By Graham Henderson
PACIFICA — Coming into the playoffs undefeated carries a lot of pressure.
After dominating the Private School Athletic League’s Bay division in the regular season, Jewish Community High School of the Bay stumbled in the first round of the PSAL playoffs, as Liberty Baptist beat the Wolves 25-21, 17-25, 25-21, 25-16 on Monday at Alma Heights Academy.
“Coming into this [at] 12-0, I think they [thought] it was just going to be handed to them,” said Jewish Community head coach Marie Cabugos. “I think they were knocked back into reality the first game.”
While Liberty Baptist (6-12), the fourth seed in the Valley division, won the first game, the play on both sides of the net was far from exemplary. The Wolves (13-2) were missing their normal outsider hitter, and with both teams lacking the height necessary to finish plays, long volleys became the norm.
“This was the flattest we’ve played since the beginning of the year,” said Liberty head coach Lloyd Read. “I’m a little disappointed in the way we played. We’ve played much better than the way we played tonight.”
The Wolves did rally back after their slow start to claim game two.
“The second game, I think we just talked a lot more,” said Jewish Community middle blocker Florencia Hasson. “I think we were a little more energetic. We knew we needed to get a game.”
Hasson led the Wolves with five kills, seven aces and two blocks and Paige Lerman had six kills.
But after pulling together to win the second game, Jewish Community crumbled.
“I don’t know if it was Halloween, or whatever, but everyone wasn’t passing as well as they normally do,” Cabugos said.
While Jewish Community did at times pull together and make plays, the team also struggled with unforced errors.
“Our main issue was just communication,” Hasson said. “This game, we came together as a team more than ever, because we needed to because it was playoffs.”
Cabugos, who has been the coach for the last three years, is not sure whether she is returning next season.
“It’s a little disappointing,” she said of the loss. “But I’m still proud of what they’ve done this season.
Although they were visibly emotional after the loss, the Wolves are confident about the future.
“I think we can make it at least this far next year,” Hasson, a junior, said. “I look forward to being here next year.”