and had 10 serving errors.

The Bulldogs were paced once again by Third Team All-American OH Naomie Cremoux, who scored 15 kills, and spun three aces. Tui Saluni tallied seven kills, Valerie Bruk had five kills and three blocks, and Angelina Estrada set 24 assists with eight digs. 

"We talked in the huddle afterward that this year's team set the bar, set the standard for future San Mateo teams," said CSM head coach Katie Goldhahn. "I'm extremely proud that it was this group that made it to state. The freshmen now know what it takes to get here and that will push next year's squad. Tip my hat to Feather River. We couldn't hit and as much as we improved later in the year, so did they.

"The other thing that is a big part of our success is the entire Bulldog sports family. We have great support and our softball team came here to root us on. We have a number of really good, winning programs and we strived to meet those expectations."

Feather River led for most of the entire first two sets. San Mateo finally grabbed a brief 6-5 lead in the third set and while it upped its attack, hitting .364, FRC hit .414 to offset the attack. Taylor was a one-women, wrecking crew in the third with eight of her kills as the Golden Eagles went on an 11-5 run to close out the victory.

Feather River plays the winner of the semifinal between N1 San Joaquin Delta and N3 American River to be played at 5 p.m. tonight.


(in Photo from left) Goldhahn, American River coach Carson Lowden, San Joaquin Delta head coach Molly Hummel and Ritchie make up the first all-female, final four coaching field since 1989. Ironically, the feat occurred during the 50th Anniversary of Title IX.

The 1989 all-four women's coaching field included three future CCCWVCA Hall of Famers in state champion that season in Colleen Suwara (Grossmont), Debi Schafer-Braun (De Anza), and Jan Furman (Cabrillo). The other was El Camino's Mary McLaughlin. 

Release by Robert Lewis, CCCWVCA/CCCAA Championship SID