NCS volleyball: St. Helena, AV advance; Tigers, Pumas fall

Analy lost a five-set thriller to Campolindo in an NCS volleyball semifinal Wednesday night. Photo by Crista Jeremaison / The Press Democrat

By HOWARD SENZELL
FOR THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Maria Carrillo and Analy lost to top-seeded rivals in North Coast Section semifinal volleyball action Wednesday night, while Redwood Empire small schools St. Helena and Anderson Valley won and advanced to the finals

Analy lost a 15-13, fifth-set heartbreaker to host Campolindo in Division III, and Maria Carrillo played close sets with Bishop O’Dowd in Oakland but lost the Division II match in straight sets.

No. 7 St. Helena continued its assault on higher-seeded teams in the Division IV bracket as the Saints took out No. 3 Salesian in four sets.

In Division VI, top-seed Anderson Valley advanced with a four-set triumph over No. 5 Southern Trinity.

Analy, champs of the Sonoma County League, gave Campolindo all it could handle. The Tigers won the first set, 25-20, and the fourth, 26-24. The top seed took the second and third sets by identical scores of 25-16m setting the stage for the 15-point tiebreaker.
Analy took a two-point lead in the fifth before Campolindo edged ahead, 12-10.

“We tied it up 12-12,” coach Nancy Williams said. “The last couple of points were well played and the match could’ve gone either way.

“As you’d expect, the girls are feeling pretty bad. However, they know they played well and gave the top seed all they could handle.”
Claire Sullivan had 20 kills and three blocks for Analy. Maria Petrucci had 47 assists.

“I need to mention the job Briana Adviento did,” Williams said. “The match would’ve ended in four sets without her. We were down 20-14 in that set, but Claire played exceptional defense and kept points alive until we were able to get a winning shot. She got the kill on the shot won the set for us.”

Campolindo, winner of the Diablo Foothill Athletic League, now has a 29-3 record.
Analy’s season ends 24-10. The Cougars will play No. 2 Sir Francis Drake (34-5) for the title.

“Campolindo’s a good team and they’re so much deeper than we are,” Williams said.
“They’re beatable, but you can’t make many errors and expect to win.
“Our seniors stepped up and played great. It’s just tough to take, having your season end in a match that was so close.”

In Oakland, eighteen miles away from the Moraga gym, Maria Carrillo lost 25-22, 25-20 and 25-22. Bishop O’Dowd, champion of the Hayward Area Athletic League, improved its record to 26-13 and will face No. 2 Redwood (33-6) Saturday night for the championship.

“We played fantastic,” Carrillo coach Jeff Nielsen said. “We just came up a little short. We had our opportunities but couldn’t put the ball away when we needed to.”

St. Helena, behind high-flying Maddy Densberger, has been the surprise of Division IV. The No. 7 seed took out No. 2 Berean Christian in the quarterfinals and showed that effort was no fluke as the Saints eliminated No. 3 Salesian on Wednesday. Playing at home, St. Helena prevailed 25-19, 25-21, 24-26 and 25-23.

Saturday night’s final will find St. Helena at No. 1 Marin Catholic (27-13).

Anderson Valley returns to the finals for the second straight year. Last year, the Panthers lost to Rincon Valley Christian in the finals. This year, they will host No. 2 Pacific Union Prep (23-2).
It took Anderson Valley four sets to eliminate Southern Trinity. The scores were 25-10, 29-31, 25-22 and 25-12.
Anderson Valley, North Central League II North champions, has a 23-8 record.