Ending their phenomenal season, the varsity volleyball girls lost, 1-3, to the Stone Ridge Christian Knights from Merced in their semi-final match on Nov. 17.
The Cavs began their warm-up with red, black and white ribbons in their hair as dozens of pumped-up SCDS fans arrived at Jackson Sports Academy on McClellan Air Force Base.
Spirit committee members senior Julia Owaidat and sophomore Nina Dym handed out stickers, beads and paint.
Junior Alexa Mathisen had the first serve of the match, but possession of the ball was almost immediately lost when a net violation was called against the Cavs. Several more net violations would be called against the Cavs later in the match.
“Some of (the calls) were debatable,” sophomore Annya Dahmani said. “The net was pretty loose, so you could see the calls better.”
The Knights consistently hit to the back row, but sophomore libero Katia Dahmani had several good passes, allowing the Cavs to set up offensive plays and gain a five-point lead. The Cavs jumped ahead to win, 25-21.
In between sets Owaidat rallied the crowd and led the Cavalier fans in some cheers.
Sophomore Lily and senior Emma Brown, who had attended two of the Cavs’ matches earlier in the season, said that they were captivated by the match.
“There’s a lot of good teamwork,” Lily said.
As the second set began, the Cavs confidently gave each other high-fives and waved to the audience, but the moment a Knight served, a ref stopped play and called the Cavs out of rotation. The girls were obviously shocked, but readjusted themselves and got back into the match. The Knights went on to score three more points on the Cavs before head coach Jason Kreps called a timeout. Several members of the audience looked slightly nervous that the girls were already lagging.
Their panic increased as the Knights went on to gain a 10-point lead. The Cavs had tiny serving runs that couldn’t even compete with the Knights’ or give them a fighting chance. The Cavs switched to making more defensive plays and focusing on control instead of setting up successful, offensive hits.
Towards the end of the second set, freshmen Tori Van Vleck and Lia Kaufman said that they were a little worried that the girls were getting too flustered.
“(The Cavs) really need to keep up their energy because this team could really smack us,” Kaufman said.
“It’s scary to see some players and people in the audience get kind of frustrated and mad,” Van Vleck added.
The Cavs couldn’t make a comeback and lost 15-25.
“I loved the first game,” P.E. teacher Michelle Myers said. “So now we need to come out with the same tenacity and fire back.”
At the beginning of the third set, the crowd remained very quiet until the Cavs got a small lead. Possession went back and forth for the majority of the match. However the Cavs lost again, 24-26.
The moment the final set began, the Cavs were called out of rotation once again. The Cavs chose to pass and set the ball over more than hitting. By the first timeout, the Knights had a beatable five-point lead, but by the second they were up by 12. The Cavs lost their last set of the year, 11-25.
“It was a really tough team and competitive game,” junior Alexa Mathisen said. “Obviously we wanted to win, but it was fun. I think we have a lot to improve on for next year.”
The Cavs and their deflated fans slowly and quietly exited the gym.
The match was supposed to be held at Mather Sports Complex because the SCDS gym is under remodel. However the venue changed after Kreps measured the Mather court and found it was two inches shorter than regulation.
Mather Sports Complex would not allow Kreps to tape around the court to regulation, so athletic director Matt Vargo rented a court at Jackson Sports Academy.
During the match, the boys’ Northern California Volleyball Club practiced on several other courts surrounding the girls, so the gym was never quiet.
Eight teachers and two administrators attended the match.
Juniors Avi Bhullar and Kaeleigh Valverde did not attend the match because Bhullar was at a drama rehearsal and Valverde was sick.
The Cavs will reflect on their season and give awards on Tuesday, Dec. 15 at the Fall Sports Banquet.
—By Sonja Hansen