January 24, 2021
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Cougars continue last season playoff push

By: Paul Matli
October 25, 2019

Rancho Cotate football isn’t the only team making a playoff run. The Rancho Cotate women’s volleyball team led by Coach Jeff Bradshaw is pushing for bid in the postseason. After wiping out Elsie Allen with a three-set victory, the ladies are one game over .500 at 14-13 and hoping to win out.

“If we continue to play well, we’re on track for the playoffs,” Bradshaw said. “The next game is the most important because that’s the one we have to face.”

Bradshaw is not letting his team focus ahead because the next game against Piner is the most important for the Cougars as a playoff spot is not guaranteed. According to Bradshaw, only one team gets an automatic qualifying spot into the playoffs. Since El Molino is 7-1 in the North Bay League with 2 games to play, it’s likely they will be the team to get the automatic qualifying bid.

Since qualifying for the playoffs has other variables for those non-automatic qualifying teams, the best thing for the Cougars to do is just win. If they win out, the team will have momentum, whether it’s for the playoffs or next season.

“After El Molino, everything else is at large bids,” Bradshaw said. “These bids are based on your league record and non-league record.”

Thursday night’s performance against Elsie Allen looked like a team ready to make a playoff push. The team worked together well, controlled most of the points and did a fairly good job of limiting unforced errors. Granted, the next two games against Piner and Ukiah will be much tougher as Elsie Allen is winless on the season, it’s still a good sign to see the team playing well.

“We played well tonight,” Bradshaw said. “We always want to make sure we maintain that focus and discipline on the court. I think we can play better, and we are going to have some more tough competition, starting with Piner on Tues. and then Ukiah at home on our Senior Night.”

The Cougars have six seniors who will be honored next Thurs. night. They are Natalie Allen, Sammy Alverio, Kelly Evart, Faith Harvey, Cayla Nixon and Jayden Sola. These six hopes they help lead the Cougars into the playoffs to extend their high school careers.

 For those interested readers or bystanders, the Cougars are currently tied for third in the league at 4-4. Something even more important is the Cougars’ final two games are against the team tied with them (Piner) and directly ahead of them by one game (Ukiah). Moreover, the Cougars are 1-0 against Piner and 1-1 against Ukiah. This final week of the season is the proving ground for the Cougars. If they are a playoff team, they will show it this weekend.

Anyone who has child athletes knows how emotional Senior Night is. This Senior Night won’t be different. In fact, it could be more intense if the Cougars are competing for a playoff spot. Coach Bradshaw wants his team to focus on doing their job and he also hopes the community comes out to support the women in their quest for the playoffs.

“Please come out, encourage all the families, friends, people in the community to come out. It is our senior night, so it’s a good opportunity for them to celebrate the six seniors we have on the team who have played and given their all for the last four years at Rancho.

The game against Piner starts at 6 p.m. and Senior Night against Ukiah will start with the Freshman game at 4:30, followed by Junior Varsity at 5:30 and then the Varsity at 6:30 p.m. Also, it’s breast cancer awareness month so wearing pink is encouraged to show support for the breast cancer campaign.