By GERARDO RECINOS
The defending North Coast Section champion Bulldogs hosted the team they beat in the semi-finals on Tuesday night.
But there was a big difference between the team that won last season, and the team that fell in straight sets on March, 7.
Only two players on the current team were apart of last year’s magical run, seniors Andrew Olvera and Luqman Abdurrohman.
Three times Alhambra beat Campolindo last season. This time around the Cougars were the ones who left victorious.
Coach Peter Crowley notes that this season will be a rebuilding year for the program that made consecutive playoff appearances.
Campo’s players took control of the match nearly seconds into the start of the competition. The Bulldogs took a very brief 2-1 lead in the match. It lasted for single point.
With the lead of future US junior national team player Gage Worsley, the Cougars went on a 7-1 run that caused the Bulldogs to call a time out.
They quickly took the opening set by the score of 25-11, with their whole starting unit being pulled early on to make way for some of the second string.
The second string didn’t miss a beat, and continued the one-sided nature of the contest. It was quite clear that this Bulldog team didn’t have the same experience level their predecessors did.
All the same there were still some bright spots. Sophomore Wyatt Hammer reeled off a few kills, and Crowley speaks very highly of the first-year player. He along with fellow sophomore Morgan Wilson in the middle of the court did well to contest the Campo hitters.
The level of quality the Cougars presented was just too much to cope with. In the second set the Cougars cruised to a huge 25-6 win that included a 16-1 run that spanned the whole set.
The performance was forgettable, but the heart the team showed despite the fact they were losing was admirable. At no time did the players hang their heads. And with that show of pride they continued to make strides.
In the third set, the Bulldogs put up their best set of the night.
The starting unit didn’t enter the contest until late on, but the Bulldogs did manage to hold a brief lead in set three. A block from Hammer and an ace by junior Tyler Caspar put Alhambra up 5-1 early on.
Campo caught up and erased the lead almost instantly, but there was fight from the Bulldogs.
Alhambra did well to keep the set competitive, but the quality the visitors possess they eventually were defeated.