By GERARDO RECINOS
It was a neat, tidy, 59-minute match on the road in Lafayette for the Lady Bulldog volleyball team. In short, it was everything they didn’t want.
Acalanes’ height, hitting and overall dominance was put on display on Tuesday night during their senior day celebrations as they too prepare for a run in the North Coast Section playoffs with their 3-0 win.
It took nearly two-and-a-half sets for junior hitter Ainise Taimani to make her mark on the match, not something we’ve said at any point this season. She and all the other Bulldog hitters had to deal with a strong set of blockers for the Dons that included 6-foot 2-inch middle blocker Theresa Nevins, a sophomore, and 6-foot 2-inch junior outside hitter Parker Jones.
Seemingly every shot from Alhambra took at least a deflection from either one of the Acalanes duo, or one of the other players who did a great job getting a hand on anything the Bulldogs hit.
Alhambra started off sloppily; a couple moments of miscommunication allowed Acalanes to reel off a couple of aces, and a 9-1 lead.
Of the hitters, only sophomore Sophia Olson seemed to be able to break through the steel curtain the Dons boasted. Senior Haley Jones chipped in a kill of her own, as did fellow senior Lexi Hammer, but Alhambra could only manage 11 points in the opening set.
That ties their lowest total in a single set all season. The first also came against the Dons on Oct. 8.
They didn’t fair much better in the second set, but this time got a solid performance from another underclassman, Makenzie Salva. The junior, who led the team with eight kills on the night, has shared time as outside hitter with a couple of players, but has gotten into the squad more frequently.
She and sophomore Gabby Chase got time in the second and third sets to spell some of the regulars and made the most of their time on the court. Chase totaled three kills in a set and a half of play.
Defensively, the Bulldogs couldn’t cope with Acalanes. Whether it came from Nevins and Jones, or seniors Mimi White and captain Maddie Graham, Acalanes hit the ball with authority.
When you look at the results the Bulldogs were able to get against Campolindo, and then go back and look at the box scores in Acalanes’ two losses to the Campo Cougars, it really supports the notion that the Diablo Foothill Athletic League’s volleyball is top quality.
The Bulldogs likely wouldn’t match up against the Dons in the first round of the North Coast Section playoffs, but could meet again this season. Acalanes and Miramonte are the only two teams in the DFAL that compete in Division III in volleyball.
The Lady Bulldogs will celebrate their own senior day on Thursday, Oct. 5, 2015, after Tribune deadline. Results from that game can be found online at http://MartinezTribune.com.
North Coast Section seeding will be decided on Sunday, Oct. 8, 2015. Results and reactions from the seeding will also be available online.