NCS volleyball: Analy, Carrillo have tall orders

Maria Carrillo's Caylie Seitz, right, and Taylor Brownlee helped the Pumas oust Rancho Cotate. Photo by Crista Jeremiason / The Press Democrat

By HOWARD SENZELL
FOR THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Analy and Maria Carrillo, volleyball champs of the Sonoma County and North Bay leagues, will journey south tonight to play a pair of No.1 seeds in the semifinal round of the North Coast Section tournament.
The Empire teams will play in gyms 18 miles apart. Carrillo goes to Oakland to play Bishop O’Dowd in a Division II matchup, while Analy has a Division III matchup in Moraga, where Campolindo awaits.

Bishop O’Dowd has moved up to Division II after winning the Division III title the past three years. In 2010, the Dragons were 12-0 in the Hayward Area Athletic League. Overall, their record is 24-14.
Carrillo, co-champs of the NBL with Rancho Cotate, captured the Division II title in 2005, ’07 and ’08. The Pumas will be looking for win No.30 in Oakland. They’ve lost nine.

“We haven’t played O’Dowd this year, but being the No.1 seed tells you they’re a good team,” Carrillo coach Jeff Nielsen said. “They have a 6-foot-2 player named Lindsey Parrott that’s going to be a Division I college player and she’s not the only 6-footer they have.”
O’Dowd has three 6-foot players, so every shot coming over the net by Carrillo will be challenged.
Carrillo, although not as tall as O’Dowd, has a high-flying front-line. In ousting Rancho Cotate in the quarterfinals last Saturday, 5-9 Caylie Seitz had 21 kills and 5-11 Taylor Brownlee chipped in with 11.

“With only two days to prepare, I wouldn’t want to change anything with how we play,” Nielsen said. “We just need to stay focused.
“I told the girls O’Dowd has a small gym with a balcony hanging over one side. I want the girls to know what to expect and to come out with enthusiasm. We want to take the home-court momentum away from them.”

That is exactly what Carrillo did when they visited Rancho Cotate last Saturday. The Pumas won the first two sets and eliminated the Cougars in four.
Analy will be going up against a Campolindo team that went 12-0 in the Diablo Foothill Athletic League. The Cougars are 28-4 overall.
Interestingly, Campolindo has played Bishop O’Dowd three times. Campolindo won the last two after losing 3-1 at Moraga.

Analy, the No.5 seed, received a bye in the first round of NCS. The Tigers then went to No.4 Albany and took a five-setter.
Analy has played Campolindo once this year, losing in four sets in the Archbishop Mitty Invitational on Sept.17.

“We’ve improved a lot since then,” coach Nancy Williams said while pointing out that anything less than a top effort probably won’t be good enough to turn the tables.
“We’re ready. All my girls have had big-game experience.”

Analy has dominated the SCL for seven consecutive years and also won the NCS Division III title in 2006.
One other Empire team has made it to the semifinals. Anderson Valley, the No.1 seed in Division VI, hosts No.5 Southern Trinity.
All games tonight begin at 7.