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Dissa and Data: Maria Carrillo football coach Jay Higgins would like a new athletic field


Maria Carrillo football coach Jay Higgins would like to make a public announcement: He is very much in favor of his high school getting a new all-weather athletic field.

More than once, Higgins said, he’s heard that he preferred natural turf and mud, so he wanted to set the record straight: He told The Press Democrat that he would like nothing more than a high-end artificial field for the Pumas. To emphasize the point, he pointed out several muddy patches during a recent practice, noting that the field doesn’t drain as well as it used to.

Higgins had hoped that the passage of Measure I a year ago would open up funds for a replacement field at Maria Carrillo, but said he’s seen no evidence that plan is in the works. The other four campuses within the Santa Rosa City Schools district have all-weather fields.

Another title for St. Vincent

St. Vincent’s girls volleyball team defeated Roseland Prep last week to clinch the NCL II championship.

This was the second consecutive title for St. Vincent, which was led by the outstanding trio of Ali Fetter (9 kills, 20 assists, 6 digs), Sarah Calabrese (16 kills, 4 aces) and Annalise Silva (17 kills, 4 aces).

Panthers endure

It took a tiebreaker match and five sets to settle it, but Anderson Valley emerged as the top playoff NCL III representative in the North Coast Section volleyball tournament.

The Panthers defeated Mendocino 25-18, 24-26, 27-25, 19-25, 15-10. That vaulted Anderson Valley into a No. 2 seed and a first-round bye in the Division 6 tournament. Among the leading performers that night were Rachael Kreienhop, Riley Lemons, Alex Farber and Natalia Angulo.

Mendocino also qualified as a ninth seed in Division 5 and will begin tournament play tonight at St. Vincent.

AV’s Kuny bows out

Anderson Valley football coach Danny Kuny is going out on top. After three years at the helm of the Panthers’ program and a 26-4 record, Kuny retired after Saturday’s 32-18 Redwood Bowl victory against NCL III rival Upper Lake. It was the second consecutive Redwood Bowl victory for Anderson Valley. The Panthers and Trojans at 9-1 were NCL III co-champs.

“Coaching is a lot of work and I’m tired. It’s time for someone younger to take over,” said Kuny, who began his coaching career in 1988 at Boonville High. “There were a lot of tears after the game, but it was a good feeling because of what these kids accomplished in the three years I was here.”

Chloe’s record

The record is hers. Sonoma Academy senior Chloe Colbert scored two goals against St. Helena High in the Coyotes’ 8-0 win Saturday in the first round of the NCS Division 3 playoffs.

Colbert’s new career total is 151, passing the 150-goal mark set by 2012 Sonoma Academy grad Kate Bayes. Sonoma Academy, the No. 1 seed, will visit No. 4 Middletown at 5:30 p.m. today.

Brockley to USC

All-Empire Girls Swimmer of the Year Piper Brockley will sign a letter of intent on Friday to attend USC next year after graduating from Maria Carrillo. Brockley, who also swims for Neptune Swimming, is a Winter Nationals qualifier in the 100-yard and 200 breaststroke, as well as a Winter Juniors qualifier in the 200 individual medley.

At the inaugural CIF state championships last May, Brockley finished sixth in the 200 IM.

At the NCS championships, she was second in the 200 individual relay and tied for third in the 100 breaststroke, making her the only Redwood Empire swimmer with two top-10 finishes.

She had last season’s Empire’s second-fastest time in the 500 free and was fourth fastest in the 100 backstroke.

As a Trojan, she’ll join Petaluma High’s Riley Scott on the defending Pac-12 champs.

Vollert sets school record

Even though the St. Vincent football team had a down year (3-7) and Mustangs’ coaches and players decided to pass on participating in the NCS playoffs, receiver Nick Vollert was a pinnacle of performance.

The 6-foot-1, 190-pound senior totaled 56 receptions for 1,017 yards this season, both school records, and hauled in 11 touchdowns. Vollert was the first player in the 70-year history of the St. Vincent’s football program to rack up at least a 1,000 yards receiving in a single season.

Bear Cubs’ guest

Fort Bragg’s record-setting quarterback Kaylor Sullivan will be on the sideline Saturday night when Santa Rosa JC’s football team hosts Diablo Valley. Sullivan is among approximately 40 Northern California high school players who have accepted an invitation to watch the Bear Cubs game as part of Recruit Night.

Among other Empire players confirmed are Petaluma’s Branden White, Cloverdale’s Luke Bernardi, Healdsburg’s Cody Newman, Santa Rosa’s Cameron McAtee and Rancho Cotate’s Rubin Scott.

Trees for sale

The Rancho Cotate baseball program is pre-selling Christmas trees, wreaths and swags as a fundraiser to purchase equipment, uniforms and for travel expenses. Deadline to order one of the trees grown in the Pacific Northwest is this Sunday. The trees and other products will be available for pick-up Dec. 3. To order, e-mail coach John Morrow at ranchobaseball@live.com or place an order with a Rancho player.

Kerry Benefield, Phil Barber, Lori A. Carter, Howard Senzell and Richard J. Marcus contributed to this report.