Match 1 Sonoma Dragons v. Acalanes Dons.
First match against the tournament hosts, the Sonoma Valley Dragons. The Dons surrendered a few early points as they shook off the morning. After a quick time out from coach Alan to settle the squad, the Dons came back out focused and ready. After a great point by Maggie Krackler the Dons faced an 8-3 deficit.
Fighting hard, the girls took points from the Dragons where they could, keeping the game close.
Ellie slammed a nice one into the wood on the Dragons side and some solid defense kept the Dons in the game.
At 22-16. Stella Larkin got the serve. A sweet touch by Sydney Skovic gave Stella her 4th straight point to cause a Dragon time-out and the Dons were within 2 points of taking the lead. 7 points later and the Dragons had the ball up 23-22.
>>A failed serve and the serve in Sydney’s hands<<and the Dons were up by 1 24-23 and another Dragon time-out…after a long rally, the Dragons had it back 24 each.
A SLAM to the back of their court by Ellie Blanchard gave the serve to the Dons but the Dragons took it right back. 25 all.
Then 26 all.
27-26 and it was Amelia Easley’s turn to serve. One serve and the game was OURS!!
I mean…and that was game 1.
The Dons stood on defense to open game 2 and it was deja vu all over again as the girls dropped the first 3 points.
At 4-2 the Dragons had it again and a dynamite dig and save by Stella Larkin gave us the ball again.
Back and forth the teams traded points keeping the score within a few points.
Until Stella got the serve again. At 10-6 Stella opened up that can and between serves and digs by Stella and slams and touches by Ella, when Stella was done it was within 1 point: 11-10 Dragons.
3 solid points by Sydney Graves and the Dons held a 1 point lead. And at 12-14 Dons favor, Ella took the serve for the squad and some cross court set ups from Sydney Graves to Maggie Krackeler was the soup du jour until the Dragons called a timeout to see if they could light their fire again.
But the Dons were rolling and Ella went back to the serve un-phased. She didn’t give it back until we were up by 4. 13-17.
14-21 and the Dons were up and on defense. A few “interesting” calls and a failed Dragon serve had the ball in the hands of our girls and Amelia was ready to serve up some pain including a LASER ace to bring us within 1 point. That’s all we needed as the fire of the Dragons was snuffed out in game 2 and the Dons were victorious!
Match 2. Dons v. Vintage
The Dons opened up match 2 game 1 with Sydney Graves on serve and after an 8 touch rally the Dons drew first blood.
But the girls fell quickly behind after a few mins-reads and unlucky breaks. At 1-7 Vintage, Alan called a time out to re-group.
And the TO froze em right away and Ellie was at the serve.
And it’s 7-6 and Vintage had to call a TO to see if they needed to switch their uni’s to gabardine slacks to get some groove.
Ella climbed up to the top of Sutton tower here in Sonoma to SLAM a return into the floor that took a team of people to dislodge the ball from the wood in the flow.
But we looked up and Aca was still down. It was 14-11 Vintage when Stella got the serve and inched us closer to even.
Dominating net play by Ella gave the ball back to Sydney Graves but more “calls” gave the ball back.
17-14 Vintage and Ellie took command. Great play by Sydney G, Maggie and consistent serving by Ellie brought the game to even before Vintage eeeked one over the net to get the Serve back. 18-17 and strong play again took the ball back.
Amelia took the serve and fired a few lasers over the net, and Vintage being vintage, clearly had never seen a laser before because whoa, they fall apart before taking a time out to figure out how to approach this determined and tenacious Acalanes team.
Heads up D gave Krackler the rock.
23-24 Aca and STRONG play by the girls took game 1!
Vintage was starting to question the validity of the teams patina as we opened up game 2 on defense.
And it was point #1 to Aca. Ellie led the offensive charge with authority and some serious rally’s ensued but the Dons had serious focus and intensity. They were getting the groove on. Valeria Toledo had an OUTSTANDING smash in the back corner and it was 5-1 before we gave it back.
Smooth Valeria served her usual velvety missiles over the net confusing the defense and taking more points.
Syd set to Sydney Skovic for a slam into the back court and Vintage was in their heels.
A THUNDEROUS slam from Ella turned the ball into an egg shape it was so hard. A friend of mine in San Francisco called to tell me he’d heard the rapport from the shot that gave Krackler the ball at the baseline and at 12-6 Aca, Vintage needed a breather via TO.
But it didn’t slow down MK or the team. MMMMMMkay? Strong at the net, heads up in the back court kept the ball in the Dons hands until it was 15-7.
16-8 and Stella took the ball and served a couple knuckle balls that the Vintage team was trying to just understand let alone return.
Some onsey twosey play until it was 12-20 Aca and it was Ellie’s turn to lock and load.
Bowie is famous for singing, “It ain’t easy” but the Dons sure made it look like it was as Ellie served for 5 points straight and took game 2!!
Match 3. The big one
The Dons came to play when they faced their old tournament nemesis, Redwood. A strong team to be sure, but the heart of the Dons JV team is tough to contend with.
Ellie Blanchard took a great set up from Sydney graves for the dons first points and Stella Larkin had an incredible dig/save. But after grabbing a point the next 7 went to Redwood before coach Alan took a time out for air.
Sela Sarbiewski went across the net to get the ball back and Valeria started serving on the climb back into the game. After some dispute over the score keeping and a summit at the referees table the girls were finally back out on the floor to take the game to Redwood.
Juliana Harhay tipped the ball in Redwoods face to get the serve back and Amelia took the ball and started to show these trees what kind of axe our girls carry.
Awesome dig by Lourdes Smith forced a timeout by the redwood girls and we stood at 13-9 in their favor.
A sweet touch at the net by Ellie Blanchard gave Stella the serve at 15-11 Redwood. A few tips and fakes and unlucky breaks later and it stood 18-13 with Ellie back up.
MASSIVE winner by Maggie K and the lead was cut to 3. A head-fake gave the trees the ball back but only up by 3 at 19-16.
Some serious intensity at the net brought a time out by coach Alan at 23-18 Redwood.
A controversial reversal call gave the serve and game point to the woodies and the Dons dropped game 1 to the trees 25-18.
Redwood opened up on offense, but the Dons took it back after only 1 point.
Ellie opened up with what looked like a strong start but the crappie Redding held strong and gave the ball back to the trees right away.
At 4-1 Redwood serves into the net and Valeria took command for the Dons with 3 straight and we were within 1. A HUGE rally with all the girls getting great touches gave the ball back to us tied 5-5.
Amelia took the serve and the lead.
But it was short lived in this tight game and it was 6-6 and the trees ball.
Ping pong went the game as the two teams traded points and serves.
But a 3 point slide caused coach Allen to call a time out to give the girls a breather and a chance to re-focus.
They took the court down 16-11 it was to chop some wood. And Amelia took the rock. Fed by Stella, Ella shocked the trees with a bullet to the back and all the little tricks and fake outs couldn’t keep the Dons down…and it was 16-16. Then 17-17 before they gave the ball back. Amelia served for 6!
And it started again…
Stella Larkin took serve 20-19 and stepped on the gas – with a tiny bit of help from the AC system and basketball set up Larkin served for 5 straight and took game 2!!
What? Game 3?!? Yeah, game 3. But we were ready
These teams are good.
After dropping a few in a row, coach Alan called a time out.
Some exceptional play by Amelia and Ella gave us the ball back. Unfortunately, we have it back to them and despite some really remarkable play by the Dons, with real heart, they fell to the Redwood trees 15-7.