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Lady Dragons clinch SCL title 3-peat

Junior Ciara Smith (right) hammers home a point as teammate Mackenzie Albrecht (left) looks on after making the assist during Sonoma’s recent three-set sweep of longtime SCL rival Analy in Pfeiffer Gym. On Tuesday night, the first-place Lady Dragons dropped their first set of the season, but went on to defeat a tough second-place Healdsburg team to clinch at least a league championship tie and an SCL title three-peat as Albrecht had 35 assists and 29 digs, and Smith compiled eight blocks. Bill Hoban/Index-Tribune

Junior Ciara Smith (right) hammers home a point as teammate Mackenzie Albrecht (left) looks on after making the assist during Sonoma’s recent three-set sweep of longtime SCL rival Analy in Pfeiffer Gym. On Tuesday night, the first-place Lady Dragons dropped their first set of the season, but went on to defeat a tough second-place Healdsburg team to clinch at least a league championship tie and an SCL title three-peat as Albrecht had 35 assists and 29 digs, and Smith compiled eight blocks. Bill Hoban/Index-Tribune

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Totally dominating their Sonoma County League opponents to the point of being on course to win every single set in the 12-match season, the first-place Sonoma Valley High School varsity volleyball girls finally had their unprecedented run snapped at eight matches and 24 straight set wins Tuesday in Healdsburg.

The visiting two-time defending champion Lady Dragons were stunned 23-25 by a tough second-place Healdsburg team in the first set of their showdown with SCL title ramifications on the line.

But Sonoma’s young spikers, with only three seniors on the roster, quickly shook off the shocker by regrouping around head coach Mindy Neves and assistant coaches Michele Foster and Heidi Boatright and swept the next three sets 25-21, 25-13 and 25-18 for the match victory over the Greyhound girls.

“Actually, losing that first set was exactly what we needed because we haven’t been challenged in league play until a good Healdsburg team put up a good fight and pushed us four games. We need to be challenged as we head into the postseason,” said Neves.

With the win, the Lady Dragons – ranked first in the North Coast Section and seventh in the state for Division-3 with a 20-4 record, and a 9-0 mark in the SCL – earned at least a league co-championship with three matches remaining, while clinching an SCL title three-peat.

Leading Sonoma past the Lady ’Hounds were junior Mackenzie Albrecht’s 35 assists, 29 digs, three kills, one serving ace and a block; freshman Jenna Mak’s 29 digs and two aces; junior Hannah Herrick’s 19 digs, four kills and three assists; junior Delaney Swanson’s 16 kills, 11 digs, one block and one ace; frosh Kiara Miles’ 15 digs and 15 kills; and junior Ciara Smith’s 11 kills and eight blocks.

Wrapping up their SCL campaign, the Lady Dragons played visiting Piner last night – results not available at presstime – before they travel to Santa Rosa for a match with Elsie Allen this Tuesday evening, Oct. 29, before they host Petaluma in their regular season finale at 6:30 p.m. this Thursday, Oct. 31, in Pfeiffer Gym.