JV Dons Defeat Clayton Valley High 2-0 on Thursday

JV Dons Defeat Clayton Valley High 2-0 on Thursday

The Junior Varsity Dons closed out the second week of the season on Thursday with their fourth straight victory, defeating the visiting Clayton Valley High School Eagles 25-12 and 25-19.

The Dons struggled in the beginning of the first set, initially falling behind 2-5, and trading blows with the Eagles to a 9-9 tie. From then on, they pulled away in Dons fashion, behind the acrobatic passing of Kylie Choi, the generous sets of Mara Korzeniowska, and the withering kills of Sofie Foster and Hanna Hageboeck. A 10-point Ryann Jones serving streak brought the team to 24-11, and the set closed on an Eagles serving error.

The Dons started strong in the second set, initially outscoring the Eagles 15-4. An Eagles rally and Dons miscues tightened the game to 20-18, before the Dons took over, winning the last three points of the set behind the deep corner serves of Elsa Simas.

The game can be viewed here: Sporfie | Aca JV vs Clayton

Varsity Boys Volleyball Takes Clayton Valley 3-0

Varsity Boys Volleyball Takes Clayton Valley 3-0

The Dons came into this contest as the overwhelming favorite, but the match started with six missed serves in a row (three by each team) – tying the teams early on at 3-3.  Gavin Zylstra started running up the score on a serving streak, which was complemented by Erik Moen’s spot on setting to both front and back row hitters; creating an almost dangerous flurry of scoring hits from Austin Kinnear, Harry Mannering, Tommy Bieker and GavinLiam Stancik, Erik, Austin and Harry also racked up the score with multiple serving aces.  Liam Bodner accentuated the team’s front row defense with strong blocking and strategic tips.  Game one score: 25-9

Game 2 started a bit more somberly, with multiple point exchanges due to some Don’s offensive errors – missed serves, hits and general confusion on the court.  However, this predicament did not last long as the Dons quickly regained their composure and got back on track.  Austin helped change the momentum of the game with some ripper serves that proved to be ungettable by the Clayton Valley back row.   Tommy brought in some key targeted serves that threw the CV defense off. Both Liam and Tommy continued to defend the middle position and didn’t let much get through their blocks.  Grant Silveri tooled the CV defenders and punched a couple key points through.  And as if serving up signature sets all game wasn’t enough, Erik found a way to come in with a kill from the outside pin.  Game 2 score: 25-15

With the match already in hand, game 3 saw considerable action from the bench and guest JV players.  Opposite hitter Tyler Singh, found his rhythm early on with a convincing kill and followed that up with a nice serving run that included a couple aces.  Libero Cole Regan and DS Justin Law helped hold the back court defensive position from serves and errant passes.  Griffin Ruebner added to the Dons tally with consistent serves and front row play, and JV guest setter Kabir Batra, teamed up with Tyler for a couple floor pounding kills. JV guest middles, Victor NIcolacakis and Alex Malinovsky showed their potential as future varsity blocking machines.  This game was quite a bit closer than the previous two, but everyone had a chance to play and contribute to the team’s victory.  Game 3 score: 25-21

Next week:  College Park and Northgate

Dons Varsity Girls Volleyball Flies Past the Ugly Eagles

Dons Varsity Girls Volleyball Flies Past the Ugly Eagles

The Dons took on the Clayton Valley Ugly Eagles on Thursday night, and they figured they would have a battle on their hands.  The Eagles feature a tall, athletic front line and some high jumpers who can pound the ball.  But, the Dons have some players too, and sure enough it was a fantastic, tightly contested match.

In set one, CV came out serving tough, and the Dons found themselves in a hole, 3-10.  Our team re-grouped with some tough serving and defense of their own.  A four point run by Erin Meade, a three point run by Carly Coffee, and a nice flying dink by Elena Needs helped the Dons work the score to 13-13.  After another nice kill through the Eagles block by Elena, Sydney Sowarby put more pressure on the Clayton defense with some tough serves.  Katelyn Olin pounded one from the middle spot to run it to 17-16 Dons.  The score was tied 20-20 when things got a little dicey for our girls, and the found themselves down 20-22.  A nice set my Erin Meade lead to another tip by Elena to get it to 23-23 and a time out by CV.  Unfortunately, the Eagles’ coach said the right thing in the huddle, and they scored a quick two points to take the set, 25-23. 

In set two, Lauren Davis started the party with a huge swing, and Annika Olson sent a message with a nice roof on the Eagles’ opposite hitter, resulting in a 4-1 Dons edge.  Clayton answered with some great kills by their middle and pins, which we all knew would happen eventually.  The Eagles were soon up 10-14 and feeling really good about it.  Senior Annika Olson had seen enough, and came through with another big block, and an overpass slam, 13-14.  Seniors Lauren Davis and Aisha Mohanty got the message as well, combining for two nice sets and rather loud kills, 15-16.  Tate Huisingh flummoxed the Eagles D with a nice tip, then Erin Meade came to the service line and delivered a timely ace, resulting in a time out for CV at 18-16 Dons.  This was going to be close.  19-19, then Elena gets a nice set from Erin and pounds one off the block.  20-19. 20 all.  Katelyn (‘she’s a sophomore’) Olin then delivered another overpass spike to make it 22-20 Dons.  Eagles get two back, 22-22.  Then 23-23, after another Elena Needs hit. Nice set Mohanty to Olin, 24-23!  They hit long on set point, 25-23 Dons!

Now we go to the deciding set. (author in play-by-play mode now, slowly but sure losing all composure):  After a nice spike, then an ace by Elena, its 2-2.  Some scrambled play follows, then Lauren Davis provides a big block off the face of the defender, 4-4.  Erin Meade serves another ace.  Annika Olson another slam.  But CV has game, 7-8.  Katelyn Olin roofs one, 8-8. Carly Coffee comes in with her famous short floater and aces the Eagles twice in a row!  They need to do some substituting to combat that serve!  Now 12-8 after a nice hit by sophomore Maya Paul.  A crazy point finished with a put away to an open spot by Carly, now 13-9, time out CV.  Crunch time!  A quick set by Meade to Olin, 14-10.  Eagles soaring again, Dons holding on to a 15-14 lead. Davis/Olin block, 16-15. 17 all.  Shorty ace number three for Carly!  And another one! Somewhere, Roger from PacRim VC is smiling.  Makenzie Sauer is now pressuring the Eagles from the outside, and they are firmly on their back foot (talon? claw? you get it). Katelyn Olin with a crafty shot makes it 22-19 Dons.  Lauren Davis goes cross court for 23-21.  23 all now, this won’t be easy!  BIG hit by Olson, 24-23.  24 all now!  Annika Olson will NOT go out like this, and she AGAIN puts the Dons up by one.  Match point, and the Eagles hit into the net…Dons win!   26-24.   High fives ensue…Dons love. 

Next match – at Alhambra on Wednesday!   Go Dons. 

Annika Olson
Makenzie Sauer
Sydney Sowarby
Team Bonding
Maya Paul
Katelyn Olin
Olin / Olson Roof
Elena “Number 10” Needs
Maya Paul
Erin Meade feeding her weapons
thank god for knee pads
Aisha Mohanty

JV Baseball: Pitchers Duel In Low-Scoring Affair

JV Baseball: Pitchers Duel In Low-Scoring Affair

Both teams were strong on the pitcher’s mound on Thursday, but Miramonte was just a little bit stronger at the plate in a victory over the Dons on Thursday.  Logan Mikalis started the game for Acalanes and recorded 15 outs. Mikalis went five innings, allowing two runs on three hits, striking out three and walking one. Miller Smith  threw two innings out of the bullpen to close it out for the Dons. The two bright spots for the Dons  were a single by Henry Souza in the fifth inning and Ellis Burger with a double in the seventh inning. Dons lost 0 to 2.

LOVE The Umps!

Recently on a trip to SoCal, I went to see my friend’s son play Frosh baseball at my alma mater high school. It was 78 degree and felt like a perfect day for baseball. Driving to the game, my friend received a text message that the game against was canceled despite the clear skies and prefect temperature. The reason for the postponement? Not rain. Not sleet. Not snow. An umpire shortage. We have seen this in NorCal and it seems to be the situation in SoCal, and actually many programs around the USA (I read about it). Several area programs have been forced to cancel, postpone or have a parent or coach umpire the freshman and junior varsity games (all levels of baseball). This has been the option for many of our JV games-no umps. Games will continue to be canceled/postponed, particularly at the sub-varsity levels. For a sport that ranks fourth in the country in participation for high school boys behind only football, track and field and basketball, according to 2019-2020 numbers provided by the National Federation of State High School Associations, the thought of canceling games – and teams – due to a lack of umpires is a significant problem.

We need more people to get involved. Without adult participation, the kids don’t play. The word needs to get out because it is a critical issue in our sport.” Umpires typically make $65 for a high school game. Not exactly big bucks once you factor in equipment costs and gas money. But they do it because they love baseball.

From StarSports Magazine: Mike Mann has been umpiring for 36 years. “I got into it for the love of the game,” he said. “I grew up playing sports, have always been around it. It’s a way to make a little extra cash and give back to a game I love.” Mann, 66, did not plan to have such a jam-packed schedule this spring. He anticipated working maybe three days a week. Instead, he has been working six days with multiple games. ‘I’m supposed to be part-time,” he said. “But it hasn’t been that way at all.”

Fun Factor: Find a JV baseball parent and ask about the umpiring at the Miramonte away game last Tuesday. We need REAL umpires!

JV Basketball: Quality win on the Road vs Clayton Valley

JV Basketball: Quality win on the Road vs Clayton Valley

The JV team is on a roll winning two of the last three games including a tie Wednesday night.  Thursday night the entire squad joined in the effort to defeat the Ugly Eagles on their home court for a final score of 38-31. 

The Dons’ Bennett Dodge won the tip sending it down court to Jack Bayless for an opening lay up.  Soon after Landon Santos hit Dodge with a pass under the basket for the second score of the game and on the next possession Bennett pulled an offensive rebound and firmly placed the ball in the hoop for two more points. Koleton Fenton made two free throws and Bayless ended the quarter with a steal and drive to the basket for two more points. 

The scoring started in the second quarter with Eli Brent pulling a rebound and driving coast to coast getting fouled on the layup. He made one of two free throws and on the next possession hit a floater in the lane for two points.  Scoring was tough for a stretch of time, but Justin Z was fouled twice in the bonus and hit all four critical free throws to end the quarter with the Dons up 19-13.

The third quarter was all about defense and the Dons were held to five points scoring.  Santos hit a three pointer from the top of the key and Santos zipped a pass to Bayless in the lane for a score as time expired with the lead at 24-21. Dodge anchored the middle with multiple blocks on D and worked the post like a champ finding cutters like Levi Rudin, Zubin Acuna and Nathan Bennett.  

Entering the 4th quarter the struggle was real, but the Dons rose to the challenge.  It started with Santos scoring on a put back in the lane, Coco Gannon hit Bayless in the paint with a nifty pass for a bucket and It was with three minutes to go that Santos took over.  He hit back to back three point shots from the top of the key to create separation and the momentum was in the Dons favor now. The Ugly Eagles called time out desperate to stop the Acalanes’ surge. Out of the time out Gannon hit a layup and Jack Bayless drove the lane from the top of the key to score.  Key defensive stops down the stretch preserved the lead with Bayless, Gannon, Brent, Santos and Dodge holding firm to a 38-32 final score. 

 High scorers: Landon Santos (11) followed by Bayless (10) & Dodge (6)

#4 meets his worst nightmare in Bennett Dodge protecting the rim. 
Tarin Krishnan setting up the offense. 
Justin Zegarowski sets up to knock down critical free throws
Landon Santos making his three point shots to be the lead scorer for the Dons



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)…

Special Senior Night for Lady Dons Water Polo With 14-7 Win Over Las Lomas

Special Senior Night for Lady Dons Water Polo With 14-7 Win Over Las Lomas

The Lady Dons Seniors enjoyed their senior night with stellar performances across the board. Having won the first 2 NCS Championships in Acalanes history as well as a State Championship, they are continuing to build their legend.

Las Lomas came in with a team much improved from years past, but they were no match for the Dons and the game was mostly over in the first quarter. Our seniors deserve special recognition for their performances last night:

  • Ava Donleavy was stellar in goal, blocking 7 or 11 shots and making several key long passes down the pool to assist in goals
  • Alana McCartney had a busy night scoring 2 goals, as well as getting 4 assists and 4 steals
  • Emma Miller was tough all around, scoring on a penalty shot and getting a crucial steal
  • Alex Mould was all over the pool with 1 goal, 2 assists and 2 steals. She will be playing water polo next year at UC Irvine.
  • Claire Rowell continued her offensive tear with 7 goals and added a steal for good mention. She will be playing water polo at UC Berkeley next year.
  • Carol Schirmer was an outstanding supporting teammate all around the game, locking down Las Lomas on defense and making 2 assists and 1 steal.

Supporting our seniors was Heidi Heffelfinger with 3 goals, 1 assist and 1 steal. Next game is Saturday against Monte Vista.

Boys Varsity Volleyball Comes Back to beat the Knights in Three

Boys Varsity Volleyball Comes Back to beat the Knights in Three

The Boys varsity volleyball team took on Los Lomas last night on the Knight’s home court.  The Dons got off to an early lead, but gave it up and fell behind after a timely timeout by Los Lomas.  The Dons came back on some killer hits from Austin Kinnear, Harry Mannering and Gavin Zylstra, along with strong back row play and late game serving streak by Liam Stancik.   With the score tied at 24-24, Los Lomas called a double timeout (back to back timeouts) to successfully freeze out our serve and ultimately take game one 26-24. 

In the second game, the Dons showed their dominance with continued strong play from the pin hitters (Austin, Harry and Grant), that was accompanied by dominating blocking and hitting from middles Tommy Bieker and Liam Bodner. Consistent passing from Liam Stancik, and spot on sets from Erik Moen, helped set the table for the Dons to take game two. 

In game 3, the Dons carried over the momentum from game 2, and took an early and convincing lead that allowed for multiple substitutions off the bench – which  included a few JV players that were brought up for this match.  Dons win game 3 and the match.  Great job Dons.! Next up – Clayton Valley tonight at 6pm. 

Varsity Girls Volleyball Takes Down Las Lomas in 3 Set Thriller

Varsity Girls Volleyball Takes Down Las Lomas in 3 Set Thriller

The Volleyball Dons visited the Las Lomas Knights for their first road match of the year. The teams played a best-of-3 set match and both squads were ready to compete. In set one, the Dons came out looking more like themselves after two setbacks to start the season. With senior libero Sydney Sowarby back to full health, and the return of senior Carly Coffee to the back row, the Dons showed off their depth of athletes to the Knights. Las Lomas got off to a fast start, but a big serving run by sophomore Katelyn Olin got the Dons back to the front. Some solid passing got the Dons offense in system, and a couple of nuclear kills by senior Annika Olson put the Knights on their heels. The set was closed out by a big hammer through the block by senior Lauren Davis. 25-17 Dons.

In set two, the front line was on display as the taller Dons got off to a fast start with some kills and blocks. The Knights kept is close and tied it 7-7, but a pair of short floating aces from Erin Meade forced a time out by the opponent at 11-7 Dons. Carly Coffee provided another ace to make it 14-8, but the Knights found their rhythm. The Dons tried to stem the tide at 15-15 with a big block from senior Tate Huisingh and sophomore Maya Paul. But, the Knights again used some effective hitting and tough serving to force errors by the Dons, eventually taking the set 25-18.

In set three, the pressure was turned up by both sides. The Dons went down early to the home Knights, and the limited capacity crowd was fired up. 3-6 Knights. 4-7 Knights. 7-9 Knights. 8-11 Knights. The Dons could not break through until senior Aisha Mohanty took matters into her own hands with a wicked serve, resulting in two aces, a 12-12 tie and a Las Lomas time out. Well, the time out worked, as the Knights went up 17-13, then 16-19, then 20-22. But again, here come the Dons, this time Carly Coffee with an ace to make it 22-22. Some nice swings by Elena Needs, Tate Huisingh, Lauren Davis and Annika Olson, off the buttery sets from Aisha Mohanty and Erin Meade, gave the crowd all the feels. But, a few Don’s mistakes helped the Knights get to match point, 22-24. Nervous time. The Dons front line answered and took over with two points in a row, 24 all. The Knights had a kill, now match point again, and this reporter is officially distracted. The Dons clutched up again, 25 all. After a tough serve from Aisha, and a great rally, the Dons scored to get to their own match point. C’mon girls!! Lauren Davis pounded another one through the block, 27-25, Dons prevail!

The Dons are right back at it tonight at 7:30pm at home vs Clayton Valley. Watch the action live on YouTube, search Alan Go-Acalanes to find the channel. Old school extended match – best of five tonight! Go Dons!

Carly Coffee

Erin Meade
Aisha Mohanty
Maya Paul / Annika Olson
Katelyn Olin
Tate Huisingh
Elena Needs
Lauren Davis
Annika Olson