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Lady Dogs stay perfect, beat Concord in straight sets

Alhambra senior Lexi Hammer goes high to place her shot in the Bulldogs’ 3-0 win over the Concord Minutemen on Thursday, Sept. 10, 2015. (GERARDO RECINOS / Martinez Tribune)

The Alhambra varsity volleyball team will have a nice solid week to fondly look back and reflect on their first eight games of the season after their most recent win.

A three-games-to-nothing victory over the Concord Minutemen on Thursday night sees the Bulldogs improve to a perfect 8-0 in their preseason campaign, a huge step for the Bulldogs who start Diablo Foothill Athletic League (DFAL) play in two weeks.

With 12 games to be played in league play, the Bulldogs have already put themselves in  a great position to qualify for a North Coast Section berth.

And with their performance on Thursday night, it’s clear they deserve to qualify – not just be on the outside looking in.

In their first game, the Bulldogs and Minutemen were evenly matched for all of five minutes before Alhambra blew past them with a scorching 12-1 run that included two kills by sophomore Gabby Chase, one from fellow sophomore Sophia Olson, and a pair of aces by senior setter Lexy Swenson.

Alhambra was aided by some early sloppiness from Concord, but for the most part, it was the Dogs’ calculated hitting that doomed the Minutemen.

Junior Makenzie Salva serves it up  in the Bulldogs' 3-0 win over the Concord Minutemen on Thursday, Sept. 10, 2015.
Junior Makenzie Salva serves it up in the Bulldogs’ 3-0 win over the Concord Minutemen on Thursday, Sept. 10, 2015. (GERARDO RECINOS / Martinez Tribune)

In game two, the Bulldogs got a great performance from junior Makenzie Salva, who reeled off three aces in a row at one point to put the Bulldogs up by a score of 13-4. Senior Leslie Roofener followed up that effort with a booming kill, and senior Emma Farr’s ace put Alhambra up by 10 at that point.

Salva’s consecutive aces bested senior Lexi Hammer’s pair earlier in the game that broke a tie in the opening stages of the match.

The Bulldogs rounded out the second game by an impressive tally of 25-11, only slightly off the pace of their 25-10 win in the match’s opening game.

In game three the Bulldogs truly earned their win, because for the opening five minutes it wasn’t pretty.

Alhambra allowed Concord to reel off eight points without getting one of their own, until Roofener broke the streak with a kill.

With all credit to Concord for riling up the crowd, and gaining some momentum from the Bulldog’s momentary lapse in play, it was clear that once the Lady Dogs got rolling the opening minutes would look like a fluke.

After a second timeout from Coach Willie Marchesano, the Bulldogs got rolling. Salva recorded a kill straight from the restart, the first of her three in the final game.

Senior Haley Jones, who recorded two kills in the final game in limited time, followed up her teammates to bring Alhambra within four points. Karissa Wiebalk’s ace brought things level at 17, and although Concord would pull back a lead, it was only momentary.

Alhambra would end up winning the third game by a mark of 25-18, despite the adversity they faced, outscoring Concord 24-8 after they took their second timeout of the game early on.

With the win and a perfect 8-0 record in hand, the Bulldogs will take a week off from games before playing in a weekend tournament on Saturday, Sept. 19, before opening DFAL play on Sept. 24, against the Miramonte Matadors on the road in Orinda, California.

About Gerardo Recinos

Gerardo Recinos is a journalist currently living in Concord, Calif. He is a recent graduate of San Francisco State University, with a degree in Journalism (History minor). Gerardo covers sports throughout Martinez and Pleasant Hill. It's his lifelong mission to get people in the U.S. to stop calling football "soccer," and to call American football "handegg."

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