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Deer Valley Invitational

Were you wondering how on Earth you were going to figure out who the top volleyball teams in the North Coast Section were? Did you wish all the teams could be in one place so you could see who the best teams in the area were?

Well, you were in luck this past weekend because just about every team that figures to factor in its respective playoff division as at the Deer Valley Invitational in Antioch.

There were seven ranked teams which included: Deer Valley, Granada, Albany, San Ramon Valley, Campolindo, Carondelet and Foothill. Two teams that probably should have been ranked: Castro Valley and Amador Valley. The defending NCS D II champ, Maria Carrillo and a Central Coast power in Sacred Heart Cathedral.

It was certainly the who’s who of NCS volleyball, aside from the absence of top-ranked Bishop O’Dowd, which clearly deserves being highly ranked.

Granada, a team that was under .500 last year but returns 12 players, showed why people expect big things from the Matadors by beating Deer Valley 25-23, 25-22 in the finals. Deer Valley had earlier beaten Granada in pool play and the Wolverines had just come off a thrilling win over Sacred Heart in the semi-finals, but a scrappy and hard-working Mats team came through in the finals.

Granada is a very talented team, led by setter Katie Uglow, middle Devin Shaver and outside hitter Katie Osborne.

Deer Valley didn’t reach the finals undefeated for no reason. That team is very good and will make a deep playoff run. The Wolverines are led by setter Iris Tolenada and three very big hitters in Krystal McCoy, Sandra Foster and Elyse Rowland.

Amador Valley, which was expected to be down after winning the D I title, didn’t even show up in the other team’s receiving votes section of the poll, but the Dons showed they will be around. They went unbeaten into the semi-finals before finally being beat by Granada in two very close games, 30-28 and 25-23.

The Dons will be very good thanks to setter Kelsey Williams and middle Grace Vickers.

Other notable teams at the tourney: SRV went 1-2 in pool play, but won the consolation bracket. Foothill was unbeaten in pool play but lost to Granada in the quarterfinals. Casto Valley was 2-1 in pool play and lost a touch match to Sacred Heart in the quarterfinals. Albany went 1-2 in pool play but reached the consolation final. Campo went 2-1 in pool play before playing Deer Valley tough in the quarter’s and then followed that with a win over Castro Valley in the out-bracket match. Carrillo was 2-1 in pool play, then lost to Amador in the quarters before beating Foothill in the loser’s bracket match. 

- Matt Smith

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