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

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!

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. 

Dons down Knights

Dons down Knights

Boys Basketball claimed back-to-back victories for the first time this season, downing the Las Lomas Knights 63-56 at home on Wednesday. The Dons were led by Jake Davis, a sophomore, who scored a career high 18 in the contest. Senior Graham Smith added 13, senior Scott Ruegg 11, and senior Derek Kotarba 9.

The Dons steady play early took them to a 16-12 lead at the end of the 1st quarter and 33-35 at the half, punctuated by a Kotarba three-pointer at the buzzer. Things turned in the third, however, as the Dons struggled to find rhythm on both ends of the court, scoring just ten points while conceding eighteen, 43-43 at the end of three.

The Dons regained their form in the fourth, feeding Davis with a steady diet of interior passes. The big was ready to eat, dropping nine points in the quarter. With 1:33 remaining and the Dons holding a 56-53 lead, the Dons upped the defensive intensity with a full court press that forced a ten-second turnover. The Dons were then able to convert 7-8 free throws to close out the game.

Boys Volleyball Recap

Boys Volleyball Recap

Last week’s matches vs. Campolindo


The JV boys volleyball team lost to Campo 2-0.  This was the team’s first match of the season, and for some, the first match of their lives.  During the first game, there were the usual nerves, but as they settled into their game, the play became more competitive. Justin Law set the tone with strong passing, while Thomas Terrien delivered increasingly hittable sets.  Hitters, Misha Stewart and Griffin Ruebner scored some key exclamation points for the team, and Conner Wollman and Jacob Madrigal showed their promise as blockers. Solid play was also turned in by Kabir Batra and Matthew Jabbour


The Dons varsity boys volleyball team put on a great show against a very strong Campo team. The first game was off to a slow start, but the guys got their footing and came back strong – but not enough to take the first game.  The second game was extremely tight with the Dons leading into the final points, but a couple missed serves turned the game around for Campo – with the Dons ultimately falling 25-23.  In the final game, the lead exchanged hands almost every other point, with the Dons taking the third and final game 28-26. This Dons team proved tonight that they are a serious contender. 

Varsity Baseball wins 6th in a Row by Beating Miramonte on Tuesday, 3-1

Varsity Baseball wins 6th in a Row by Beating Miramonte on Tuesday, 3-1

Fans who ventured out to see the Dons take on Miramonte at Ken Souza field yesterday were treated to several welcome surprises.  The first came when Freshman Henry Souza walked out to the mound for his Varsity pitching debut.  His grandpa, Ken, was undoubtedly smiling down from above as Henry dazzled the crowd while vexing the Mats.   He retired the first 8 Miramonte hitters in a row, mixing his pitches well and keeping their batters off balance with a sneaky changeup and a wicked curve ball.  Henry ended up pitching 4 strong innings, giving up only 2 hits, 1 walk and 1 unearned run, while striking out 4.  Impressive numbers for the first Freshman to start on the mound for the Dons in many years.

Will Berrien focused on the Don Win

The Dons plated all the runs they needed in the 2nd inning after Will Berrien (jr) connected with his first of 3 hits to single in Brady Huchingson (sr), and Ben Burleigh (sr) singled in Henry’s older brother, Luke (jr).  They added a 3rd run in the 6th inning when Ben Burleigh hit a towering double to right-center field to drive in Berrien, which led to the second welcomed surprise of the day…the return of Evan Malmquist (jr) to the baseball field.  Perhaps better known for his spirited play on the football field, Malmquist has also always been a gritty baseball player.  To the delight of the crowd, he was called on to pinch run for Burleigh and looked right at home on the base path.

Luke Sousa defensively ready for the Dons on Ken Sousa Field (featured photo Henry Sousa on the mound)

After Henry Souza’s departure, Dante Montgomery (jr) and Sam Heyman (sr) came in to shut down the Mats, combining for three efficient, scoreless and hitless innings, and sealing the Dons 3-1 victory.  It was important that Dante and Sam were efficient because they may be called upon again on Saturday when the Dons play De La Salle.  The third welcome surprise was that De La Salle sent a coach out to scout out the Dons players.  Whether it was out of fear or simply respect, it indicated that the #1 team in NCS and #38 in California is not taking this Dons team lightly.

Ben Burleigh great game at the plate and in the field for the Dons

Looking for their 7th win in a row, the Dons take on Miramonte again on Thursday (at Miramonte) before traveling to Lathrop, CA on Saturday for their much-anticipated battle with De La Salle.

Make it 5 in row! Varsity Baseball Cruised Past St Patrick – St Vincent 8-1 on Saturday

Make it 5 in row!  Varsity Baseball Cruised Past St Patrick – St Vincent 8-1 on Saturday

Timely hitting, good defense, and great pitching were more than enough to easily handle St Patrick-St Vincent on a beautiful Saturday day game at Acalanes.  Michael Castelli pitched 4 shutout innings and Dante Montgomery relieved for the last 3 innings.  They combined for 10 strikeouts. 

Dante Montgomery pitched 4 innings and collected 6 strikeouts for the Dons
Michael Castelli pitched 4 innings for the Dons aiding to the Don victory

Defense was stellar with no errors committed by the Dons.  On offense it was a team effort as all of the Dons scored a run or had an RBI, but seniors Brady Hutchingson and Davis Diaz led the way with 2 hits each including 3 doubles, 2 by Diaz. Most of the damage was done in the 5th inning as Acalanes exploded for 7 runs, with Hutchingson, Cusumano, Burleigh, Bergman, and Diaz all collecting RBIs as the Dons batted around bringing 11 batters to the plate.  The decisive blow was Diaz’s long bases loaded double which might have been gone but for the ever present breeze blowing in at Acalanes. 

Kyle White taking care of second base for the Dons

Next up for the Dons, are home and away games against Miramonte on Tuesday and Thursday.  And on Saturday the Dons have a tough test as they travel to Lathrop CA to take on the Spartans of De La Salle (#1 in NCS, #41 in California)

Dons Track and Field: Bob Warren-Charlie Eaton Relays Recap

Dons Track and Field:  Bob Warren-Charlie Eaton Relays Recap

On Saturday, our boy’s and girl’s track teams concluded their seasons by hosting the 51st edition of the Bob Warren-Charlie Eaton relays. Over 300 athletes from 13 different schools competed. This event was a huge moment for our student athletes, as it takes the place of what would traditionally be a league championship, and our kids put down some amazing results.

The story of the meet was our Boys Distance Medley Relay (Dominic Basaldua – 12, Tyler Hunt – 10, Sam Roth – 12, and Bennett Dodge – 10, pictured above) which shattered a 40 year old school record. For those of you who don’t know, the DMR consists of 4 runners running 3 laps, 1 lap, 2 laps, and 4 laps in order. The previous record, set in 1981, was 10:36 – our boys put down a time of 10:30.2.

Some other highlights

  • Portia Seymour and Luca Mathias win the F/S boys and girls 300 Hurdles
  • Marshall Lockwood win and Liam Hill win the Varsity and F/S boys high jump, respectively
  • Portia Seymour wins the F/S girls High Jump
  • Carly Harriman wins the F/S girls Long Jump
  • Sam Roth, Tyler Hunt, Dominic Basaldua, and Loic Windfuhr Durand win the Varsity boys 4×800
  • Lauren Yee, Megan Yee, Nicole Frigon, and Olivia Williams win the Varsity girls DMR AND 4×800
  • Bennett Dodge, Paul Kuhner, Liam Hill, and Tyler Hunt win the F/S Boys 4×400

The track season officially concludes as Sam Roth and Lauren Yee compete at Arcadia Invitational next weekend.

Go Dons!

Record Breakers!

Dons Freshman Baseball Holds On For a Victory Over the Matadors

Dons Freshman Baseball Holds On For a Victory Over the Matadors

Freshmen Dons traveled to Orinda this Saturday to meet the Miramonte Matadors in a 9-inning affair (the originally scheduled double-header was converted to an extended single game due to COVID-19 issues).  The Dons wasted no time in getting the scoring going, with Mason Zirkel bringing in two runs on a long single to the right in the 1st inning.  Mason ended up leading the team with 3 RBIs on 3 hits, while also scoring two runs.  Dons kept it going on offense through the first 6 innings, steadily building the lead to 8-0 at the bottom of the 6th.  Mason knocked in another run in the 3rd, and Henry Garbo tacked on two more.  In the 6th, Brady Morrow plated Mason on a sac fly, and then Aleksey Volobuev’s chopper up the middle was bobbled by Matadors, with Jack Giorgianni scoring on the play.  Dons pitchers were dominant early on, with Mason Zirkel and Sully Bailey each pitching 3 innings of no-hit, shutout baseball.

After cruising through the first 6 innings, Dons took the foot off the pedal, and allowed Matadors to get back in the game.  Helped in no small part by suddenly shaky Dons’ defense, the Matadors mounted a valiant comeback attempt, scoring 3 runs in the 7th, 1 in the 8th, and 3 more in the bottom of the 9th, while Dons could only scratch out a single insurance run in the 9th when Peter Thorn walked, advanced on a passed ball, and then scored on a botched pick-off attempt.  Things got interesting late: with two men on and two outs in the 9th, the Matadors brought a go-ahead run to the plate, but Jack Giorgianni struck out the last batter on 3 pitches to end the threat.  Dons 9, Matadors 7.

Dons spread the offense around, with Mason Zirkel, Kiran Foster, Sully Bailey, Everett Glass, Jack Giorgianni, Henry Garbo, and Aleksey Volobuev all collecting base hits.  The Dons also benefited from porous Matadors defense which committed 5 errors, allowing 4 Dons to reach on an error.  Dons collected 12 hits in all, scoring 9 on 6 RBIs, while stranding 12.  Aggressive base running was a key factor in the victory: Dons ended up with 6 stolen bases, and perennially had runners in scoring positions.  While Dons’ overall defense wasn’t stellar, with 3 errors committed, there were also a few highlight reel plays, like Brady Morrow snatching a hot line drive out of the air for a double play, and then Mason repeating the feat.

Kiran Foster
Mason Zirkel
Sully Bailey
Sully Bailey
Kiran Foster
Jack Giorgianni
Jack Giorgianni
Jack Giorgianni