By GERARDO RECINOS
Alhambra’s volleyball teams loss on Tuesday could be blamed on a planet shift, or maybe full moon? Maybe a black cat made it’s way into the locker room pre-game?
Those could be the only sound reasons that the volleyball team, which had not even lost a set up until their Oct. 18 loss to Berean Christian.
They looked thoroughly unlike themselves in the 3-1 loss, and opened the door for a possible huge Diablo Athletic League clash against Clayton Valley Charter on Oct. 25.
Willie Marchesano’s team has been solid up to the loss, they had won seven in a row and nine out of their last 10 matches. But on Tuesday they looked off in every aspect of their game.
The passes that usually ended up in thunderous kills were a hair off. And the usually flawless court presence and communication looked shaken, especially after a set one win by Berean.
In that set, Berean was peppering basically any spot they wanted to on the court. Senior Peyton Greene converted seemingly at will for the Eagles. Her second kill of the match forced the Bulldogs to call timeout and restructured after going down 10-7. Greene had 15 kills to lead both teams.
Alhambra rebounded to their credit, like a star pitcher who doesn’t have his best stuff, they continued to battle. Leslie Roofener’s kill sparked a 4-0 run by Alhambra that would eventually see them open up a 15-12 lead. But that lead evaporated almost as quickly as it was built up.
Neither team seemed likely to pull away through the tightly contested set. A pair of aces from Michaela Charette and kills by Greene and Hannah Pilgrim secured the set win.
Worried, but not out of it, the Bulldogs battled back to win set two. Let’s not forget, they’ve been there before, down but not out.
Sterling Parker, who had 11 kills, in particular was big for the Bulldogs after an unusually quiet first set. Parker, Roofener, Gabby Chase and Erin Silva all had kills in the set, and an ace by Maddie Gray put the Bulldogs up at set point. Chase won the set for Alhambra with a strong kill.
No matter what they did though, the Bulldogs couldn’t find a rhythm. Credit to Berean who swooped on their chances to take down the top team in the league. Greene and Pilgrim lead the way in terms of scoring, but Charette was the one who made the team go, she was the key cog.
Berean used a 5-0 run to take the lead for good in the third set, but they were nearly shocked. A nice dig by Sophia Olson set up a kill by Roofener in an important spot. At that point the Bulldogs were down two points.
But of course, Pilgrim came through for Berean with yet another kill to seal the second set win.
In the third set, the Eagles pounced. They had a 6-0 run to start the set, and coasted on that lead all the way until the end. Alhambra cut the lead to 23-20 late in the set, and an ace by Rachel Thompson cut they lead to two momentarily.
But appropriately, the match ended with two errors where Alhambra’s communication let them down for the first time in league play.