The Acalanes Freshman Lady Dons Volleyball team is loaded with talent. That’s a truism. According to one online dictionary, a truism is “a statement that is obviously true and conveys nothing new or interesting.” Well, when the Dons took the floor against the Clayton Valley High Ugly Eagles on Thursday afternoon, those in attendance bore witness to a pair of “truisms” both of which, contrary to Webster-Merriam, are of substantial interest. 

Truism #1: Break dancing is alive and well in 2021.

Truism #2: If you want to make Chloe Lockwood really mad, give her a yellow card.

The first set of today’s Clayton Valley match was essentially a carbon copy of yesterday’s lambasting of the Las Lomas Knights. Chloe, flanked by her partners in crime— Mika Bocobo, Tea Sloane Smith, Anna Macleod, Eva McGrath, Jade Profilio, Mia Iams, and Elise Fox— annihilated the Ugly Eagles in just about every aspect of the game.

Like yesterday, the Dons rocketed to an early 7-0 lead, riding Eva’s consistent, punishing, dartlike service (which included a jaw-dropping ace to win the Dons’ fifth point). After an unexpected and equally brief change of possession, it was Jade’s turn at the line. And in typical Jade-like fashion, the feisty Libero did not disappoint. Delivering each of her serves with expert precision while miraculously plunging into the fray as if in a single motion, Jade somehow managed to find just the right spots to feed Chloe and Anna a pair of sets which hung in the air like unseen skyrockets before ripping down through the thicket of red jerseys. As a Dons fan, it was euphoric to say the least. But as soon as the scoreboard flashed 10-1, something very strange happened. An anomalous burst of the whistle preceded a peculiar, unsettling hush on both sides of the net. All eyes turned to the referee who was fumbling for something in his pocket. Could it be? Really? Yep. A yellow card. And it had Chloe’s name written all over it. As the Ugly Eagles watched this menacing force, known to them only as #14, pry the earring from her lobe, what they didn’t realize was that the set had just ended. Handing Chloe Lockwood a yellow card would be like handing the Eagles a defeat even uglier than their feathered mascot. (Another truism of extraordinary interest, by the way). Inspired by the wrath of Chloe’s ear, Tea, Jade, Mika and the Dons would win 14 of the ensuing 18 points, each more electrifying than the last, a dazzling orchestra of rotation and breathtaking kills from the entire front and back lines. With the Dons firing on all cylinders, the Ugly Eagles never stood a chance.

In fairness, wearing jewelry on the court is prohibited for good reason. Moreover, athletes should never “blame the ref” when calls don’t go their way. In this case, however, Dons fans might consider sending this ref a thank you card for stoking a fire that energized an entire team and elevated their game to “next level” proportions…

Having danced their way through the first set, the Dons celebrated their 25-4 victory with an actual dance party which evolved into an impromptu break-dancing contest between Mika and Tea, apparently two old-school souls extracting from their respective war-chests such classic moves as the Centipede, the Jackhammer and even a round of alternating Flares. The winner of the contest? Everyone in attendance…

When the dance party was over, the second set commenced and would prove dramatically different than the first. With Eva serving and some solid front-line play from Megan Hill and Elise, each delivering respective kills and an opening score of 4-1, the Dons continued to play well, underscored by some effective cross-court hits from Megan, Tea, Paige Passalacqua and Ruthy Protass. Indeed, the Dons proceeded to execute as expected, but it wasn’t long before the air became a little thicker, the net seemed a little higher, and the ball conspired against them. With the score locked at 8-8, the Ugly Eagles turned up the heat. Every misstep incurred by the Dons became opportunities for the Ugly Eagles who took full advantage. The Dons now trailing 13-8, Coach Roman called an urgent timeout, injecting Mika into what had become an unexpected dogfight against a truly inspired opponent. With their spirits lifted by Mika’s dominating presence coupled with Kira Chan’s effective serves, amazingly, the Dons would actually claw their way back, their collective desire personified by the acrobatic Tea who unleashed a stinging projectile through the defense, declaring the return of the mighty Dons with a scoreboard check of 18-22. Having won the next point and pulling within 3, the Dons ignited the crowd with an intense, 34-second rally kept alive by Eva who saved the point with a spectacular off-balance shot while literally cascading backwards on one foot.

Despite an incredibly valiant comeback effort by all Acalanes players and coaches, unfortunately, the Freshman Lady Dons fell short, losing the second set 21-25.

With their next game 5 days away, the Dons will have plenty of time to rest, reflect and prepare for what promises to be another spectacular dance. (Oh, and they might consider doing a little earring shopping as well)…