Take a look at the Bay Area News Group’s East Bay online boys volleyball rankings. How many Division II teams do you see in the top ten?
The answer is two, and both of them are in the top five. Campolindo is ranked No. 3 and Northgate checks in at No. 5. This would give a strong indication that these are the two best teams, and could and should very well meet in the North Coast Section finals.
And boy, what a rematch it would be.
The Broncos were the No. 1 seed in last year’s playoffs, were the second best team in the East Bay and eventually won the Division II title, but not without a battle from the Cougars. Campolindo led 2-1 after three games, but Northgate rallied to win game four 25-22, then battled for a 15-13 win in game five.
“Going into last year’s match with Campolindo, I had a feeling that it was going to be a dog fight,” Northgate coach Jim Changaris said. “It was one of the best comebacks I have ever had the honor to be coaching.”
Campolindo would disagree about the greatness of the comeback and the loss still stings the Cougars players. This is why the printed t-shirts that read the losing score of that fifth game, 13-15, on the back, and they were them before every match as a reminder.
“We made the t-shirts for that exact reason,” Campolindo setter Scott Standring said. “We are using it as a reminder and constant motivation that we need to work a little harder.”
Even though Campolindo is the higher ranked team at the moment, the Broncos are the champions until somebody beats them.
“We’ve worked really hard to this point and we’ve improved a lot,” Campolindo hitter Zach Dashner said. “We are finding our confidence, but we know that Northgate is the team to beat.”
The fact that the Broncos are the team to beat is incredible and a tribute to the program Changaris has built. They graduated eight seniors from the 2009 team, and have dealt with a slough of injuries which include a season-ending broken leg to outside hitter Mitch Sanregret.
Libero Andrew Lam has still not been cleared after a dislocated shoulder, and their top hitter Matt Cutaia is dealing with a pulled stomach muscle.
Despite all that, a rematch is expected, but Changaris is taking nothing for granted.
“Sure it would be great to play Campo but there are a lot of teams that want a piece of Northgate,” Changaris said. “And with the injuries and increased level of play, I am now just focusing on one match at a time.”
Foothill streak ends
The Falcons couldn’t quite get the streak to 50 matches.
After winning 49 in a row, Foothill traveled to San Jose to take on the No. 6 team in the country according to ESPN Rise, and lost to Bellarmine Prep in four games, 20-25, 25-16, 25-21, 25-17.
Foothill took the first game, but the Bells took over from there.
Nick Csongor had 34 assists, Pat Berrigan had 12 kills and four blocks, Jon Harold had eight kills and Justin Fung had 14 digs as this team proved it is clearly one of the top in the country.
Very little reason to change the rankings this week.
2. Amador Valley
4. Mission San Jose
6. De La Salle
9. Deer Valley
10. College Prep
14. Clayton Valley
15. Dougherty Valley