By Tommy Fellner //
The Acalanes Womens Volleyball team had a tough loss to DFAL rival Campolindo High School, falling in 4 sets.
The Lady Dons came into this game with much enthusiasm and with a thirst for vengeance, after having their NCS championship hopes dashed in the quarterfinals at the hands of the top seeded Cougars. Both the Lady Dons and Cougars lost their top players to graduation last year, Molly Dalziel and Molly Armstrong of Acalanes and Kelley Wirth and Emi Caprio of the Cougars. However, both teams retained much of their core group of starters.
The first match was chock full of intensity and back and forth play. The first set came down to the final points, with the Lady Dons up 24-22. Campolindo then won back-to-back clutch points to push the set to a tiebreaker. Backed by a raucous student section, Acalanes scored to go up 25-24 and come within one point of winning the set.
Campolindo then spiked it for a point to even it and then scored on the consecutive point to take the lead and possibly the first set. But then Acalanes had a two point swing of it’s own, taking a 27-26 lead. This pattern, agonizingly intense for the fans had everyone gasping at each spike and bump of the ball, hoping an Acalanes player wouldn’t commit a mistake and a Campolindo player would.
Finally, the Lady Dons managed to squeak out three consecutive points and take the first set 30-28. An outstanding total of 58 points were scored in the first set, and it definitely took its toll on the Lady Dons as the game continued.
In the second set, the Cougars pounced right out of the gate, quickly taking an 8-3 lead. Acalanes head coach Todd Travis then called a timeout in an attempt to stop the Cougars’ run.
It worked and the Lady Dons put forth a strong run of their own with crushing spikes from Parker Jones and a strong defense to push the score to 10-9 forcing a Campolindo timeout. Acalanes won the next point but then dropped the following 3.
Trailing 15-11, Travis called another timeout, but this one had the opposite effect of the first. The Cougars then went on a 5 point run, pushing the score to 20-12 but more importantly, putting themselves that much closer to evening the game score.
Acalanes mounted somewhat of a comeback but still trailed 22-18. Campolindo won the second set 25-20 and evened the game score to 1 apiece.
Fatigue set in during the third set for the Lady Dons. Despite winning the first two points of the set, Acalanes was clearly exhausted from running back and forth all over the court and digging Campolindo’s powerful spikes. Campolindo maintained a safe lead from the Lady Dons the entire game and whenever Acalanes was about to make a run, they committed a mental error and lost all momentum they had.
Acalanes lost the third set 25-14.
The fourth set was Acalanes’ last gasp attempt at stifling Campolindo’s momentum. Having lost two straight sets it was tough to turn things around but the Lady Dons were intent on it.
Opening up with a renewed ferocity led by seniors Reilly Webster and Mimi White, Acalanes rebounded from a 4-1 deficit to take a 10-7 lead.
However, Campolindo slowly chipped away until the teams were tied at 12. From then on neither team was able to pull away with great play on both sides of the ball, notably from freshman Cali Boustiani that provided some crucial points for the Lady Dons.
Down 18-15, senior Carly Porep stepped in and delivered an ace to cut Campolindo’s lead. Senior Grace Bolen also provided some great play around the net, but mental mistakes hurt the Lady Dons late in the game.
Campolindo went on a 6 point run to take a 24-17 lead, capped off by an ace to force match point. Acalanes then won a clutch point to stay alive but still trailed by 6.
The Cougars then called a timeout to let the nerves build up on Acalanes’ side and the Lady Dons lost the succeeding point, losing the fourth set 25-18 and also the match.
It is still early in the season for the Lady Dons and they showed a lot of good plays and definitely have enough talent and experience to be a serious contender this year.
Acalanes’ next game is away against Las Lomas on Thursday, October 1st.