In their postseason quest to play for a North Coast Section championship and earn a spot in the NorCal playoffs, with a chance at a state title match, the third-seed Sonoma Valley High School varsity volleyball girls took two big steps to reach the pivotal match of their journey with first- and second-round wins.

After sweeping past 14th-seed Encinal and 11th-seed Analy in the NCS Division-3 opener and quarterfinals, the Lady Dragons traveled to Oakland for Wednesday night’s semifinal showdown with strong second-seed Bishop O’Dowd.

With both talented teams having the same mascot name, the Dragon cheers filled the packed small gym as the host school captured the first set 25-17.

But Sonoma answered back in the second set and pulled out an

exciting 25-22 victory. The NCS match looked like it was going to

be a barn-burner that would go to the wire.

Unfortunately for the Lady Dragons from Sonoma, Bishop O’Dowd was high-level-competition ready, having played a challenging schedule, which included two teams ranked in the top-20 nationally, and it seized the momentum, posting 25-13 and 25-15 third- and fourth-set wins, respectively, to claim the match.

The Sonoma girls’ sparkling season came to an end with the Division-3 semifinal loss and they finished with an impressive 30-7 record and were ranked 61st in the state.

Comprising Sonoma’s postseason roster – directed by head coach Chelsea Scott and assistant coaches Michelle Foster and Heidi Boatright – are seniors Kayten Mak, Kaitlyn Boldt, Gianna Monterosso and Janeth Silva; juniors Mackenzie Albrecht, Anastasia Claros, Hannah Herrick, Cheyenne McCambridge, Ciara Smith and Delaney Swanson; sophomores Emma Stanfield, Carlie Vollert and Sami Von Gober; and freshmen Jenna Mak and Kiara Miles.

Pacing the Lady Dragons against Bishop O’Dowd were Albrecht’s 21 assists, 10 digs, three kills and two blocks; Swanson’s 12 kills; Miles’ nine digs, seven kills and two blocks; Herrick’s eight digs and two blocks; Jenna Mak’s nine digs; Smith’s seven kills and two blocks; and Kayten Mak’s serving ace.