For most of the offseason, Coach Willie Marchesano has been trying to track down the answer to a simple question: when was the last time a girl’s volleyball team from Alhambra made it to the playoffs.
The seemingly simple question has yet to be answered. That is what makes this team special.
With their 3-1 win over the College Park Falcons at home on Wednesday night the Bulldog ladies topped last years start, earning their seventh win of the season in a row to continue their perfect start to the season.
The hot start is key because of how tough the Diablo Foothill Athletic League (DFAL) is.
Alhambra took a big lead early on to start their big win over College Park. The Lady Dogs took advantage of some Falcon errors to grab an early lead, but kills by Haley Jones and Gabby Chase established a solid lead.
Throughout the whole first game the Bulldogs were clearly in control. There were minimal errors, but College Park was giving their best effort.
The Falcons’ closest deficit was three points at one time, but a block by Jones and a kill by Sophia Olson opened up a gap the Bulldogs would keep. Olson and Jones led the Bulldogs with five kills apiece.
Lexi Hammer’s kill after a timeout by College Park helped start Alhambra’s efforts to close out the game in Alhambra’s favor, 25-20.
In game two, the Bulldogs were equally dominant, but were aided by more than a couple College Park errors. Alhambra opened up a 9-4 lead following a run that included an ace from Maddie Gary and a kill by Makenzie Salva.
As the game went on, Alhambra continued to extend their lead through a fine passing display as setter Lexy Swenson set up Jones and Salva on back-to-back kills. Swenson had 21 assists on the night for the Lady Dogs.
After a rough stretch where they failed to close out on College Park three times, Alhambra finally managed to shut the door on an ace by Jones.
The third game was the only one that College Park was able to steal from the Dogs, but it was very nearly a 3-0 sweep from Alhambra. The Bulldogs trailed the entire game. They showed great perseverance by fighting back from a five-point deficit to tie things up at 20-20 late on, and once more at 23-23.
But College Park would win two consecutive points to grab a win and force Alhambra to play one more.
In the fourth game, the Bulldogs completely took care of business from the get go. After falling behind in the first few minutes, 5-2, the Bulldogs immediately reeled off a hot streak that had them up by 18-10 late on.
During that 16-5 run, Chase re-entered the game to compliment Olson, who also re-entered to help finish off the Dogs. The two sophomores in particular had good games for Coach Marchesano. Senior Leslie Roofener also contributed two late kills to help see the Falcons off. Roofener had four on the evening.
Alhambra took the final game 25-14, to take the match.
The Lady Bulldogs take on the Concord Minutemen on Thursday night in their final preseason game before DFAL play.