Nov 15 – NCS Football: Dons Snap Dragons in Win Over Sonoma Valley

The Setting: The Dons, ranked number 7 in the NCS Division III football bracket, hosted the number 10 Sonoma Valley Dragons under a full mooned, clear-skied Saturday evening.  This was the first round playoff match of the NCS Post-season series.

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The Play:

1st Quarter:  The Dons began the game by kicking off to the Dragons.  Senior kicker Chad Johnson put his foot to the ball and blasted it into the endzone for a no-return touchback.  On the first play from scrimmage the Dragons decided to run to the left.  Senior  safety Robbie Stern, while making the tackle, ripped out the ball causing a fumble, but the Dragons recovered it resulting in a gain of 11 yards and a first down.  A bruising tackle by junior noseguard Tom Hofmeister on the next play, and a chase-out-of-bounds by sophomore linebacker Tom Henderson on second down brought a 3rd and 6 from the 35.  Sonoma Valley took too much time to get their play off and was penalized 5 yards to make it 3rd and 11.  They attempted a swing pass to the left but junior linebacker Jared Finney read it correctly and hit the receiver as he caught the ball; a 1-yard loss and time to punt.  The punt flew and was taken by junior punt returner Sam deRoque at the Dons’ 41.  He started up the middle of the field, followed his blocks, cut to the right side and blazed down the sideline into the endzone.  It was happy-time for deRoque and the home crowd until everyone realized a yellow penalty flag had been thrown back up field. A block in the back against Acalanes was the call and the Dons began their drive from the Dragons 37.

#2 Sam de Roque TD run (called back). #86 Kyle Kinnear follows the play.
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Senior running back Pete Mitchell started things out for the Dons with a hard-driving 13-yard run and that was followed by a nifty short pass play from junior quarterback Casey Harrington to senior wide receiver Brett Merrill.  On 3rd and 3 from the Dragons’ 21 yard line the big offensive line of senior right tackle Alex Harper, sophomore right guard Grant Young, senior center Drew Rule, junior left guard Cole Ashburn, and junior left tackle Brady Aiello began what was to be a recurring theme: big holes and plenty of pass protection.  The handoff went to Mitchell — he saw daylight and charged on through for a first down.  The Dons would get to a 3rd and 5 from the 8 and an offsides call further helped their quest for an initial TD.  Mitchell again got the call, followed the left-side blocking and got in for the score.  Johnson booted the ball through the uprights to make it 7-0 Dons.

Offensive linemen Grant Young (52) and Brady Aiello (71) plow a highway for Peter Mitchell (25).
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Johnson then kicked off to the Dragons, a short kick to the 27, the ball bounced and both Finney and deRoque dove on top of it.  Finney came up clutching the ball and it was go-time for the Dons with a 1st and 10 at the Dragons’ 27.  Senior wide receiver Andrew Bosshart lines up wide left, Merrill wide right.  Stern in the right slot.  Senior receiver John Lauth goes into motion from left to right, loading up the right side.  Rule snaps the ball and it’s looking like a pass to either Lauth or Stern.  But bolting straight for the right corner of the end zone was Merrill.  He was wide open and Harrington didn’t miss him.  The pass was an arcing thing of beauty, suspended long enough for everyone in the stands to see it, judge its landing point, look there to see Merrill on the run and watch with anticipation as the two came together.  The ball landed perfectly in the black-gloved hands of Merrill for an Acalanes touchdown.  The sure-footed Johnson converted the extra point and the Dons led 14-0.

Brett Merrill (28) TD catch
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The Dragons began their following drive at their own 23.  They called a run up the middle but junior defensive end Chris Brock was there to make the tackle for a 1-yard gain.  A couple plays later it’s 1st and 10 from the 35 and a strange but successful play is run by the Dragons.  Shotgun formation, single running back to the right. The ball is snapped and instead of handing off directly to the running back, both the quarterback and running back are somehow both hanging on to the ball.  They take a couple steps forward into the pile and the QB emerges with the ball running to the left side.  He gets all the way to the Dons’ 37 where Stern shoves him out of bounds.  The Dons Defensive front three of junior defensive end Michael FinkHofmeister, and senior defensive end Kyle Kinnear were tough on the Dragons and had them stopped at the 8 yard line.  First play was a no-gainer.  Second play was a run for a yard.  On 3rd and goal from the 7 it was a QB keeper but blitzing senior linebacker Tommy Kresnak blasted through the middle and drilled the QB for a 1-yard loss.  The Dragons successfully kicked a field goal bringing the score to 14-3.

Tommy Kresnak (4) leads the defense leveling the QB. Also on the play is John Lauth (24).
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Sonoma Valley kicked off and the Dons began their drive from the 28.  Steady play and an 11-yard catch by Bosshart brought it to 1st and 10 from the 50, and the end of the 1st quarter.

2nd Quarter:  More solid play from the offense, featuring Stern with a 5-yard reception, the steady running of Mitchell, and the dependable blocking of the front line.  When it got to 3rd and goal from the 8 the Dons crowd was hoping for a TD.  The players lined up with Bosshart wide left, Stern wide right, Mitchell straight back and Harrington under center.  The ball was on the right hash.  Harrington began his count and Rule snapped the ball.  Harrington drops back and sees Bosshart streaking to the middle.  He fires a dart to Bosshart who brings it in just over the goal line for another Dons TD.  Again, Johnson puts the extra point through and the Dons are really in business with a 21-3 lead.

Chad Johnson (85) kicked a perfect 7 of 7 PATs. Holding is John Lauth (24).
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But the Dragons still had plenty of fire in them and on their next drive they showed it.  The Sonoma Valley running back in particular was a beast, and it took excellent tackling by linebackers Kresnak, Finney, Tom Henderson, and senior Ben Kim to keep him under control.  But the Dragons persisted and wound up scoring making it 21-10.

After the kickoff, Acalanes started their drive at the 29.  Mitchell ran it to the left for a gain of 6 but there was a downpour of penalty flags on the play.  A facemask penalty was called against the Dragons and the 15-yard penalty brought the ball to the Dons’ 44 yard line.  In a few plays it was 1st and 10 at the Sonoma Valley 47 where a nice pass from Harrington finds the sticky hands of Merrill for a 6-yard gain and a fresh set of downs.  It’s 1st and 10 from the 41.  The huddle breaks and the Dons line up with Bosshart wide left, junior tight end Christo Collett in the left slot, Stern in the right slot and Merrill wide right.  Harrington in the shotgun with Mitchell on his left.  Rule snaps it and Harrington is patient.  The O-line gives him all the time he needs.  And all the time Merrill needs to streak down the right side.  He gets a step on his defender and Harrington launches another bomb, seemingly airborne for minutes, and hits Merrill at the 7 yard line.  Merrill never breaks stride and runs into the end zone for an Acalanes touchdown.  Johnson converts, and the Dons lead 28-10.

Brett Merrill’s 2nd catch for a TD
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Acalanes is fired up at this point and on the Dragons’ first play after the kickoff the defense shuts down a pass attempt.  On the second play the Dragons try a shovel pass to the running back on the left but waiting there is Kim who locks up the back for a loss.  On third down the Dragons’ quarterback looks downfield, throws a 30-yard pass and a diving catch is made… by Andrew Bosshart for an interception.  He laid out, fully extended, and made an outstanding fingertip catch.

Andrew Bosshart (7) bringing in an interception. Along side is Robbie Stern (17).
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The Dons now have the ball with a first and 10 at the 50.  Harrington in the shotgun.  Three wideouts and Stern in the slot.  Rule snaps it, Harrington has plenty of time to checkdown his receivers.  And in what has become a recurring theme, there is Merrill again with a step on his defender.  Harrington takes a skip and a stride and gives the ball a mighty heave – the ball leaves his hand on the Dons’ 41 yard line and there it goes.  Spinning, pointing upward then upon reaching the apex of its arc gently begins pointing downward on its descent, traveling to its destination at the 9 yard line, again, into the black-gloved hands of the striding Brett Merrill.  50 yards through the air the ball flew, and Merrill high-stepping, carried it the rest of the way into the end zone.  Again Johnson on the PAT; now the score stood at 35-10 with a minute and a half to play in the 2nd quarter.

Brett Merrill’s 3rd TD catch
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Johnson kicks off and places it short, to the up-men.  The Dragons begin their drive thinking of scoring in that final one and a half minutes.  They complete an 8-yard pass.  They run for a first down.  They run again for a 7 yard gain.  It’s second down and 3 from the 39 with 12 seconds left.  They are on a roll.  The QB is in the shot gun, calls out the snap count, and everyone goes.  He takes a 3-step drop… a 5-step drop… checking, looking; lets the ball fly.  And there again is Merrill – he jumps the receiver’s route and picks off the pass at the 10 yard line, returning it upfield until he runs out of bounds at the 40 as time expires in the half.

Brett Merrill interception
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3rd Quarter:  The Dragons kick off to the Dons to start the second half.  The first two downs see Pete Mitchell running plays – one of them for 11 yards.  And now with the ball on their own 44 the Dons line up again.  Harrington under center.  Tom Henderson, behind Harrington, is in at fullback to lead the train wreck.  Behind him is Finney at running back.  The play is a handoff to Finney; a run off left tackle.  Everyone is blocking and Finney is pinballing hard and making his way forward through the melee.  He somehow springs free and accelerates up the left sideline.  There are two possible defenders with an angle on him, but when they meet, Finney is at top speed and does not bother with a straight arm.  He does not bother with a juke, a feint, or some kind of hokey fake. He just mows the first guy down and runs over him.  The other defender is now chasing Finney but there is no possible way he will be denied that touchdown.  From the 40 yard line on, the defender is trying to catch up but remains a step behind him. He crosses the goal line and several teammates run down to congratulate him on a truly impressive effort.  Johnson is good on the PAT bringing the score to 42-10.

Jared Finney (26) running for a TD. Following the play is Alex Harper (73).
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The Dragons returned the kick and began their drive.  They did well, and got all the way down to a 1st and 10 from the Dons’ 15.  They attempted a pass, completed it at the 10, and the receiver turned to run to the goal line.  But again, there was Brett Merrill.  He hit the receiver hard, causing a fumble.  Junior defensive back Jack Hood was Johnny-on-the-spot and dove on the ball to recover it for the Dons.  Acalanes got it to a 3rd down and 4 from their own 30.  Harrington fakes a handoff to Finney and runs right, then upfield for a quick 30 yard gain.  1st and 10 now from the Dragons’ 40 yard line.  They line up and it looks familiar with Henderson in at fullback and Finney behind him.  Sure enough, it’s the same play for Finney that he scored on the last time.  And just like last time it featured him agilely pounding his way through the quagmire of bodies to emerge in stride up the left side.  And just like last time it was him again streaking past defenders on his way to the endzone for another Dons’ TD.  Another Chad Johnson PAT makes it 49-10.

Jared Finney’s second TD run.  Running downfield with the play is Brady Aiello (71).
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After the kickoff the Dragons begin their drive, this time from their own 8 yard line.  On the first play it’s a run, and senior nose tackle Colin Watson got through the line and wrapped up the running back for a tidy 1-yard loss.

4th Quarter:  The Dragons will eventually punt and the Dons begin at their own 25.  Sophomore Leo Barakos is in at running back and pounds out two runs of three yards each.  Acalanes does not get the first down and punts and the Dragons are back with the ball with a 1st and 10 at the 50.  Senior Brian Lillienstein blitzes, is not picked up and he makes a superb tackle for no gain.  The Dragons keep up the fight and make it to a 1st and goal from the 8.  They attempt a pass, but the ever-alert junior safety John O’Malley jumps the route and snags the interception at the 1 yard line.  He sprints it out to the 22 before a shoe-string tackle trips him up and prevents another Dons touchdown.

The Dons continued to chew up time in the quarter with solid running by Barakos and good game management by sophomore quarterback Jake Berry.  They would eventually turn the ball over on downs at the Dragons’ 31 yard line, and the Dragons would give every effort to score again.  They never would though and the Dons successfully completed this first game of the NCS Playoff Series.

Jake Berry (80) hands off to Leo Barakos
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The next game will be against the number 2 seed Campolindo at Campolindo, Friday at 7:00 pm.

Final Score Acalanes Dons 49, Sonoma Valley Dragons 10

Brian Aiello

Nov 1 -Varsity Football- Dons Keep Bulldogs Under Control

The Setting: And here it was, the final game of the regular season – a season that seemed to have started so long ago yet come to an end so quickly.  The boys are now a season older and wiser, having seen the excitement and giddiness an of an early win streak, the reality check of an injury-plagued mid-season skid, and the confidence-building of turning it around and winning two straight going into this final matchup. The Alhambra Bulldogs were in town, needing a victory to keep their playoff hopes alive, and the Dons although already in the playoff picture, needed a win to assure a first round NCS home game.  A loss would mean travelling to a site yet to be determined.  A 6-hour bus trip to Eureka loomed in the minds of many NCS-experienced parents.

1st Quarter:  Team captains Robbie Stern, Alex Harper, Grant Henderson, and John Lauth met with their Alhambra counterparts and the officials for the coin toss.  Acalanes called it right and chose to begin the game by kicking off to the Bulldogs.  On the kick, the speedy and ever-present Johnny-O (junior John O’Malley) delivered the game’s first big hit by shouldering his weight into the midsection of the Bulldogs’ return man, bringing him to the ground.  On Alhambra’s second play from scrimmage senior Linebacker John Lauth blocked the pass attempt and the Dons forced a 3-and-out for the Bulldogs.  After a short punt Acalanes had great field position at their own 43 and on 1st down junior Quarterback Casey Harrington went to the air.  Senior Andrew Bosshart brought in the 8-yard pass in the left flat. Next up, Peter Mitchell ran for a first down on the left side after taking advantage of an outstanding block by Left Guard Cole Ashburn.  Down to the 27, it was 3rd and 4 and this time Harrington went to Lauth for 9 yards and another first down. Then with a first down at the 13, a pass play was called and Harrington dropped back. Searching for an open man and finding none, he deftly evaded a tackle and decided to make a run for it.  He chose the left side, followed the path cleared by two big men, senior Wide Receiver Robbie Stern and junior Left Tackle Brady Aiello, and dashed safely into the endzone for a Dons TD.  Senior Center Drew Rule snapped the ball to Lauth who placed it down for junior Kicker Chad Johnson to put through for the PAT.  7-0 Dons.

On the following kickoff Senior Ben Kim tracked the return man and delivered a big hit to bring him down.  The Bulldogs began their first offensive series well, despite Bosshart’s tackle on a keeper for no gain and Senior Anthony Seiler’s solid wrap-up and take-down for short yardage.  And on two big plays it was 1st and goal for Alhambra from the 2.  They attempted a run off tackle but a host of Dons were there and the play went for a 1-yard loss.  The ‘Dogs would eventually score a touchdown, but would miss the PAT.  7-6 was now the score.

Alhambra tried an onside kick, but it was handled perfectly at the front line by Lauth who went up high to snag it, was hit hard by the tackler, but hung on to give the Dons great starting field position at the 50.  On 1st down the call was a run.  The big offensive line of LT Aiello, LG Ashburn, C Rule, sophomore RG Grant Young and senior RT Alex Harper cleared the path for the quick-footed Mitchell and he burst forward and through for a 12-yard gain and first down.  Then the Dons took to the air, this time on a 1st and 10 with Harrington dropping back, letting the play develop, then spinning a bullet to a streaking Robbie Stern over the middle.  Harrington hit Stern in stride and he turned upfield at a full run.  It is no easy task to bring down a hard-running, stiff-arming, 6-foot-4 220-lb player with the intent of running through you, and that is what the two Alhambra defensive backs experienced as Stern mowed them down on his way to a 20-yard run-after-catch.  He was finally forced out of bounds at the 25.  But things often have a way of balancing out, and on 2nd and 4 from the 15, a Bulldog linebacker cut in front of a Harrington pass at the 8 yard line and came up with an interception.  The defense stood tall though, led by senior Defensive End Kyle Kinnear, junior Nose Guard Tom Hofmeister, and junior Defensive End Chris Brock.  The Bulldogs attempted three running plays but the Defensive Line stymied their efforts and kept them to a 3-and-out.  After the punt the Dons began with a 1st and 10 at the Alhambra 40 – great field position.  But the Bulldogs had a tough defense of their own and the Dons could not gain a fresh set of downs despite going for it on a 4th and 15 from the 34.

2nd Quarter: The Bulldogs took over at the 34 and began an impressive series of plays, steadily gaining yardage and ended up scoring a TD.  They would attempt a 2-point conversion to make up for the earlier missed PAT, and would have succeeded if not for the explosive hit and drive-to-the-ground of the QB by junior Michael Fink.  The score stood at 7-12 (Dons’ score listed first).

Both defenses showed their skills as neither team scored for two possessions each.  It was the Dons who would come up with a scoring drive first and it started with Mitchell blasting his way through a field of defenders on a 1st and 10 from his own 36.  His run was good for 11 yards and a first down.  Coach Ivankovich would give Mitchell his fill of action on this possession as Mitchell then ran 8 yards, was held up briefly, then with huge second effort blasted out another 8 yards for a 16-yard gain.  Next play it was Mitchell again zipping through the hole opened up by the big O-linemen, and then taking advantage of a great lead block by Harper to finish at the 20 yard line.  The offensive line was having its way with the defensive front of the Bulldogs and Ivankovich had no intention of letting them rest at this point.  The next play was to Mitchell again and he battled his way for a 7 yard gain.  An offsides penalty by Alhambra brought a 1st and goal at the 4 yard line.  With the shortened field it was tough to advance and it got down to 4th and goal from the 2.  Time was also a factor – just four seconds left until the end of the first half.  This was it.  Harrington shouted his count; the linemen were set, focused and absolutely still.  Rule snapped the ball and every player exploded, intent on his individual mission.  The play was a keeper but what made it happen was a complete sell job from Mitchell on the fake handoff and dive between center and left guard into the endzone without the ball.  Most of the Alhambra team bought it and committed to the fake.  Harrington rolled to his right and toward the front right corner of the endzone.  Two Bulldogs were bearing down on him but Ashburn completely took out one of them with a great lead block and Harrington flat out beat the other to the goal line for the TD.  With the score at 13-12, Ivankovich decides to go for a 2-point conversion.  The teams line up; Ivankovich doesn’t like what he sees and calls a time out.  They then line up a second time.  Rule grabs the ball and the rest of the line gets info formation.  But before they set the defensive safety calls time out.  All this with no time left on the clock – but it’s a big play: if the Dons get the two points they go up by a field goal.  If not they only lead by one.  The two teams line up again, the ball is snapped, and Lauth flares out to the right flat to catch the bullet that is already on its way from Harrington.  Dons lead 15-12 at the end of the first half.

3rd Quarter: To begin the second half the Bulldogs tried an onside kick.  They recovered it, but the ball did not travel the requisite 10 yards before being touched by the kicking team.  Dons again start their drive with outstanding field position at the Alhambra 47.  Good, hard-hitting football brings it to a 3rd and 1 at the 17.  No gain.  4th and 1 at the 17.  The handoff goes to Mitchell and he runs right into the mob hoping something will open up – something does, but just enough to get the first down.  On 1st and 10 from the 16, Rule snaps it into the shotgun set; Harrington rolls left and looks to Lauth or junior Wide Receiver Christo Collett.  Both guys are covered.  The defense has by now broken through and Harrington does a U-turn and runs to his right with three huge Bulldogs hot on his heels, intent on mayhem.  Stern, who had lined up on the right side, shook his cover man and raised his hand to get Harrington’s attention.  Harrington passes on the run to Stern who hauls it in and turns it into an 8-yard gain.  The next play was 1st and Goal from the 8 and the handoff goes to Mitchell.  What was not noticed by many in the stands was the hole opened up by the line.  LT Aiello took his man out of the play to the left, LG Ashburn did the same, C Drew Rule ran up and took out the middle linebacker and shoved him right, and RG Grant Young took his man out to the right as well.  Result: a path clear and wide enough for Mitchell and Harrington to walk hand-in-hand through.  But true to his style, Mitchell ran with both arms clutching the ball, head down, and blasted his way to the endzone for another TD.  Chad Johnson made good on the PAT to bring the score to 22-12.

The Bulldogs took over and began a successful-looking drive, but it didn’t last long.  Junior LB Jared Finney read the pass play that was developing and cut in front of the intended receiver for an interception.  First down Dons at the their own 28.  Mitchell powered his way to the 50 and he followed that with a bruising run to the Alhambra 38.  Then the big play – on 1st and 10 from the 38, Harrington dropped back to pass.  He had good time to survey the field and he spotted Finney on about the 28 yard line with a step on his man.  Harrington fired a strike that Finney took in stride and blazed his way for 28 yards and another Dons TD.  Again, Johnson made good on the PAT and the Dons took a commanding lead of 29-12.

Time for the ‘Dogs to begin another drive, but this time it was Chris Brock with a crushing hit on the running back causing a fumble.  Senior Colin Watson spotted the loose ball and pounced on it for the recovery and again, the Dons were in business.

4th Quarter:  On 3rd and 6 from the 27, Mitchell flared out to the left for a swing pass and with great blocking by Ashburn, Lauth, and Aiello ran it for a big 16 yard gain.  But on 1st and 10 from the 11 Alhambra’s defense rose up and picked off a Harrington pass at the 2 yard line.  This apparently fired up the Dons.  The Bulldogs lined up at their own 2 and when the ball was snapped to the QB in the end zone a swarm of Dons rushed in and the defense began to cave in around him.  The Bulldog QB had no option but to throw it away but there was no one around.  He was called for intentional grounding from the end zone.  The penalty for that is a safety, meaning 2 points for the Dons, and Alhambra had to kick off to Acalanes.  The score was now 31-12.

The Dons were looking good and brought the ball to a 4th down and 3 from the 13.  Ivankovich decides to go but the running play was just short of the first and Alhambra took over on downs.  On 3rd and 6 from the 17, Colin Watson delivered a big hit and tackle holding the Bulldogs to a short gain of 2 yards.  Facing a 2nd and 10 from the 31, Alhambra decides to run but Senior Oleg Daneev makes an outstanding solo shoe-string tackle for no gain.  The Bulldogs did manage to get to a 3rd and 12 from the 15 and on that play a very good pass went for a touchdown.  They attempted a 2-point conversion but it failed and the score stood at 31-18.

Final Score Acalanes Dons 31, Alhambra Bulldogs 18

Game Statistics:

Rushing: Peter Mitchell 34-177;  Henderson 2-10;  Casey Harrington 10-(-5);  Jared Finney 5-9

Passing: Casey Harrington 11-22, 2-int, 117 yards

Receiving: John Lauth 4-53; Robbie Stern 3-31; Andrew Bosshart 2-15; Mitchell 1-16; Merrill 1-2

Acalanes Overall Record: 7-3, 3-3 DFAL.  Next up: BYE

Oct 25 – Dons Take Wind Out of Gaels

The Setting: The Dons were coming off a big win over Dougherty Valley, bringing their overall record to 5-3, and the taste of victory had them wanting more.  Dublin was having its troubles and their 3-5 record gave the Dons some added confidence.

1st Quarter:  Dons received the kickoff and in two plays had a first down.  On a first and 10 from the 40, Senior John Lauth snagged a swing pass on the right side for an 8 yard gain.  A few plays later it was 4th and 1 from the 49 and Coach Ivankovich decides to go.  Senior QB Casey Harrington kept the ball and ran it up the middle, spinning and banging his way through for a big gain of 10 yards.  The Dons would steadily gain, but a penalty had them with a 2nd and 14 from the Dublin 30.  Harrington dropped back to pass and was given ample time by key blocks from his big offensive linemen Brady Aiello, Cole Ashburn, Andrew Rule, Grant Young, and Alex Harper.  He again spotted Lauth and zipped a bullet to him over the middle for a 12-yard reception.  Acalanes had the ball down to the 17 with a 3rd down and 2 yards to go for a fresh set.  The call went to the fleet-footed Senior Peter Mitchell who charged through an opening between Ashburn and Aiello for a first down.  Now at 1st and 10 from the 15, Harrington wasted no time shooting for a touchdown – he went to the big senior wide receiver Robbie Stern by floating a high pass to the left corner of the endzone and Stern went up over his defender to haul it in.  Touchdown Dons.  The point after hit the upright after being slightly deflected and the score stood at 6-0.  The drive chewed close to 10 minutes off the clock.  As if angered by the missed PAT, kicker Chad Johnson really put his foot into the kickoff and it sailed into the endzone for a no-return touchback.  The Dons defense took the field and immediately set a hard tone.  On 2nd and 5 from the 25 Senior Tommy Kresnak met the Dublin running back with a hammering thud as the back tried a run up the middle.  Kresnak stopped him for no gain.  The Gaels then decided on 3rd and 5 to try a pass.  Senior Kyle Kinnear was coming in hard from the right edge though, and when the Dublin QB threw the ball, Kinnear stretched up and blocked it.  3-and-out for the Gaels’ first defensive series.  The punt was fielded by senior Brett Merrill who ran it back 18 yards for great field position beginning at the Dublin 42.  On 2nd and 10 it was Harrington on a keeper for 8 yards, following great lead blocking by Young, Harper, and senior Ben Kim.  On a 3rd and 2 from the 21, a classic game of “push” ensued with a huge pile of players pushing against each other; but the Dons pushed enough to get the first down.  On 1st and 10 from the 15 it was looking promising for another score, but the Dons were called for a costly holding penalty making it 1st and 20 from the 25.  The first play was an incomplete pass, but on 2nd down the pass went to Stern – it was a little too far in front of him, but he reached out and made an outstanding fingertip catch.  Again, much credit to the offensive line: when a team is running well and moving the ball consistently, the big boys up front are having their way against the defense.  But even with the good playing, it was too much to make up that full 20 yards and get a first down.  Acalanes was at the Dublin 11 yard line and it was 4th and 6.  Chad Johnson got the call for a field goal attempt – it would be a 26 yarder.  The Dons lined up, the ball was snapped, placed, spun, and kicked.  It might as well have been a 66 yarder the way Johnson booted it.  The ball flew, slowly turning end-over-end, through the goal posts and on into the night.  9-0 Dons.  After the kickoff it was 1st and 10 for Dublin from their own 27.  A run up the middle was called, but sophomore Tom Henderson displayed his hitting skills and stopped the running back cold for a 1-yard gain.  Then it was Lauth who broke through the line and made a diving tackle for a loss of 2 yards.

2nd Quarter: The Don defense continued its pressure on Dublin, featuring great pressure on the QB by Tom Hofmeister and Lauth.  Junior Defensive End Christopher Brock got into the action with a big tackle behind the line for a 4-yard loss.  Then it was Kinnear again with a blocked pass bringing up a 4th and 5 from the Dons’ 41.  Dublin decides to go rather than punt, and despite good pressure from the D-line the pass was completed for a 1st down.  Dublin was not going down easy, but with great plays by Kresnak and Lauth they could not score a TD.  They did pick up a field goal from the 11 yard line though to make the score 9-3.  The Dons’ next series saw an interception by Dublin and the scored on another field goal to bring it to 9-6.  Then things really started cooking for Acalanes.  Two solid plays, then a 21 yard run but the ball was fumbled at the end of the run.  Fortunately, Christo Collette was on the scene and pounced on it to retain Dons possession at the 41.  Excellent running by Jared Finney and Pete Mitchell brought the ball to the 28 yard line of the Gaels.  It was 2nd down and Harrington dropped back looking for an open man.  He saw the steady Andrew Bosshart, fired the ball, and Bosshart hauled it in at the 5 yard line.  1st and Goal from the five and Finney gets the call.  The big front line pushed forward, Finney powered up behind them and the group all wound up in the endzone for a Dons TD.  Johnson made good on the PAT attempt and the score stood at 16-6.

3rd Quarter: To begin the second half the Dons kicked off to Dublin and with very good downfield coverage by Acalanes the Gaels were looking at 1st and 10 from the 15.  Big defense was on its way – on first down Lauth blocked a pass attempt and on 2nd down Merrill stepped in front of his man and intercepted the pass.  A few plays later there was a Dons false start but the ground-pounding Peter Mitchell came up with two big first-down runs.  On a 3rd and 3 from the Dublin 15, it was Mitchell again toting the ball, and Christo Collette was leading the way with a huge hit on a would-be tackler.  Mitchell got the first down then followed it up with a short TD run.  Johnson was good again on the PAT and it was 23-6 Dons.  The Dons kicked off and the run was looking good for Dublin as the return man was dodging tackles and was at about the 27 yard line.  But from out of nowhere John O’Malley came flying in, drove his shoulder deep into the middle of the runner and abruptly ended the runback.  Not to be outdone, on the next play from scrimmage Jared Finney and Ben Kim doubled up and delivered a punishing tackle on the Gaels running back.  But again, Dublin kept coming and they would ultimately score on this drive to make it 23-13, and keeping their chances for a win intact.  They tried a squib kick on the kickoff, but the big Michael Fink was there with his sure hands to catch it and wrap up great field position for Acalanes.

4th Quarter:  On a 3rd and 4 from the Dublin 40 Harrington ran around the right side, eluding many possible tacklers and was finally brought down after clicking off 12 yards.  A couple plays later it was 3rd and 10 from the 30 and Bosshart snagged an 11-yard pass over the middle.  Not an easy task as the ball was fired in hard; Bosshart absorbed a bruising hit by a Dublin linebacker and still managed to hang on to it.  Mitchell got the call on a 1st and 10 from the 17 and he made the most of it with a scintillating run showing both his power and agility, breaking tackles and dodging defenders, earning him a hard-fought touchdown.  Johnson then kicked it through the uprights and the score was 30-13.  The Dons kicked off and the Gaels began their downfield quest.  Routine plays ensued, and they were capped off by a big 57-yard Dublin TD run to make it 30-20. They tried an onside kick, but it was called back due to a penalty and needed to be re-kicked.  No onside try this time and Acalanes took over at the 14.  Mitchell had a nice 1o-yard run, but there was a defensive penalty that Acalanes accepted and got 15 yards out of it.  The Gaels were getting frustrated, evidenced by the number of penalties they committed.  Jared Finney ran a beautiful 13-yard play and had 15 yards tacked onto it because of another personal foul by Dublin.  On the next play, Harrington was in shotgun formation and started his “Ready Set…” and at that moment one of the Dublin players ran full-speed to the line, launched himself flat-out, flew over the down-linemen, and toward Harrington who casually watched as airborne defender crash-landed to the ground in front of him for an offsides penalty of 5 yards.  The ball was never snapped and the Dons linemen stayed rock-still during the display.  A couple plays later it was 3rd and 2 from the 12 and again it was Finney, around the right side behind solid blocking by the O-line.  He made a strong cut to evade a would-be tackler and danced into the endzone for another Dons score.  Johnson was good on the PAT and it was now 37-20.  Time was dwindling but there were three more outstanding plays by the Dons.  On the kickoff, special teams superstar Johnny-O (malley) who has a great ability getting to the return man, found him yet again, delivering a hard-hitting blow and wrap-up.  On 1st and 10 from the 34 Jack Hood made a great solo tackle and that was followed by a huge solo tackle by Tommy Kresnak for an 11-yard loss.  Final Score Acalanes Dons 37, Dougherty Valley Wildcats 20

Game Statistics:

Rushing: Pete Mitchell 31-146;  Casey Harrington 11-52;  Jared Finney 9-46

Passing: Casey Harrington 10-17, 1-int, 111 yards

Receiving: John Lauth 6-48; Robbie Stern 2-28; Andrew Bosshart 2-35

Acalanes Overall Record: 6-3

Oct 18 – Football: Acalanes Rolls Out Dougherty Valley

The Setting: The Don’s hosted the Wildcats on a cool but pleasant Friday evening here in Lafayette.  Acalanes had a difficult run of the last three games, dropping all three after winning the first four.  Several of the starting players had been out during that stretch, and the Dons, with many of those starters back in for this game were hungry for a win.

1st Quarter: The game began with the Wildcats receiving the kick off and on the first play from scrimmage senior linebacker Tommy Kresnak showed his wrap-up skills with a big tackle up the middle for loss.  But the Wildcats would consistently gain yardage on each play and marched steadily downfield.  They eventually scored a touchdown on this first possession and the score stood at 0-7 (Dons’ score listed first).  On the ensuing kickoff the Dons took possession near the 20 yard line with a runback by senior Brent Merrill.  On a third and 5 from the 24 in the first series they needed 6 yards to continue the drive.  Senior Wide Receiver Andrew Bosshart stepped up with a big catch in the left flat for a first down.  Then came a 3rd and 1 from their own 48.  The play called for senior running back Pete Mitchell who took the ball and was hit at the line of scrimmage.  But Mitchell kept his legs pumping and with outstanding second effort behind his big front line got the first down to keep the drive alive.  On 2nd and 9 from the Wildcats’ 49 Junior Quarterback Casey Harrington executed a beautiful fake handoff to Mitchell, rolled left, and fired a strike to senior Wide Receiver John LauthLauth hauled it in for a 12-yard gain.  This was followed up by a gutsy catch over the middle by Merrill for another first down.  Merrill was on his way to a big night tonight.  On 2nd and 8 from the 21 Harrington tried a keeper up the middle but the play was handled by Dougherty Valley for a short gain of 2 yards.  3rd and 5 from the 19 – the Dons wanted to match the earlier TD by the Wildcats and Mitchell took the ball around the left side behind front big men Brady Aiello (Left Tackle), Cole Ashburn (Left Guard), and Andrew Rule (Center).  The play went for 10 yards and a first down.  On the next play, Bosshart snagged a Harrington pass and was brought down just short of the goal at the ½ yardline.  The call then went to Mitchell up the middle, right behind Rule and the boys up front.  Touchdown Dons.  With senior Kicker Sam Wood out with injury, junior Chad Johnson lined up the Point After and kicked it through to make it 7-7.

2nd Quarter:  After some solid running by the Wildcats the ball sat at the Dons’ 46 and the Wildcats had a 1st and 10.  They decided to run and senior Defensive End Kyle Kinnear made a crushing shoulder tackle for a loss.  The Wildcats did bounce back and on 1st and 10 from the 37 senior Ben Kim made a great shirt-tackle on the DV running back for no gain.  Then on 2nd and 10 junior Michael Fink stepped up with a big tackle at the line of scrimmage.  A 10-yard holding penalty pushed the frustrated Wildcats back to the 47 where they decided to run on 3rd and 18.  The running back was gang-tackled by a host of Dons – sophomore Tom Henderson, Fink, and Kresnak – for a loss of 4 yards.  They punted and Merrill returned it 22 yards on a great dodging runback.  After a 5-yard false start penalty, it was 1st and 15 from the 30 and senior Wide Receiver Robbie Stern came up with a beautiful 16-yard fingertip catch for a first down at the 46.  Mitchell took the ball around the right side, through a hole opened up this time by the big right-side linemen senior Alex Harper (Right Tackle), sophomore Grant Young (Right Guard), and Drew Rule at center.  Mitch busted it out for a gain of 31 yards and the Dons were now on a roll.  A couple plays later Lauth made an outstanding and courageous catch over the middle for another first down.  On 1st and 10 from the 18 it was Merrill again with a reception for 8 yards.  In the short yardage situation it went to Mitchell up the middle to again follow the front linemen who were having their way with the D-line of Dougherty Valley.  Mitchell got the 1st down.  A couple plays later it was the same deal going up the middle – 2nd and goal from the 2, the middle was opened up and Mitchell banged his way through for another Dons TD.  Johnson made the PAT and the score stood at 14-7.  On the following kickoff, Johnson showed off his leg power by booting the ball into the endzone for the automatic touchback.  The next series featured strong defense by the Dons: on 1st and 10 from the 20 Lauth blocked a pass attempt, Tom Henderson placed a big hit on the running back for short gain, and Lauth blitzed through the line and hammered the DV running back for a loss of 3 yards.  DV punted and the Dons took over at their own 15. On the first play from scrimmage Harrington saw Bosshart get a step on his defender near the 25.  Harrington tossed a beauty into the air with just enough loft to get it over the defender and into the sure hands of Bosshart.  Only one man, the DV safety, stood between him and the goal line 70 yards downfield.  Bosshart was running hard, and instead of juking or dance-stepping, he just stiff-armed the safety and ran right by him; clear sailing all the way to the endzone – an 85-yard play from scrimmage for the TD.  Again, Johnson lined it up and made the PAT to make it 21-7.

Johnson kicked off and on the first series of downs the front line of junior defensive end Grant Pedder, junior nose guard Tom Hofmeister, and junior defensive end Christopher Brock provided smothering defense and it resulted in a 3-and-out for DV.  They punted with just a couple minutes remaining in the half.  The Dons took over at their own 35 and the remaining plays in the half featured a 15-yard run up the left side by Mitchell, and two great receptions by Merrill; one for 12 yards and the other for 20 yards.

3rd Quarter:  The second half began with DV kicking off to the Dons.  The kick was low and hard and it was handled by senior wide receiver Cole Salquist near the 50.  The Dons started their drive with excellent field position and on the first play the pass went to Merrill who brought it in but was hit late out of bounds.  That resulted in a personal foul and the ball ended up on the DV 26.  On 2nd down the O-line of Harper, Young, Rule, Ashburn, and Aiello provided plenty of time and Mitchell took a Harrington pass over the middle for an 18 yard gain.  On 3rd and goal from the 6 Harrington dropped back and lofted a pass to the left corner of the endzone where Bosshart went up high to bring it down for a Dons TD.  Johnson remained perfect on the PAT and the score stood at 28-7.

Johnson then added the exclamation point with another booming kickoff through the endzone for a touchback.  The offensive series for the Wildcats featured big defensive plays by Hofmeister and Kresnak and it was another 3-and-out for DV.  After the DV punt, the Dons took over on their own 36 and Stern made two outstanding catches on great throws by Harrington to bring it to a 1st and 10 from the DV 36.  On the following play, Harrington bought some time that allowed Mitchell to get downfield for a pass.  After a false start penalty it was 1st and 15 from the 49.  The ball was snapped and Harrington was looking to pass.  He spun the ball to the left side and hit junior wide receiver Sam de Roque for a 23-yard gain.  On the next play  Harrington fired a strike over the middle to Mitchell who brought it in and ran it toward the left side and in for another TD.  Johnson still perfect on the PAT and the score was 35-7.

Johnson kicked off and the DV return man brought the ball upfield but was met hard by senior Left Guard Jackson May who put shoulder pad into him and brought him down on the 32.  Despite some big hitting by Brock, Kim, and Kresnak, and punishing hit by junior safety John O’Malley, the Wildcats were able to march downfield for a touchdown to make it 35-14.

4th Quarter:  It was becoming a scoring bonanza and the next possession for the Dons featured 22- and a 12-yard runs by Mitchell and a great Merrill TD catch for another score to bring it to 42-14.  DV did score on the next drive making it 42-21.  And they were not finished yet.  DV would score again with 3:21 left in the game to bring the score to 42-28.  They needed a successful onside kick; they lined it up, stacking as many sure-handed players on the left side as possible, and the kicker approached the teed-up ball.  The onside kick hit the ground, took a high arcing bounce and in the melee that followed DV came out with the recovered ball.  They began there drive with excellent field position, but on the second play in the series junior linebacker Jared Finney picked off a DV pass to give the Dons possession.  Acalanes ran the clock down to the close of this exciting game and the Dons were victorious.

Final Score Acalanes Dons 42, Dougherty Valley Wildcats 28

Game Statistics:

Rushing: Pete Mitchell 18-91;  Casey Harrington 4-8;  Jared Finney 6-21; Kresnak 1-3

Passing: Casey Harrington 24-30, 1-int, 369 yards (wow!)

Receiving: John Lauth 2-26; Robbie Stern 3-50; Andrew Bosshart 7-127;                      Brett Merrill 9-101; Mitchell 2-42; de Roque 1-23

Acalanes Overall Record: 5-3

Sep 20 – Varsity Football Dons Dominate in Win Against Tennyson

1st Quarter:

The first possession for the Lancers resulted in a 3-and-out thanks to the strong defense of the Dons, and to top it off the 4th down punt was partially blocked by Acalanes, went out of bounds and it was 1st down from the Tennyson 36 for the Dons. It looked very good early, but not so fast… the first play from scrimmage was fumbled and Tennyson recovered.  First down Lancers at the 38.  Despite some big defensive plays by Senior Linebacker Grant Henderson, the Lancers steadily marched downfield toward the endzone.  On 3rd and 6 from the 15 the Dons needed a stop and it was provided again by Henderson who stood his ground and met the oncoming running back with a powerful drive of his shoulder, driving the runner backward and to the ground for no gain.  Tennyson made the field goal and the score was 0-3 (Don’s score listed first).

The Dons began their next drive from the 14 with a run by Senior Running Back Pete Mitchell, who churned the turf around the right side for a big gain and a first down.  A couple plays later it was 3rd and 1 from the 34. A quarterback keeper was called and the Dons’ big front five opened up the middle.  In unison, Center Andrew Rule, Guards Cole Ashburn and Grant Young, and Tackles Brady Aiello and Alex Harper drove forward cutting a swath for Quarterback Casey Harrington to run through.  Harrington and the line picked up the first down and a fresh set of downs began on the 40.  Incomplete pass on first down, but then the call went to Mitchell again.  He began his run around the right side following Young and Harper, picked up about 7 yards, then cut to the middle and blew right through the two defensive backs who thought they were going to tackle him.  Once past them, Mitchell hit the afterburners and he was gone; a 64-yard touchdown run in the books.  Kicker Sam Wood made the point after and the score was now 7-3.

Peter Mitchell breakaway for a touchdown.
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On the ensuing kickoff, the Tennyson return man made some good moves and collected a head of steam until Jackson May barreled into him simultaneously putting a big hit and a strong wrap on him.  The quarter was coming to a close and with a 4th and 8 at the Dons’ 36, Tennyson decided to go for it.  The pass was dropped and the Dons took over on downs.  Mitchell had a solid run on 2nd and 5 from his own 41 for a first down.  The quarter ended.

2nd Quarter:

Because of a block in the back call and a false start the Dons were looking at a 2nd and 20 from their own 40.  But Wide Receiver Andrew Bosshart hauled in a beautiful 19-yard catch down the left side, and Mitchell converted the following play into a first down with a hard-driving 3-yard run.  On 4th and 8 from the 27, Coach Mike Ivankovich decides to go, and the call was for a pass to Wide Receiver Sam de RoqueHarrington had time to set, and the speedy de Roque was flying over the middle on his route.  Harrington hit him in stride and de Roque made the reception, made a couple strong cuts, and made the touchdown.  Wood followed again with the extra point to make it 14-3.  On the kickoff, Dons safety John O’Malley let out some inner aggression when he laid a big hit on the Lancers return man and stopped him cold at the 26.  On the first play for Tennyson, defensive end Grant Pedder and linebacker Grant Henderson teamed up for a bruising tackle on the running back for a 4-yard loss.  Two plays later inside linebacker Tommy Kresnak did some solo work by laying a big lick on the Tennyson back on a run up the middle.  The Dons defense was tough on the Lancers and it was 4th down again – time to punt.  On the next series it was 2nd and 10 from the Tennyson 42 and Mitchell charged down the left side for a 20-yard gain.  The only reason he was brought down was by a facemask – the penalty of 15 yards was tacked on and it was 1st and goal from the 7.  The first pass play failed, but on 2nd and goal from the 7 Bosshart used his big frame to overpower his defender.  Harrington floated a beautiful touch-pass, Bosshart went up high and hauled it down in the end zone for a touchdown.  Staying perfect was Sam Wood with the PAT and a 21-3 score.

Casey Harrington on a Quarterback Keep
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The Dons were in domination mode at this point, and on the next series the defensive front line of left end Kyle Kinnear, nose guard Tom Hofmeister, and right end Grant Pedder were too much for Tennyson to handle.  They pressured the pass plays, and on 4th and 10 at their own 34, Tennyson could not find the room to punt with the oncoming rush.  The punter was tackled before he could kick the ball and the Dons took over on the 26.  Kresnak, playing fullback, had a ground-pounding 8-yard run, followed by Mitchell power-scampering a 1st down run around the left side.  Then it was Mitchell again from the 3 cruising through the gaping hole made by the dominant O-line.  Touchdown Dons.  Wood still perfect on the night; 28-3 Dons.  Wood then proceeded to drive the ball out of the end zone on the kickoff for a touchback.  A couple Tennyson plays ensued, the defense kept up the solid pressure and the half ended.

3rd Quarter:

On the first play of the quarter, the domination continued with Mitchell running 15 yards through a gaping hole cleared by linemen Aiello, Ashburn, and Rule.  On the next series of downs it was 2nd and 10 from the Tennyson 34 and running back Jared Finney broke out a blistering 25-yard run to the 10 and Bosshart followed that up with yet another outstanding reception from Harrington for a TD.  Wood remained perfect and the score stood at 35-3 Dons.  But Tennyson showed their true grit and did not fold.  On their next series, they began with a 25-yard run.  They steadily marched downfield and scored their first touchdown to make it 35-9.  They attempted a 2-point conversion but coverage man Brett Merrill blocked the pass heading for his man.  On the Tennyson kickoff, Finney made the catch and began his runback.  He drove upfield for about 20 yards; at one point delivering an outstanding straight-arm on a would-be tackler, until a facemask brought him down.  On the next Dons series, wide receiver Robbie Stern snagged a highlight-reel-worthy one-handed catch for an 18 yard gain.  End of the 3rd quarter.

Robbie Stern (17)
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4th Quarter:

On the Dons 3rd and 10 at the Tennyson 38, Harrington found Merrill for a 24 yard reception, and Finney followed that up with a 3-yard scamper for a touchdown.  Yes, Wood still was perfect and the score stood at 42-9.  Still the Lancers did not lose heart – they drove downfield on their next possession, steadily gaining yardage and scored another touchdown.  The 2-point attempt was no good and the score was now 42-15.  They tried an on-side kick, but O’Malley came in hard to recover the ball for the Dons.  On the Dons next possession fullback Oleg Daneev pounded out a 15-yard run to the Tennyson 37.  It got to 4th and 7 from the 11 and Coach Ivankovich called for a field goal attempt to put the perfect night of Wood to the test.  Wood passed the test, making the 28-yarder by splitting the uprights and making the score 45-15.  He again followed that up by drilling the ball through the endzone for a touchback.  As the game clock ran down, it was evident that this victory happened in part by players stepping up and showing their skills – in particular John O’Malley, Sam de Roque, Jack Hood, and Zack Lewis.

O’Malley (10) eventually wins the scrum
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Final Score Acalanes Dons 45, Tennyson Lancers 15

Brian Aiello

Sep 6 – Football: Dons Take it to the Trojans 13-7

The Setting:  With the sun setting over the bay and the field covered in cast shadow the Dons and the Trojans were completing their pre-game warm-ups.  It was a beautiful evening in Castro Valley; a perfect setting for the upcoming match between two teams looking to stay undefeated.

The Play:

1st Quarter:   The kickoff from the Trojans sailed through the end zone for a touchback and on the first play from the 20 yard line junior Quarterback Casey Harrington fired a 7-yard completion to senior Wide Receiver Andrew Bosshart.  On 3rd and 4 Harrington rolled out to the right then hit senior Wide Receiver Robbie Stern for another first down.  The Dons continued the march downfield with Harrington running 13 yards for another first down, but the drive stalled at the 42 and the Dons punted.  On the Trojans first play from scrimmage a smothering Dons Defense stuffed the play for no gain.  But the Trojans were tough and continued their drive until at 2:22 left in the quarter and from the Dons 35, they tried a run around the right side where the Dons defense gang-tackled the running back causing a fumble.  Junior Linebacker Jared Finney recovered it at the 30 for a Dons possession.  The Dons began another drive that included a 3rd-and-5 pass to senior Receiver John Lauth for a first down and a 3rd-and-1 pounding run up the middle by senior Running Back Peter Mitchell for another.

2nd Quarter:   After Mitchell’s run, Harrington (with plenty of time provided by the stout Offensive Line of RT Alex Harper, RG Grant Young, C Andrew Rule, LG Cole Ashburn, and LT Brady Aiello) hit Bosshart for a 1st down at the Trojans 4 yard line.  The next play call was a run up the middle, but when Jared Finney (spelling Mitchell at Running Back) took the ball he saw daylight on the left side, and headed for the corner of the end zone for the first score of the game.  The PAT by senior Kicker Sam Wood was good and the score stood at Dons 7, Trojans 0.  Castro Valley began another drive and a big play was posted by junior Defensive End Grant Pedder as he ran down the CV running back from behind.  The next play showed the Dons’ aggressive defense as senior Linebacker Tommy Kresnak, junior Nose Guard Tom Hofmeister, and Grant Pedder combined to wall up the middle and bring down the CV running back for a 1-yard loss.  Also stepping up with a big tackle for a loss was senior Nose Guard Anthony Seiler.  The defensive tone was set by this time with Acalanes showing its stinginess on allowing yards.  Kresnak and Finney combined on the next play for another no-gain play which brought a 3rd and 12.  Castro Valley decided to try a pass but senior Outside Linebacker Kennedy Torre was there to make the play near midfield.  It was now 4th and 8 with time running down in the half.  CV, feeling the pressure, decided to go for it and they made the first down on a pass play.  But that was about all the Dons defense was going to allow.  The next series of downs wound up at a 4th and 8 at the Dons 35 and again CV decides to go.  They called a pass play but the Dons coverage was excellent and the pressure was coming.  The pass flew but was incomplete and the Dons took over on downs.  Acalanes ran the clock out on a series of running plays and the score stood at 7-0 Dons.

3rd Quarter:  Sam Wood kicked off to start the second half and senior Tight End Ben Kim came down and grabbed the return man from behind.  Wood came in low and strong and delivered a big blow causing a fumble.  Senior Defensive End  Kyle Kinnear recovered and the Dons were back in business.  On first down Harrington threw a dart to Stern who made an outstanding catch and turned it upfield for a 22-yard gain.  The offense was on a roll – the O-line was dominating the oncoming rush and opening up running lanes.  Like the one that Mitchell ran through for another first down with 11 minutes to go in the quarter.  With the ball now on the CV 18 the Dons front men cleared the path for Mitchell who with his speed and cutting skills blazed on through for a touchdown.  The remainder of the quarter saw a big rush and sack by Torre and Kinnear for a 7-yard loss, and a stop on a CV 4th-and-6 to re-take possession on downs.  Harrington also had a long 20-yard run around the left side.

4th Quarter:   The quarter started out like any other, but Kyle Kinnear, who was having a big night, showed more of his defensive skills by breaking through the CV offensive line, tracking down the running back, and making a solo tackle for an 8-yard loss that resulted in a punt on the next play.  Senior Grant Henderson also got into the highlight reel with a great tackle from behind preventing a CV 3rd down conversion.  You could feel the desperation mounting for the Trojans, and with 6:30 remaining it was 4th and 4 for CV on the Dons’ 45.  They had to go for it.  But Jared Finney had something to say about their pass play – as soon as the ball hit the receiver’s hands, Finney hit the receiver.  He was down for no gain and Acalanes took possession.  The Dons offense got all the way to the CV 34 and it was 4th and 7.  A CV offsides call brought it to 4th and 2 but  an incomplete Dons pass resulted in a CV possession on downs with four minutes to go in the game.  So here was the Trojans last chance.  They came out firing and were successful; in two minutes they scored and the it stood at 13-7 Dons.  On the ensuing kickoff CV decided to drill a linedrive to the upman for Acalanes hoping that he would not be able to handle it.  The only thing was, that upman was junior Wide Receiver Christo Collett who has a great pair of hands and quick reflexes to match.  The ball was blasted to him and in what seemed like an instant, Collette caught the ball, wrapped it up, and went down safely.  Acalanes ran the clock down to the game’s conclusion and was victorious.

Final Score Acalanes Dons 13, Castro Valley Trojans 7

Game Statistics:

Rushing: Pete Mitchell 26 rushes – for 127 yards, and 1 Touchdown;  Casey Harrington 12-58;  Jared Finney 1-3 and 1 Touchdown.

Passing: Casey Harrington 11 of 15 passing, 0-int, 105 yards

Receiving: John Lauth 4 receptions – for 24 yards; Robbie Stern 3-51; Andrew Bosshart 3-26; Brett Merrill 1-4

Acalanes Overall Record: 2-0

Brian Aiello

Varsity Girls’ Volleyball NCS Playoffs at Drake Pirates

Set 1: 

The set began with a 2-0 run by the #8 seeded Sir Francis Drake Pirates, but the next point was emphatically won by the visiting #9 seeded Dons on a booming outside hit by Amanda Jarquin to make it 1-2 (Dons’ score listed first).  At 3-5 Senior setter Jojo Harnish put up a backset to junior Rachel Cox at the opposite corner and Cox hammered it for the score.  Katie Nall sent a low set in the middle to the Drake floor to tie it up at 5-5 but the Pirates rolled off the next five points in a row.  It took a great double block with Nall and Brooke Aiello to stop the run.  At 9-13 Harnish sent over a beautiful no-spin serve that barely cleared the net and the Pirates could not handle it.  At 12-20 it was Cox again with a big hit at the opposite corner, followed by Jarquin putting a kill down the line.  But the Pirates continued outscoring the Dons and the set ended at 16-25.

Final Score Set 1:  16-25 Sir Francis Drake.

 

Set 2:

Rachel Cox took a Harnish outside set and hit it with a lot of angle to get it past the Drake blockers and it went down to make the score 2-1.  On the next point it was Cox again, this time defensively with a great solo block at 3-1.  At 4-4 Harnish put a set just barely above the net and Lisa Carrington came rushing in to put it away.  Katie Nall had a great stretch of plays beginning with a pair of solo blocks at 7-6 and 8-7, then at 9-7 she and Harnish combined for a great double block of the Drake middle hitter.  Then at 10-9, Nall made an outstanding save by going far out of bounds to get a single hand under the ball to bump it up and over the net.  The play continued with a lot of team hustle, and the Dons were rewarded by winning the point.  Another run by Drake ensued and it was ended with Aiello drilling a huge kill past the block to make it 11-15.  Aiello followed up with a big opposite hit at 13-18 and an ace on the next point at 14-18.  Cox had a nice kill at 17-22, but Drake prevailed in the set.

Final Score Set 2:  18-25 Sir Francis Drake.

 

Set 3:

It is now set three and the season is on the line.  A loss here and the Dons’ playoff run will end.  The Pirates rolled off the first three points and the Dons’ scoring didn’t begin until Brooke Aiello put down a kill at 1-3.  Then several more Drake points until an outside kill by Jarquin.  The Dons stayed even with the Pirates and at 5-10 Carrington delivered a service ace.  Then another Dons’ score.  Then Molly Dalziel with a huge outside hit at 7-10.  Jarquin got into the picture at 8-11 with a great line shot from the opposite side.  Ying Stroebe followed that up with an ace to make it 9-11.  On the next point, Stroebe made a great pass off of a big Drake hit, Harnish put up a nice set, and Aiello put away the kill to make it 10-12.  The 2-point difference was maintained and at 11-13 Harnish made an incredible 1-hand save to keep the rally alive.  Her save went over the net, the Drake setter put up the set, but it was very tight.  Carrington went up, got her hands over the net and pushed the ball down and to the right for a score.  Carrington followed that with a 1-hand block at 12-14, and at 13-15 it was Dalziel at the outside with a big kill.  Still, the 2-point difference in scoring remained.  But that difference was halved with a great Jarquin back row kill at 14-15.  Carrington stepped up to serve and promptly delivered an ace to tie it up at 15 apiece.  The Dons took the lead with a huge kill by Jarquin at 17-16.  But Drake tied it back up at 17 all.  Not for long though; as Harnish took the serve receive, Jarquin put up a long set to the outside corner, Molly Dalziel came charging in and put the hammer to it to make it 18-17.  The scoring was tight and the excitement was high.  Drake had no intention of giving up a run to Acalanes.  At 19-18 the Pirates served and Aiello was poised to receive it.  Standing next to her was Carrington who shouted “OUT!!” and Aiello barely made it out of the way in time.  And yes, the ball was out.  That brought the serve to the Dons and Ying Stroebe.  She threw the ball up, took her lefty swing at it and delivered an outstanding shot that landed on the Pirates’ floor for an ace.  Drake won the next point, served it and what followed was the epitome of solid volleyball play.  Carrington put up a great pass, high and close to the net.  Harnish had all the time she needed to decide where she wanted to put the set.  She chose the outside, and Aiello made her approach and smoked a kill past the single Drake block.  At 22-20 Aiello delivered another big outside kill, and at 23-21 it was Carrington with a great solo block in the middle to preserve the 2-point margin.  That margin finally went to 3 on a huge outside hit by Dalziel making it 24-21.  Drake got the next point to make it 24-22, but the dependable Jarquin put away the final point with a dramatic opposite kill.

 

Final Score Set 3:  22-25 Acalanes.

 

Set 4

This fourth set began with an ace by Harnish, but the Pirates quickly established an early lead by taking the next four points.  Aiello closed it to 2-4 with an outside hit, and at 3-6 Jarquin had her own big kill.  On the next point Harnish delivered a great backset that Jarquin hammered, and that was followed by another Carrington ace.  Dalziel tied it at 6 with a great outside hit and the Dons took the lead at 8-7 with a Jarquin opposite kill.  But once again Drake took control and rolled off six straight points.  That run was finally stopped by Rachel Cox with a great solo block in the middle, and that was followed up by Aiello bringing a kill from the outside to make it 10-13.  At 11-15 Aiello put down another hit, and Jarquin delivered a kill at 13-19.  Although both teams were scoring, Drake was inching away with the lead.  Dalziel had a nice kill at 14-22, and Jarquin had the same at 15-24.  A long rally came about at match point and Harnish pushed a back row set to Jarquin.  She took her usual mighty swing, but the ball sailed just long and Drake prevailed.

It was a tough loss for the Dons, but not unfamiliar:  the Dons’ last three NCS Playoff runs (in 2010, 2011 and 2012) have ended here in the Pirates’ gymnasium.  But going out on a big back row kill attempt by Jarquin was a fitting end.  She has scored many points for the Dons on that back row kill, and going out swinging was an admirable ending for the Dons’ playoff run.

Final Score Set 4:  15-25 Sir Francis Drake.

 

Sir Francis Drake takes the match 3 sets to 1.

 

Statistics:

            Brooke Aiello:               7 Kills  2 Aces

            Amanda Jarquin:         13 Kills

            Lisa Carrington:           2 Kills  3 Aces

            Molly Dalziel:               6 Kills

            Rachel Cox:                   3 Kills          

            Ying Stroebe:               2 Aces

            Katie Nall:                    1 Kill

Photos graciously provided by Joan Seet and Francis Carrington

Oct 30 – Varsity Girls’ Volleyball Victorious at Alhambra

The Setting: The Dons came north to visit the host Alhambra Bulldogs on the Bulldogs Senior Night, with a festively decorated gym.  The Alhambra team then introduced each of the Dons seniors, and graciously presented each of them with a white carnation.  This

Lisa Carrington (7) putting away a Jojo Harnish set

was followed by an introduction of each Alhambra senior player.

The Play:

Set 1:  The first point was served by Alhambra and dropped untouched to the Dons’ floor for a score.  Not to let that be an indication of things to come, senior outside

Sophomore Outside Hitter Molly Dalziel in concentration

hitter Brooke Aiello took the next serve, passed it to senior setter Jojo Harnish who put up a great set to the ever-ready senior opposite hitter Amanda Jarquin who brought the hammer down to emphatically tie it up at 1-1.  At 3-2 (Dons’ score listed first) it was Jarquin again with a big blast at the left corner.  Junior middle hitter Rachel Cox got into the action at 6-4 when Harnish took a pass at the outside corner and sent a long arcing set to the opposite corner.  Long sets are difficult to time, but Cox apparently had no timing

Rachel Cox winning a joust at the net

issues while flying through the air and crushing it to the Bulldogs’ floor.  She followed that up with a service ace at 8-4, but from then the Bulldogs went on a scoring rally to bring the score to 12-10.  That run was stopped short by middle hitter Katie Nall with a big middle kill.  Then it was the Dons’ turn for a scoring run, and it was a long one.  The Dons kept the Bulldogs at 11 points for the remainder of the set; featured were a great power-dink in the middle by senior middle hitter Lisa Carrington, big hits by Jarquin and Cox, and that great slide play with Harnish getting the backset to Carrington sliding around behind her.

Final Score Set 1:  25-11 Dons.

Set 2:  Set two started off a bit better than the previous set with Harnish sending an ace over to make it 1-0.  The Dons were playing confidently

Sophomore Defensive Specialist Ying Stroebe

and at 2-1 Harnish set up Jarquin at the outside corner who put it away for the score.  Junior Defensive Specialist Ying Stroebe put up a great pass to Harnish who in turn set up Cox at the outside.  Cox did her usual thing by pounding down to make it 6-3.  A couple points later Aiello called for a back row set, Harnish obliged, and Aiello hammered it for a Dons tally.  The scoring was favoring the Dons, and an ace by Carrington at 12-6, and two big kills by Aiello at 14-8 and 16-8 were featured in the run.  But Alhambra had plenty of gas left in the tank and began another run of their own.  They brought the score close at 18-15, but that was as close as it would get.  At 23-18 Jarquin took a Harnish set and treated it like jackhammer treats a slab of

Brooke Aiello on the follow-through with Ying Stroebe and Coach Steve Siegmann in the background

concrete.  Then on set point, the Harnish-to-Carrington slide began to develop.  The timing wasn’t quite there, and the ball sailed past Carrington.  But Cox was right there on the back up, and passed the ball up to HarnishHarnish then put up a back row set to Jarquin who mashed it for the set winner.

Final Score Set 2:  25-18 Dons.

Set 3:  Starting off the third set the scoring was pretty even.  But at 3-1 sophomore outside hitter Emily Mesetz stepped up to serve.  She dropped in a great short serve that barely cleared the net.  The Bulldogs did get to it, but overpassed the ball and it was going to come back over to the Dons’ side.  Jarquin jumped up at the net and deftly poked that overpass down past the blockers for a score.  At 5-3 an exciting rally began

Amanda Jarquin putting another one away

with both sides hitting, digging, and passing extremely well.  The ball probably passed over the net six times before Harnish put up a great middle set for Carrington to clobber.  Then two points later, another long rally took place and finally ended when Harnish had to scramble to get to a dug-up ball and only had time to put the ball up high and hope for the best.  The best happened.  Although the ball went basically straight up and Jarquin had to take an awkward and flat-footed swing at it, she somehow got a lot of pace on her hit and it went down for a Dons score.  The next point saw Carrington, again on a Harnish middle set, smoking yet another ball past the Alhambra defense.  And following that, Stroebe unleashed a beautiful serve down the line

Emily Mesetz being congratulated after a big play

that landed just in for an ace, but unfortunately was called back because of an out-of-rotation call against Acalanes.  At 10-6 Stroebe and Carrington both went for a serve receive and it looked from the stands that they both hit it.  But only one did, and it was a great pass for Harnish to handle, putting it up for an onrushing Aiello who delivered the big outside kill.  Something not seen this match was the usual back row pounding by Jarquin, but at 12-7 she got a great back row set from Harnish and whacked it, barely clearing the net, and down for the score.  At 15-11 she took a Harnish set at the opposite (right) side, went up, twisted her body and still managed to get plenty of power behind a great line shot.  Then on a low, quick pass by Cox, Harnish basically re-directed the ball up about a foot and a half to where Carringtonwas flying in, arm cocked, and unleashed a brutal kill

Katie Nall pounding the ball through the block in the middle. Note the ball behind the left blocker’s hands.

to the Alhambra 10-foot line.  Near the end of the set at 23-15, Alhambra sent over a shot that went directly to Harnish.  She put up a pass and Jarquin got to it.  Then Jarquin sent a long set over to the outside corner for AielloAiello had a great approach, went up and came down on the ball, hammering it to the Bulldogs’ floor.  The ‘Dogs still had some fight in them and went on a four-point run, but the Dons closed the door at 20.

Final Score Set 3:  25-20 Dons.

Lisa Carrington digging up a kill attempt

Dons take the match 3 sets to 0.

Highlight Statistics:

            Amanda Jarquin:  6 Kills

            Brooke Aiello:  6 Kills

            Jojo Harnish:  27 Assists; 4 Aces

Photographs graciously provided by Gint Federas

Oct 25 – Big Win on Senior Night for Varsity Girls VB

The Setting.  Senior Night for the Acalanes Dons Girls Varsity Volleyball Team and the gymnasium was festively decked out with posters, balloons, and creative decorations.  Each senior team member was introduced prior to the match, and each was given a wonderful gift basket and a delicious home-baked single-serving volleyball-shaped cake.  Each girl also presented her mother with a rose.  After each introduction, head coach Steve Siegmann had complimentary words for each of the girls.

Seniors (l-r) Amanda Jarquin, Jojo Harnish, Jen Lincoln, Brooke Aiello, Ainsley Blandford, Lisa Carrington, and Danielle Grobeck.

The Play.  Set 1:  The Dons had played two matches against the Dublin Gaels this season (once in league play; once in tournament play) and lost both times.  Revenge was definitely on the girls’ minds.  And beginning early in the first set, that tone was being set.  Dons got the first point, followed immediately by a beautiful service ace by Jojo Harnish to make it 2-0 (Dons’ score listed first).  Later, Jen Lincoln made a great cut shot to get past a Dublin double-block at 3-3.  At 5-4, Lincoln took a pass from Harnish, bumped a great

Junior Middle Hitter Rachel Cox

set to the outside for a quickly-approaching Amanda Jarquin who promptly killed it.  At 9-9 it was Jarquin again with a big hit.  Brooke Aiello got into the action with an outside kill at 12-10 and on the next point came one of Jarquin’s signature backrow kills.  Then it was back to Aiello on a long Harnish set from the opposite corner out to the outside corner.  It seemed to take forever for the high-arcing set to get to its destination, and Aiello timed it perfectly to hammer it down.  At 15-11, a Dublin serve was received by Harnish so the setter was out – Lincoln took Harnish’s pass, and instead of setting it, made a nifty flick of the wrist to send the ball quietly over the net and onto the Dublin floor.  The Dons were noticeably improved at covering the hole on tips and blocks, and Ainsley Blandford made a great cover save, got a nice high pass to Harnish who then set the ball to Lincoln for the kill to make it 16-11.  The Dons were rolling at this point and a great set to Aiello was pounded down at 17-11.  Harnishwas serving during this run and at 18-11

Junior Middle Hitter Katie Nall

she dropped a short served that barely cleared the net; impossible for Dublin to receive.  Not only were the Dons rolling at this point, but they were truly dominating – it seemed they could do no wrong.  Point after point went the Dons’ way; Harnish’s serves were rarely passed well by the Gaels and the Dons were feasting on the free balls coming back to them.  With the score standing at 22-11, the Gaels did get a very good pass to there setter who put up a short middle set for their big middle hitter to kill.  But Lisa Carrington had other plans – she went up solo on the middle block, covered the ball with both hands and completely stuffed the Gaels middle hitter.  The Dons would go on to run off twelve straight points for the win.

Final Score Set 1:  25-11 Dons.

Set 2:

But my, how things can change.  In set two, the Gaels came out determined not to have a repeat of that last set.  The scoring stayed somewhat even, with Aiello getting in a nice backrow kill at 3-3, Jarquin with a huge outside kill at 5-5, and Rachel Coxpounding

Senior Outside Hitter Brooke Aiello on the block

down a Harnish backset on a slide play at 7-7.  The rallies were incredibly long, with both teams making very good plays both offensively and defensively.  But slowly the score began favoring the Gaels.  At 11-13, Jarquin had another big outside kill, and at 15-19 Cox hammered a Harnish backset at the opposite post.  Then another slide play with Carrington putting down a Harnish assist at 16-19.  But that was to be the end of the Dons’ scoring in this set.  The Gaels ran off the last straight six points to take the match.

Final Score Set 2:  25-16 Gaels.

Set 3:

The momentum was back on the Gaels’ side for this next set, but things began well for the Dons as Harnish made it 1-0 with another service ace.  Then Aiello and Katie Nall came up big defensively with a block at 3-0.  Harnish, who began this set at the serve,

Senior Defensive Specialist Ainsley Blandford getting low for a pass

was still there and still delivering tough serves that Dublin had a difficult time handling. And the points were tallying up for the Dons.  At 7-0 Harnish took the serve and passed it to Jarquin who put up a long corner-to-corner set, and Aiello came crashing in to put the hurt on it.  Then another Aiello kill at 9-0.  With the score 10-0, Nall flashed four fingers (indicating a low, shoot set) to Harnish.  The serve came over, the pass by Blandford was perfect, and Harnish shot that set across the middle only a foot above the net.  Nall couldn’t have timed it better.  She beat the block, and crushed it for the score.  The run finally ended at 13-1, but a 12-point cushion is very difficult to overcome.  With highlights of an opposite-corner kill and a great down-the-line shot by Jarquin, a big Cox block, a double block by Harnish and Carrington, and a great play by Carrington at 22-8. (She solo blocked the Gael hitter and the ball deflected straight up.  Carrington jumped up again and blasted her own set for the kill.)  At 23-11 Jarquin showed another exciting backrow kill, then Aiello and Harnish hooked up for a sweet pass-set-kill at the outside.  Jarquin then put the set away with a final opposite corner kill.

Final Score Set 3:  25-13 Dons.

Set 4:

The Dons were looking good and had the momentum back on their side.  They were leading 6-2 (including a Jarquin opposite kill and a great Harnish-to-Carrington slide play) when Emily Mesetz delivered a great short-serve.  The Gaels did get to it, but it was so short that the pass attempt just went strait up into the net.  At 8-5 it was Cox again drilling a Harnish assist on the outside, and a run ensued.  At 13-7, Aiellowent up on an outside set, decided the timing was not right and pushed the ball to the side of the

Senior Opposite Hitter Amanda Jarquin

block to fall to the Dublin floor.  Taking a cue from Jarquin, Carrington called for a backrow set a drilled it for a 16-8 score.  At 17-9, Nall again signaled to Harnish for a shoot set and again it worked beautifully as the two timed their individual roles perfectly.  18-10 saw Jarquin go up solo and block a Dublin outside kill attempt, then at 20-11 Mesetz once again delivered a service ace.  On the next point, Mesetz brought a tough serve that was overpassed by Dublin.  Instead of trying to kill it, Carrington wisely made a great volleyball play by electing to pass it to Harnish who put up a tasty set for the hungry Rachel Cox who smashed it for a score.  The Dons hung on for the remainder of the set for the win.

Final Score Set 4:  25-11 Dons.

Dons take the match 4 sets to 1.

Highlight Statistics:

  Jojo Harnish:    4 Aces, 25 Service Points

  Amanda Jarquin:  14 Kills

  Brooke Aiello:    9 Kills

  Lisa Carrington:    6 Kills

  Rachel Cox:    6 Kills

  Jen Lincoln:    6 Kills

Photos courtesy Gint Federas and Joan Seet

Varsity Girls’ Volleyball vs. Dougherty Valley

Set 1: 

The Dons played the Dougherty Valley Wildcats earlier this season in September, dominated the games, and won the match in three straight sets.  Maybe the Wildcats had something to prove in this second meeting, because they were a different team this time around.  The scoring started out fairly evenly with both teams sharing some great rallies, and in particular Defensive Specialist Ainsley Blandford had several rally-saving digs for the Dons.  At 7-8 (Dons’ scoring listed first) Blandford was in the right place to cover a blocked kill attempt by the Wildcats, got up a great pass to Setter Jojo Harnish who

Senior Captain and Outside Hitter Brooke Aiello in mid-swing on an outside kill. Ready to cover are Emily Mesetz (11), Jen Lincoln (3), Jojo Harnish, and Ainsley Blandford.

Senior Captain and Middle Hitter Lisa Carrington driving the ball off a DV block attempt. Looking on are Jojo Harnish, Ainsley Blandford, and Molly Dalziel.

then put up a nice set that Outside Hitter Brooke Aiello crushed for the score.  At 9-11 Aiello went up again for a kill, but DV had a double block covering it so she deftly pushed a dink past the block to the DV floor.  It was then her turn to serve and she promptly scored an ace.  On the next point, she showed some backrow hitting skills by pounding down a great set to the 10-foot line from Amanda Jarquin to make it 11-11.  But then DV began a 5-point run and the Dons called a time out.  It wasn’t until 12-19 that Jarquin put an end to the DV run by smashing one of her consistent backrow kills.  At 14-19 Jarquin and Middle Hitter Lisa Carringtonteamed up for a rejection of a DV kill

Senior Captain and Middle Hitter Lisa Carrington driving the ball off a DV block attempt. Looking on are Jojo Harnish, Ainsley Blandford, and Molly Dalziel.

attempt.  With the Jarquin’s backrow hitting working so well, Harnish went to it again for another score at 16-21.  Despite big scoring hits at 17-, 18-, 19-, and 20-22 by Aiello, the Dons could not make up for that earlier 5-point cushion that DV had built up.

Final Score Set 1:  21-25 Dougherty Valley.

Set 2:

The second set began with a bang as Jarquin blasted a Harnish outside set.  Scoring went both ways from then, and the score stood at 4-5 after a great double block by Jen Lincoln and CarringtonLincoln hammered a backrow kill to make it 8-7 and the Dons had the lead.  DV immediately tied it at 8-8, but Carrington got the lead back on a

Senior Outside Hitter Jen Lincoln serving up another ace.

great slide play going behind Harnish and getting the backset which she smacked to the floor.  DV then got on another run and not until 12-15 did Aiello stop the scoring with a bruising kill at the outside.  Two points later Rachel Cox hammered one down at the outside before the switch, and Lincoln got another big hit at 15-17.  But with this three-point cushion DV was in the driver’s seat with the scoring going back and forth.  Jarquin put down a big blow at the outside and at 18-21 it was another Harnish-to-Carrington slide play.  The Dons, though, were unable to erase that cushion, and even with a beautiful

Senior Captain and Opposite Hitter Amanda Jarquin, and Junior Middle Hitter Rachel Cox waiting for the official’s go-ahead.

untouched service ace by Jarquin at 19-21 the Wildcats prevailed.

Final Score Set 2:  19-25 Dougherty Valley.

Set 3:

Brooke Aiello, Rachel Cox, Jojo Harnish, Amanda Jarquin, Jen Lincoln, and Lisa Carrington

Set 3 began on a promising note with a Harnish service ace to make it 1-0.  Then at 2-1 Blandford made a great save on a ball that deflected off a Dons’ block.  The save went to Harnish and she put up a sweet set that Aiello came crashing into and put down hard for a score.  Then at 5-4 Harnish had made a great dig on an over-pass put-down by DV, and the set went to Cox who put it away for the score.  But as was the case in the previous two games, DV went on a run and it took a well-placed dink by Carrington to stop it at 7-11.  But Lincoln made two great service aces and brought the score to 9-11.  That three-point run got the Dons fans excited, and on the next serve Cox was at the outside prior to the switch. Harnish put up a set for her that was tight to the net, and although tight sets are often easier for the defense to block, they are known to stimulate a drooling response in outside hitters.  Well, Cox saw that nice tight set, approached it like a freight train approaching a wall of balloons, leapt high into the air, and just smashed the ball straight through the block and down to the 10-foot line of DV.  There was no way she was going to be denied on that play.  But again, DV was able to put together a couple runs that increased their scoring margin.  Aiello stopped it with a big outside hit at 13-19 then followed it up with an ace at 16-20.  Then Emily Mesetz made a showing with a big middle hit at 18-22.  Even Cox had another big outside hit at 19-23, but time was running out.  Hopes were still alive at 21-23 with a great double block with Carrington and Harnish extinguishing a DV middle kill attempt, but DV took the next two points and thus, the set and match.

Final Score Set 3:  22-25 Dougherty Valley

Dougherty Valley takes the match 3 sets to 0.

Statistics:

      Brooke Aiello:           12 Kills

      Lisa Carrington:        4 Kills

      Rachel Cox:                 4 Kills          

      Jen Lincoln:                4 Kills    3 Aces  

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