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NCS volleyball: Empire teams face tough opening tasks

By MICHAEL COIT
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Prep volleyball playoff play opens today with several top Empire teams facing difficult tests.

Both Montgomery and Middletown must win road matches to keep their seasons alive. The teams are nine seeds, meaning they just missed hosting in the first round of North Coast Section action.

“It’s always tough in the playoffs,” said Montgomery coach Koy Stewart. “We need to be consistent with our play. We need to be low on errors.”

Montgomery plays at Newark Memorial in Division 2. Win and the Vikings get top-seeded Redwood in the next round.

Casa Grande, the fifth seed, hosts No. 12 Concord today at 7 p.m. The winner will play the winner of the Las Lomas-Arroyo match on Saturday night.

The quarterfinals are all set on Saturday, with the semifinals slated Nov. 14. The Division 2 championship match is on tap Saturday, Nov. 17.

In Division 4, Middletown travels to Piedmont tonight. Win and the Mustangs get top-seeded St. Patrick/St. Vincent in the next round.

Also in Division 4, Cardinal Newman goes on the road to John Swett. Although the Cardinals are seeded second, Swett hosts as a league champion.

The top Empire seed in the section playoffs is two-time defending Division 6 champion Anderson Valley, again ranked first. Anderson Valley has a first-round bye.

In large school competition, Maria Carrillo is seeded third in Division 2. The Pumas already are into the second round because scheduled first-round opponent Alameda was disqualified. Maria Carrillo plays Saturday against the winner of today’s match of Windsor at Carondelet.

One match today pits a pair of Empire teams as Healdsburg hosts Kelseyville in Division 4.

The Kelseyville-Healdsburg victor advances to play Saturday in the quarterfinals against the winner of tonight’s winner between No. 4 seed Moreau Catholic and No. 13 McKinleyville.