Sports
December 8, 2019
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Cougars splash past the Timberwolves Lemons return to Sonoma Raceway Cougars outlast Knights to cap off historic season This week in RP sports Who will get it? Reaching high for the ball Seawolves bow out in round 1 of NCAAs Putting the ball in from under the hoop Titans secure division win! 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Girls played last game Cal-Ripken Play-off games in ‘B’ Park Rancho alumnus signs with New York Red Bulls Wildcats beat Cougars Healdsburg takes the win Seniors were defeated by the staff Rohnert Park All Stars out executed Not going anywhere Martinez has a powerful kick Hayman flips it up Oppenheim, Sarudiansky, Nudell Named All-PacWest Swarming defense and power running lead Cougars to win Tech High doesn’t have enough steam Lambrecht puts on pressure SSU Sports Briefs Rancho moves on to quarter finals Alfaro makes a hit Callinan Junior Racquetball players win National Championships She locked it down Rohnert Park defeats Nevada 10-0 Cougars’ happy homecoming Rough fourth quarter costs Cougars Credo wins the NCS Division 6 semi-final 7-0 Ing qualified Greeting the floor is hard Big win for the Ranch volleyball team Herman soars Classic sports racing at Sonoma It will go in, I am sure Jumps for a big hit Peninsula speeds past Resurrection This week in RP sports The girls received their pennant for their NBL Championship win!  RPSC kicks into action Cougars stumble in overtime The Gryphon dominates the Eagles Worden is walk-off winner Cougars stumble in quarter-finals Winding up for an out This week in RP sports Rancho ends losing streak Cougars prep for showtime Credo wins softball rematch Credo High School claims historic victory SSU Equestrian wins third Cougars continue last season playoff push Rancho stumbles against Terra Linda Race to the stars Cougar Ladies dominated Rancho girls beat El Molino Roby goes high 8th Annual John’s march against Stomach Cancer

Cougars prevail in thrilling five setter

By: Paul Matli
November 1, 2019

In what could be described as destiny, the Rancho Cotate High School women’s volleyball team defeated Ukiah 3 sets to 2 in what was a wire to wire, heavyweight type of match. The Cougars won the fifth and final set 15-12 in route to their first Senior Night victory in 10 tries. This accomplishment, in front of a raucous crowd, is what the Cougars’ volleyball program has been waiting for.

“Rancho has been through some hard times with our volleyball program,” Coach Jeff Bradshaw said. “It’s been 9 years since we’ve won a Senior Night; it’s been 10 years; we’ve had an opportunity to go to the playoffs back to back years.”

This message from Bradshaw is true. Every high school, unless they are elite in every sport, has cycles of ups and downs. In the case of the Cougars, their volleyball program has been mostly down over the last decade, so having this opportunity is something the girls didn’t want to slip away.

Bradshaw’s post game message was directed at the six seniors who were honored Thursday night for setting the foundation on which this current team is built on.

“The seniors have seen the rough times and now they’re seeing us as we continue to prosper. They’re the ones who helped build this program.” Bradshaw said. 

Bradshaw spoke glowingly about the seniors off the court. To him, the seniors not only built the program on the court, but off of it. They did it by setting the example for the younger girls to follow.

Building culture is a long process as any athlete knows. Any athlete or former athlete reading this story can relate to the struggles and the successes. For a struggling program, even the easiest parts of the jobs seem to be an adventure, but once the team gets past the rough patches, it’s smooth sailing.

Thursday night’s win was a cultivation of the hard work put in by the Rancho senior women.

Though Coach Bradshaw was pleased after the game, he understands there’s still work to be done. The Cougars will be in the playoffs for the second time in as many seasons. Last season the Cougars got swept by number two seed Miramonte, so their goal this year will be winning a playoff game or two.

“The message going into playoffs, is that it’s not too big for us,” Bradshaw said. “We said that last year. I think we were happy to make the playoffs. This year the message is the moments not too big for us.  We’ve played the top teams in all divisions, so we can go and play, we just need to be able to execute.”

Execution is a word Bradshaw used frequently in his post-game comments. Though his team won in five sets, he felt the execution wasn’t always on point. The Cougars know they have to continue shoring up the areas they struggled in to ensure a deep playoff run.

The Cougars won’t have much time to enjoy this win as they are back in action Tues. night against Moreau Catholic in the first round of the NCS Playoffs. The Cougars are the tenth seed in the tournament and will have to travel to Hayward. The game will start at 7 p.m.

The six seniors; Natalie Allen, Sammy Alverio, Kelley Evart, Faith Harvey, Cayla Nixon and Jayden Sola hope this won’t be their last game wearing Cougar colors. Even if it is, Coach Bradshaw, the community and younger players won’t forget the impact these six had on the current trajectory of the program. The legacy of these six is already known but could grow if the Cougars make a deep playoff run.