By GERARDO RECINOS
After a history-making season, it’s hard to imagine being happy after a loss. A 3-0 loss at that. But what the Alhambra volleyball team accomplished is far bigger than that.
This year’s team brought the program it’s first North Coast Section win earlier this month when they defeated Analy-Sebastapol.
That run was ended by Marin Catholic, who went on to win the Division III title, but with the semi-final qualification the girls would go on to fight one more day. Marin Catholic went on to compete in the tougher Open Division of the Nor Cal playoffs.
Being Drawn into the CIF Nor Cal Playoffs probably never even seemed possible, but on Nov. 16, the girls took the two-hour drive to Buhach Colony High School in Atwater.
Buhach took care of business fairly quickly in the first round, and have since advanced to the regional semi-final where they take on Acalanes. (Results of that match came in after early Tribune deadline due to the Thanksgiving Holiday).
“[The] girls played well and worked super hard. A lot of stuff didn’t go our way unfortunately tonight,” Willie Marchesano said in an email after the Nov. 16 match.
Sterling Parker led the Bulldogs with 10 kills and five blocks on the night. The sophomore’s joining of the program has coincided with the team’s two best years in program history. Senior’s Makenzie Salva and Maddie Gray put together solid nights in their last appearances as Bulldogs, with Salva recording three kills and a block to go with five digs. Gray had 12 assists and five digs as well.
Prior to the last two North Coast Section appearances, the Bulldog girls volleyball team had not made it to the playoffs since 1987. That showing was the team’s first ever. The 1987 team won their league as did the 2016 Bulldogs.
In 2015, the Bulldogs were knocked out of the playoffs in a five-set thriller against Albany High School, the same team that knocked out the last Alhambra league champions 28 years prior.
Of the 15 girls who played at the varsity level in 2016, eight were seniors, however one of them was on injured reserve all season. All of the remaining seven players have played with the program from their freshman years until now.