High school volleyball teams will play their final North Bay League matches this week, with both El Molino and Analy looking to close it out on a strong note.
Both teams are coming off exciting stretches on the NBL court, with the Tigers pulling off a five-set Oak Division upset over Windsor while the Redwood Division-leading Lions fell from the ranks of the league unbeaten in a five-set loss to Healdsburg.
Lions eye league pennant
El Molino (7-1, 22-7) will finish up NBL play with road and home matches against Elsie Allen (Oct. 22, after press time) and Piner (Oct. 24, Senior Night, 6 p.m.). The Lions need one more win to lock up their first league title in 15 years.
“We gave up our undefeated league run and haven’t clinched yet,” El Mo coach Becky Sani said. “Hopefully it (the Healdsburg loss) lights a fire in us and makes us work harder and play smarter.”
The Lions began their latest stretch down one starter in an Oct. 15 clash with visiting Ukiah, taking the Wildcats in straight sets: 25-20, 25-23, 25-20.
“The sets look closer than the match felt,” Sani noted. “We hit hard, and they answered back with good defense.”
“We were missing one of our right-side hitters so we tried out Maggie McKelvey-Whisler in that spot, and she did a great job.”
Statistical leaders were Kassidy Sani (18 kills, 4 aces, 11 digs), Sasha Senal (14 kills, 9 digs), Grace McCormick (30 assists), Yasmin Sierra (5 digs, 5 assists) and Sequoia Alfonso (5 digs).
El Molino traveled to take on a hungry Healdsburg squad in a rematch on Oct. 17, but this time the Greyhounds were up to the task, upsetting the Lions in five sets: 25-18, 19-25, 25-17, 23-25, 12-15.
“It was a day the universe decided to have the underdogs win,” coach Sani reasoned. “We played good volleyball, and they played great volleyball.”
Leading the attack were Kassidy Sani (23 kills, 2 aces, 11 digs), Senal (17 kills, 8 digs),
McCormick (42 assist, 6 digs), Sierra (9 digs), Alfonso (5 aces, 4 digs) and Brooklynn Hayes (5 kills).
Tigers gain split
Analy could be labeled the “Cardiac Kids” of the NBL Oak Division this season, having extended five of eight league matches to five sets.
That trend continued in an Oct. 15 visit to Maria Carrillo, falling to the Pumas in five games: 25-20, 13-25, 25-23, 16-25, 9-15.
Stat leaders included Gea Foggetti (11 kills, 3 solo blocks), Cassie McKnight (12 kills), Bree Scott (35 digs) and Marquesa Weigel (19 digs).
The Tigers were up to their old tricks two nights later in a home match with Windsor, outlasting the Jaguars in five: 25-21, 21-25, 21-25, 25-19, 15-12.
Turning in standout efforts were Bella Puget (16 kills), Scott (40 digs), Gillian Campbell (16 digs, 18 assists) and Avery Tollini (16 digs, 2 aces).
The Tigers (1-7, 7-13) will wrap up league play with home matches against Montgomery (Oct. 22) and Santa Rosa (Oct. 24, Senior Night). The varsity match starts at 6:15 p.m.