NCS volleyball: Analy peaks at right time to advance

By HOWARD SENZELL
FOR THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Analy, champions of the Sonoma County League seven years in a row, didn’t play its best volleyball Saturday night in Albany but still managed to advance to the NCS Div. III semifinals.

Coach Nancy Williams warned her team afterward that a similar effort Wednesday when they travel to No. 1 Campolindo for the semifinals and their season will be over.

Analy, the fifth seed, visited No. 4 Albany and escaped with a five-set victory. The scores were 25-16, 23-25, 25-21, 23-25 and 15-9.

“We played Campolindo in September and they are a very good team,” Williams said. “They beat us in four sets at the Archbishop Mitty Invitational (Sept. 17). We’ve improved a lot since then, but anything less than a top effort probably won‘t be good enough.”

Against Albany, champs of the Bay Shore Athletic League, Analy (24-10) didn’t need its best effort to advance.

“Albany had three big jumpers, but didn’t play much team defense,” Williams said. “We came out kind of flat and a little nervous, but made the adjustments to win. We managed to hit around their blockers and our attackers got a lot of points.”

Claire Sullivan was outstanding while notching 25 kills and making only three errors. Briana Adviento had 19 kills and Marla Petrucci 52 assists.

Albany, a perfect 18-0 in league, had a front line of 6-foot 2, 6-foot 1 and 6-0.

After Albany forced a fifth set, Williams urged her team to take the lead early in the deciding game. For one of the few times this season in big matches, the Tigers did just that.

“All year, we’ve started out slow in games and then rallied,” Williams said. “Playing at Albany and with a 15-point game deciding which team advances, I knew we had to take them out early. It was a phenomenon, we made them try to come-from-behind. Our attackers played smart all night, especially in the last set.”

While Analy was going to the limit, Campolindo ousted No. 8 Terra Linda in straight sets. Both Analy and Campolindo received first-round byes.

The bottom half of the draw finds No. 2 Sir Francis Drake entertaining No. 6 Moreau Catholic.

Besides seven consecutive SCL titles this decade, Analy also has an NCS Div. III title (2006).

Two other teams from the Redwood Empire advanced to Wednesday’s semifinals in their brackets. Maria Carrillo, No. 5 in Div. II, travels to top-seed Bishop O’Dowd and in Div. VI , No. 1 Anderson Valley entertains No. 5 Southern Trinity.

Carrillo, co-champions of the North Bay League with Rancho Cotate, knocked out the Cougars in a four-set quarterfinal.

Anderson Valley (22-8), winner of North Central League II-North title, dispatched Rio Lindo Adventist in its three-set quarterfinal.