One moment on Thursday, Oct. 25, the gym was silent. The next, the crowd was roaring as the Cavs prepared to step on the court against the Stockton Christian Eagles.
At 6 p.m. on the dot, the crowd was silent once more as senior Tori Van Vleck went up to the service line for the first ball of the playoffs.
And with a strong serve the Cavs took the lead, quickly establishing a six-point lead, 8-2.
And the Cavs continue to strengthen their lead, establishing a 10-point lead at 16-6.
Dean of student life Patricia Jacobsen, along with a few student helpers, had prepared ace of hearts posters to stick on the wall everytime the girls got an ace.
“It’s like in major league baseball!” Jacobsen exclaimed, explaining the system to the student spectators.
And Jacobsen’s preparation paid off. As the Cavs scored two aces in a row – bringing the score to 18-6 – the spectators added two more posters to the gym wall.
And before the Eagles broke 10 points, the Cavs had won the first set 25-9.
But the second set wasn’t as easy for the Cavs.
Neither team was able to push ahead, and both stayed close until a 13-13 tie.
“We went into the second set very confident, which wasn’t necessarily a good thing,” senior Lia Kaufman said. “We kind of played down to their level.”
Coach Jason Kreps agreed.
“They were just going through the motions instead of really thinking it through,” he said.
But the Cavs were still able to break away, scoring seven points in a row, widening their lead to 20-13.
However, the Eagles weren’t ready to the give up the set, shrinking the gap to four points before the Cavs won the set 25-21.
The third set started similarly as the second, with both teams alternating points until 7-7.
However, the Cavs quickly established a nine-point lead, adding two more ace posters on the wall, bringing the girls to 19-10.
After 11th ace of the game, the Cavs brought the score to set and match point, 24-10.
And with a hit from junior Jewel Turner, the Cavs won their first playoff game with a 25-10 third set.
But the team’s major success this season wasn’t guaranteed.
“Every year we’ve played, we’ve made it to playoffs,” senior Bella Mathisen said. “But we lost a ton of players last year so there wasn’t a definite chance we would this year.”
Kreps said that though the girls played well, they still need to focus on improving certain gameplay aspects.
“They just need to keep communicating with each other and talking on the court,” Kreps said. “We also need to work on broken plays, where the ball goes all over the court, and it’s harder to set up a good hit.”
The Cavs will play Stone Ridge Christian High School at Stone Ridge Christian in Merced on Tuesday, Oct. 30, at 7 p.m.
The school has organized a charter bus to bring players and students to the game, which will leave at 3:25 p.m. on Tuesday.