Volleyball Dons End Season With Loss to Branson in State Playoffs

Dons Run With the Bulls…Again

In their unmatched wisdom, the CIF State Tournament Selection Committee thought it would be a good idea to stage a rematch of the NCS D3 Finals just three nights later. OK Boomers, shake it off. So, YOUR Acalanes Dons Women’s volleyball team headed back over to College of Marin on Ground Hog Day to take their third and final crack at Bull fighting this season, looking for an epic road win over Branson to advance from the opening round of the State Division 2 NorCal bracket and keep the season alive.

The Dons came in fired up and delivered some awesome highlights for your enjoyment:

First Set:

1-0: Dons take the early lead on a Lane Webster set to Madi Risch for a low, sharp kill.

3-4: Risch big Ace.

4-5: Multiple Sydney Sowarby digs keep the point alive, but Branson finally scores. Then Annika Olson comes right back and smokes an angle kill.

6-7: Kaylin Hiatt wicked serve. Overpass. Olson crush. Yummy!

7s: Webster block winner. It’s tied up!

10-9: Sowarby dig. Webster set. Olson kill. Textbook. Dons playing loose.

11-12: Big Kylie Wood block heads off a 3-0 Bulls stampede.

12s: Kennedy Cornish ties it back up again with a smart dink in the middle. Dons are hanging with the bovines tonight.

13-17: Not so fast. Big Bull run and the Dons need a timeout.

14-18: Erin Meade ripped kill helps, but the Dons need some magic.

16-23: Timeout Dons. Rough patch.

17-25: Ouchy. Dons drop the first set despite a spirited effort.

Second Set:

1s: Risch tools the block. Ha!

2-3: Meade tools the block. Ya!

4-3: Cornish Ace untouched!

6-3: See above. Woo! Timeout Branson. In 8 sets against Branson this year this is the Dons largest set lead so far.

8-4: Long rally…multiple digs and passes: Olson, Sowarby, Risch, Hiatt. Dons score!

9-4: Hiatt Ace!

10-6: Risch pipe kill from the back row filets the steers.

10-11: Angry Bulls charge back with a huge run.

15-12: Dons counter with their own run and get back up by 3 on a Cornish stuff of an overpass.

18-17: Risch with an unbelievable dig. Olson rewards it with a kill. Dons back on top!

19-17: And then Hiatt drills an Ace to the back line that is All…Most…Out. Woo!

20-19: Sowarby dives forward for the dig and Wood kills a “1” set in the middle with just enough mustard. Timeout Branson.

20-22: Three straight off the timeout by Branson and now it’s Acalanes turn for time out. Dadgummit!

22-24: Wild scramble. Bulls and Dons everywhere. Risch kill. Dons still alive but zombie cows won’t stop.

25-22: Ouchy #2.

Third Set:

2-0: Meade kill. Dons winning for now…

4-1: Elena Needs pass…Webster sets Risch…kill.

6-1: Timeout Branson. Can the Dons capitalize on their lead this time?

7-2: Needs pass…Webster set…Meade kill. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

9-5: Meade feeling it. (Thanks Hunter).

9s: More zombie cow attacks and it’s tied. Can’t stop ‘em.

10-9: Loooonnng rally. Multiple Webster saves. Needs kill.

11s: Dons re-tie it on a Risch Bomb.

15-14: Risch Ace! Huge one. Dons need a run to finally bbq the Bulls in a set this season.

16-19: Dons timeout. Trying to hang on. Branson is relentless if not flashy.

17-19: Sweet Webster set and Needs kills it. Let’s Go!

18-19: Bulls hit long. Point Dons. Come on!

18-22: Slipping away again. No! Bad Bull.

20-22: Webster & Wood Roofing Company get a block. Fight!

21-23: Risch back row kill. Hang On Please!

21-24: Match Point Bulls…(sigh)

22-24. Risch rolls a winner off the tape and Branson takes another timeout. Breathe people. Still Match Point.

23-24: Sowarby saves the match with a dive-roll dig and Risch fires off a searing kill. Still Match Point…

24s: Webster serve…Bulls hit it long. Out! Tied! Not Match Point!

24-25: Branson Match Point #4 (sigh).

25s: Risch crusher. Tied again!

26-25: Risch Ace! Set Point Dons!

26s: Tied yet again.

27-26: Needs stuffs an overpass. Set Point again!

27s: Tied again. Goodness.

28-27: Meade big kill! Set Point once again for Aca. ‘Sco Dons!!!

29-27: Win! Wow! How! Not sure. Let’s play more!

Fourth Set:

1-0: Dons lead. Cornish hits one off the blocker after at least 12 exchanges across the net on an amazing point. Bravo to both teams for the hustle. Even the fans are tired.

1-7: Timeout Dons after 7 straight from Branson. Not pretty won’t lie.

3-9: Needs line-kills the velvet Webster set. So smooth.

8-14: Needs records another nice kill, and then a solid Sowarby pass (high level of difficulty) to Webster sets up a Wood kill in the middle. At this point the Dons are like your golf game. You know it’s in there somewhere but you can’t find it. With that middle winner Senior Kylie Wood scores her final point for the white and blue!

8-18: Senior Madi Risch subs out and leaves the floor for the last time as a Don, capping off an incredible 4-year varsity career. State Champion!

9-20: Dons running out of time, but Senior Captain Lane Webster dumps one last sneak attack over the net for a campfire winner, the last of hundreds of assists and scores during her outstanding 4-year varsity career. State Champion!

10-20: Sowarby sweet Ace! Dons fighting to the end.

11-20: Diving point-saving dig from Senior Kaylin Hiatt, laying it out on the floor till the very end of her Acalanes career.

12-20: Senior Captain Kennedy Cornish lofts a deep ball to the back corner for a win…one of the final Dons points for the prolific and creative scorer. Yeah Ken! Timeout Branson.

13-22: Mackenzie Sauer line kill.

14-22: Meade tip winner.

16-22: Sauer rips it off the blocker.

18-24: Cornish stuffs an overpass. Your correspondent’s final Yummy!

18-25: Branson scores and takes the match.

The Dons therefore complete this outstanding season with an overall 19-8 record, a second-place league finish at 7-3, a North Coast D3 Finals appearance and a first-ever Division 2 placement in the CIF State Tournament. Well done Coach Haley, Coach Alan and Coach Roman and kudos to all the players!

Meanwhile YOUR faithful correspondent is signing off for the last time and passing the baton to the next Don’s volleyball scribe. It’s been an honor to report on Don’s volleyball for the last six years and to keep the “write-up” tradition alive as it was passed down! Go Dons!