By Ernest Stone
After over 30 matches in a season, it’s usually safe to assume that a team has found its identity.
Yet, University’s 25-21, 25-13, 25-19 win over visiting Valley Christian of Dublin Saturday in the CIF-North Coast Section Division V playoffs brought to light a scary possibility for future opponents. The Red Devils still might not have reached their peak.
“It was a total team effort out there today,” said University head coach Ki Choi. “Our serving was dominant, we stayed in system perfectly and everyone was competitive.”
The performance of the Red Devils (22-8) left little room for error for the sixth-seeded Vikings (18-11). Unfortunately for Valley Christian, untimely service mistakes and numerous errors diminished its chances to challenge third-seeded University.
Perhaps no other point of the contest was a better example of that than the second game, when University capitalized on five errant service attempts to cruise to a 2-0 lead in games.
“We made mistakes and they didn’t,” said Valley Christian head coach Jon Tolentino. “It was as simple as their service being better than our service receive, and they did a great job.”
After capturing the second game convincingly, University shook its past inability to close out games quickly, and jumped out to a 22-11 lead in the third game, eventually winning 25-19.
The win not only ended the prospect of a long night of volleyball, but re-energized University’s hope of defeating Marin Academy next Wednesday in the seminfinals. Marin Academy has won the teams’ two previous meetings, including the Bay Counties League West title game.
“I think our strength is that we have no weaknesses,” said junior libero Pauline Ryan. “If you know our recent history against Marin Academy then you know we have a challenge, but if we can keep our energy up we definitely have a good chance.”