Volleyball Reaches New Heights With Third Seed in NCS
Despite loss to league rival Campolindo, Dons volleyball has most sucessful season in years
By Stephen Wemple
This year, the Dons have found themselves in a position unfamiliar to the Acalanes volleyball program. For the first time a Diablo Foothill Athletic League (DFAL) title has become a realistic goal. They are now in position to make a run at the division II North Coast Section (NCS) championship.
“This is definitely the best volleyball team that I have been a part of since I have been playing at Acalanes,” said senior Ben Weintraub. “We have some of the best players to come through Acalanes in a long time and I think we have the most naturally talented team in our league.”
On April 25, the team went into its match needing a victory over its Lamorinda rival, Campolindo, who brought an undefeated record into the game. The Dons knew going in that to give themselves a realistic chance at winning the league championship they needed to be victorious.
“The Campo game was pretty much a league championship game,” said Weintraub. “We needed to beat them if we wanted a chance at winning DFAL, [but] we just came up a little short.”
The Dons lost a very tight first game, which seemed to suck all the energy out of the team. They then dug themselves into a deeper hole when they lost the second game and ultimately went on to lose the match 3-1.
The Dons followed up the loss to Campolindo with a thrilling win over the third place-ranked Dougherty Valley Wildcats on the Dons’ senior night. The match dragged on for five games and it took extra points for the Dons to finally pull out a narrow 17-15 win and take the match 3-2.
The Dons are led by prospective DFAL MVP Dan Kennedy. Throughout his fourth year on varsity, Kennedy has set himself apart from all other outside hitters in the league. If the statistics on hits were kept, Kennedy would likely be the league leader in kills. He will be taking his talents to Santa Cruz next year to play for the University of California Santa Cruz.
“Dan has been the embodiment of our team the whole season,” said junior Ben Savage. “His play usually determines the final outcome of the game. When he is on his game, there is virtually no one who can stop him. There have been games where Dan has single-handedly won for us and it’s hard to say that about anyone in a sport that so heavily revolves around solid team play.”
The Dons are currently ranked third in Division II of NCS. They are likely to maintain the third seed or possibly jump to the second seed which would set the Dons on a path to meet Campolindo in the NCS championship game and give them a chance for redemption.
“Our goal is to win NCS and I think the entire team would not be fully satisfied if that didn’t come over Campolindo,” said Savage. “We know we have the talent to beat them, it is simply a matter of whether we are willing to battle [for] every single point of the game.”