Sonoma shocks Analy in SCL volleyball

Sonoma Valley pulled off a huge SCL upset Thursday night, handing Analy its only league loss of the season. Photo by Crista Jeremiason / The Press Democrat

By HOWARD SENZELL
FOR THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

SEBASTOPOL — In the biggest shocker of the Sonoma County League volleyball season, Sonoma Valley came to town Thursday night and defeated conference champion Analy in five sets.
Even with the victory, Sonoma finished 5-7 in league. On the other hand, Analy winds up conference play with an 11-1 mark. It was the first time in seven years the Dragons had defeated the Tigers.

Analy had already clinched its seventh straight league title, but wanted to go into the record books as a team that went undefeated in league.
Sonoma had other ideas. The Dragons won the first two sets 25-21 and 25-19. Analy regrouped to take the third, 25-13, and the fourth, 25-10. The deciding set was close, but went to the visitors, 15-11.

It was apparent from the opening whistle that Sonoma was not going to roll over for the perennial league champs. Led by the high-flying Gabby Petersen, the Dragons jumped out to a 7-0 lead .
While the Senior Night crowd was shocked at the way the match started, Analy coach Nancy Williams wasn’t.

“This group doesn’t start matches competing well,” she said. “It’s something they need to get over. So, the girls were surprised to find themselves behind early, but I wasn’t.”
On the other side of the gym, Sonoma coach Mindy Neves and her players were celebrating like they’d won the World Series.

“We’re a young team and we’ve lost so many close matches,” Neves said. “It’s a super feeling to win one and do it against a great team like Analy.
“We only have three seniors and the girls are still learning how to play to win. This was a huge, clutch match for us. We finally took one at the end!”

Krysta Young had a monster match for Sonoma with 17 kills, most of her points were contested by Analy players above the net. Suzanne Amaral had 17 digs and Karly Burningham had 15.
Jersey Witous chipped in with some nifty ball handling while dishing out 30 assists. Petersen had three blocks and Amaral three aces.

“Burningham had a strong all-around game,” Neves said. “Amaral was tremendous serving and playing defense. Really, it was a team effort.”
Leading Analy with 11 kills each were Briana Adviento and Courtney Covey. Megan Winters had 34 digs while Adviento and Sierra Fiesel had 14 apiece. Marla Petrucci had 47 assists.

“I thought Adviento was our most effective hitter,” Williams said. “She struggled early, but when she came to life, she hit and passed great.”
Analy is scheduled to pay in the Northgate Tournament on Saturday and then it’s the SCL tournament next Tuesday and Thursday.

Overall, the Tigers are 17-9 while Sonoma is 15-14.
Sonoma led all the way in the deciding fifth set. It was 10-6, before Analy closed to 12-10. Young then hit three winners to give the Dragons the improbable win.