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Lady Bruins Still Unbeaten On The Hardwood
The look on Kendra Garcia's face hid nothing.

Trailing Linden handily amidst a second straight set defeat on Aug. 30, the lanky middle blocker on Riverbank High's varsity volleyball team was in serious anguish, her hands clutched to a hobbled ankle while play ensued around her.

When the point finally ended, teammates rushed to help her from the floor while reserve blocker Karina Cajero stepped in to join the fray.

Then suddenly, something clicked.

As players began to cover extra ground to relieve pressure from Cajero, the collective accountability began to do wonders on the scoreboard. Superb serving from Raine Gallagher began to batter the team on the opposite side of the net on the hardwood and the Bruins finished their second set with powerful momentum.

Two set wins later, the absence of Riverbank's best blocker and the burden of an 0-2 start to the match had evaporated, paving way to a fifth-set victory, a 3-2 win and the eighth consecutive win of a stunning preseason for the Bruin volleyballers.

"We just adjusted, started placing our hits and we started playing smart," Riverbank coach Lisa Mila said. "It wasn't easy, and Linden fought us rally after rally in that last game. They were fighting, but we stuck it out and it was exciting to see."

The final tally was 19-25, 19-25, 25-23, 25-15, 15-11 in Riverbank's favor. The Bruins (8-0) have yet to drop a nonleague contest this season, and could see Garcia (mild sprain) back in the lineup as early as Sept. 8.

Mila said Cajero filled in admirably at the net, and credited the victory to the clever placements of several tips from the rest of her starting cast. Gallagher would go on to lead the Lady Bruins in aces, kills and digs against Linden while Amy McDonald (eight digs), Garcia (two blocks), Toni Adams (two blocks) and Allie Heredia (21 assists) also shined.

The Bruins were rolling on the momentum of a 25-5, 25-16, 25-11 win over Delhi to start the week and a dazzling three-set shutout of reigning Mountain Valley League champs, Tioga on Aug. 29.

The Bruins hosted Johansen Tuesday, though results were not available at press time. The team is at Waterford today, Sept. 5 and begins the Golden Valley tournament on Friday.

Riverbank's junior varsity team beat both Delhi and Tioga, but slipped in two games to Linden.