DV TOURNEY RECAP and then some….
If the Wolverine Invitational is any indication of how the 2007 season will play out, then everyone out there should be worried about Amador Valley.
The Dons have the pieces in place to make a run at the East Bay Athletic League and North Coast Section titles, now all they have to do is put it together for a season.
In the tough EBAL, such a task is an arduous one, but nothing out of the realm of possiblity. The last few years, the team to beat in the EBAL has been Foothill. That may still be the case, but Amador Valley put everyone on notice Saturday, romping through the competition before losing its only game – not match—against Deer Valley in the final. Amador Valley beat the Wolverines 25-10, 21-25, 15-13 for the championship. The Dons also disposed of Sacred Heart Cathedral in the semifinals, a team that boasts the talented Gabrielle Jolly, one of the best players at the tournament.
Rich Cortez says the Dons are still learning and improving, especially with freshman setter Kelsey Williams running the show. Williams, who played middle blocker coming up in club volleyball, was converted when Cortez spotted Williams’ soft hands during camps and at practice. At 5-11, Williams could eventually become a force, just like Sophia Dunworth, who also began playing varsity her freshman season. Now Dunworth, who has orally committed to play at Duke, has evolved into a dominant go-to outside hitter and the 6-foot-1 senior was the best player at the tournament. She won’t have to carry the Dons by herself because she has Nikki Baker and Katie Gellerman to shoulder the load. Baker showed off her serving ability, with what can only be described as a running, jumping float serve with some heat on it that disrupted the opponents serve-receive. Gellerman’s experience at outside hitter is invaluable.
Foothill found its way to the semifinals before losing to Deer Valley. In a rematch of the NCS Division I championship, the Wolverines avenged the loss. Or course, these are two different teams from a season ago. Dusty Collins has his Falcons playing hard although being shorthanded. Betsy Sedlak, who dislocated her knee over the summer, returned this week and is showing progress having moved from middle blocker to outside hitter. Alaynah Fiedler, another starter from last season’s championship run, injured her achilles on the first match of the day and Andrea Davis, a sophomore who had earned a starting spot, hurt her ankle later on. Despite losing those two starters, the Falcons got itself out of pool play which included a win over Albany giving Foothill the tie-breaker over the Cougars. The Falcons then escaped with an impressive win over Maria Carrillo-Santa Rosa, a team many thought would make the final. Setter Kari Boughton and Sedlak were named to the all-tournament team.
San Ramon Valley and Granada also advanced to the championship bracket however the Wolves lost to Sacred Heart Cathedral and the Matadors bumped into Amador Valley. With SRV, Granada, AV and Foothill reaching the championship bracket, it only solidifies the belief of the last few seasons, that the EBAL is the toughest league to play in.
Carondelet and Northgate had disappointing showings. The two teams have been perennial powers but are going through some growing pains and will need to get it together to compete for a championship in their respective league.
The Cougars have to worry about Deer Valley in the Bay Valley Athletic League. The Wolverines do not have a dominant hitter, but still plays tenacious defense and has a handful of players who can get the ball over the net. In other words, the Wolverines ability to force rallies gives them a chance to score points, and that’s all you can ask for. Junior setter Iris Tolenada is establishing herself as a solid setter and she’s bringing along hitters in Shauna White, Krystal Green and Sandra Foster. All three are learning how to deal with getting the majority of sets.
Campolindo, who hasn’t lost the DFAL title since the league’s inception in 2000, will have its work cut out for it. The Cougars are talented, but they are young, with three freshman starters. Senior Paula Inzerillo will provide leadership as the Cougars still managed to get out of pool play and into the championship bracket before a loss to Deer Valley in the quarterfinals.
— Ricardo Sanchez Jr.