Central Catholic sophomore Abby Castillon said the team put its goals for this season on a bulletin board.
They included winning a league title, a section championship and how the team should prepare for and play every game.
The No. 2 Raiders (28-8) can put a check mark next to all three after they beat No. 1 seed Nevada Union 25-23, 30-28, 16-25, 25-20, on Saturday at Natomas High School to win the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division III Championship.
“It’s a surreal feeling,” Castillon said. “We just have that mentality we don’t lose.”
It was Central Catholic’s 10th straight win.
Central Catholic knocked out the Miners in the semifinals last year and coach Michelle Springmeyer said Nevada Union was the team to beat in the division all year.
“It was a mirror matchup,” Springmeyer said. “We saw them in Reno (a tournament) and tried to prepare for tonight.”
The first set was back-and-forth with Raiders junior Tessa Gallo getting the set-winning kill from the left side. Central Catholic would lead throughout the second set and was one point away from going up 2-0 until the Miners fought off five set points to tie it at 24.
“We just needed to get back on defense,” Springmeyer said.
Central Catholic had three more set points but the Miners fought back until Castillon finally ended the set with a kill.
“It was a big sense of relief,” Castillon said about the kill.
Castillon led the Raiders with 18 kills and Gallo added 17.
After Nevada Union won the third set, the fourth was tied at 18 in front of a raucous crowd before the Raiders pulled away for the victory and championship.
Central Catholic senior McKenzie Lettice had 35 assists and seven digs while junior Devan Brasil added nine digs and junior Hannah Castillon had seven blocks.
The Raiders advance to the CIF State playoffs. Pairings are released on Sunday.
“We are back at it (practice) on Monday,” Springmeyer said. “We are ready for the next challenge.”
Escalon 3, Union Mine 2: Cougars (29-9) freshman Emily Vickers had 13 kills as Escalon won in five sets to capture the Division IV Championship at Ripon High School.