It’s a big challenge to beat a good team three straight times in the same season, but it’s even a more daunting task to top a team in four consecutive matches, which was the situation the Sonoma Valley High School varsity volleyball girls were facing in Saturday night’s North Coast Section Division-3 quarterfinals.
After routing visiting 14th-seeded Encinal in last Wednesday’s tournament opener, the third-seeded Sonoma County League champion Lady Dragons hosted longtime SCL rival Analy Saturday in a quarterfinal match in Pfeiffer Gym that marked the fourth meeting between the two teams.
Playing with both determination and focus on keeping their NCS ride alive, the Sonoma spikers fended off the visiting 11th-seeded Tiger girls for three sets and posted a 25-17, 25-20, 25-23 victory, while completing a 12-set, four-match sweep of Analy.
With the win, the Lady Dragons improve their overall record to 30-6 and advance to the NCS Division-3 semifinals to face their biggest challenge of the season in second-seeded Bishop O’Dowd (24-9) at 7 p.m. tomorrow, Wednesday, Nov. 20, in Oakland.
Adding extra importance to the semifinal matchup is that the winner not only advances to this Saturday’s, Nov. 23, NCS Division-3 championship final, but also qualifies for the NorCal playoffs and a chance to reach the state title match.
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.
Leading the Lady Dragons to their quarterfinal win over Analy were Albrecht’s 21 assists, 10 digs and five blocks; Herrick’s 22 digs; Jenna Mak’s 17 digs and two serving aces; Miles’ 10 kills, five digs and four blocks; Swanson’s nine kills and seven digs; Smith’s nine kills and two blocks; Kayten Mak’s seven digs; and Silva’s ace.