Lady Dogs cruise to win in straight sets

Alhambra junior Sophia Olson makes on of her team-high 13 digs in the Bulldogs’ 3-0 win over Freedom-Oakley on Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2016. (MARK FIERNER / Martinez Tribune)
Alhambra junior Sophia Olson makes on of her team-high 13 digs in the Bulldogs’ 3-0 win over Freedom-Oakley on Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2016. (MARK FIERNER / Martinez Tribune)
By GERARDO RECINOS
Martinez Tribune

The Alhambra girls probably won’t have an easier day out on the court than they did on Sept. 13. If you were told to make a list of players who had a positive impact you would probably just have to copy the whole roster.

It was a stunningly dominating effort from the Bulldog girls, who swept Freedom-Oakley 3-0 in a non-league contest at Alhambra High School.

55 minutes after the first serve, the match was done and dusted and the poles came down with the Alhambra girls proudly walking away winners, and once again owners of a winning record (3-2 as of Tribune deadline).

It was a good omen when the Bulldogs jumped out to a 9-4 lead. Sterling Parker continued to back up her strong freshman season to prove sophomore slumps aren’t a real thing. She had two of her team high nine kills in the opening stages of the match.

Those kills were backed up with two aces from senior Makenzie Salva in consecutive serves.

While the 9-4 jump start was impressive, what followed was even better. The Bulldogs cruised to an opening set win with a 16-3 run that spanned the rest of the opening set to set a season-best set win mark at 25-7. Of the seven points Freedom managed to scrape in the opening set, all but one came from errors from the Bulldogs.

By the time the first set was over, Parker already had six kills, while Salva had four kills to go along with a pair of aces. Junior Gabby Chase also had a pair of kills, while fellow junior Erin Silva added two aces of her own to flatter the Bulldog stat book.

Naturally, the Bulldogs took their foot off the gas briefly in the second set, out of respect for their opponent. But even then, it was clear that the two teams were off a different class. Parker had a pair of kills in the opening minutes of the second set before taking a prolonged rest on the bench. Chase became the third Alhambra player to record a pair of aces to pump the Bulldog lead up to 6-2 in the early stages of the set.

The second set didn’t quite go as seamlessly and quickly as the opener, but the Bulldogs still looked relatively untested as they coasted to yet another set win. The Alhambra hitters continued their dominance, but defensively the line of Sophia Olson, Erin Silva and setter Maddie Gray played flawlessly. Olson and Silva lead the way with 13 digs each.

Their third set win was the mostly hotly contest of the three on the day, but even then that one too ended with the Bulldogs winning by a margin of 25-14.

Freedom started finding some spots on the court that previously they couldn’t get to. Their passing, which was struggling in the opening two sets, improved in the third. Hitters got better service, and as a result, they took better shots.

Still by the time coach Willie Marchesano inserted some of his starters back into the game, their was no doubt the Alhambra girls would turn around the 9-8 deficit and make it a big win. They were aided by errors from Freedom, but did well to take their chances when they were handed to them.

Chase notched her team-high third and fourth aces in the closing stages of the final set, but it was senior Leslie Roofener who finished off the Falcons with a kill for match point, her fifth of the night.

The Alhambra girls took on former Diablo Foothill Athletic League foe Acalanes on Sept. 15, after Tribune deadline. For results from that match, please see the Friday, Sept. 23, edition of the Tribune.

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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