By HOWARD SENZELL
FOR THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Relying on its defense, Anderson Valley forced visiting South Fork into turnover after turnover while winning its North Coast Section Div. 6 semifinal volleyball match Wednesday night.
The Panthers were never threatened while prevailing 25-12, 25-8 and 25-13.
Anderson Valley will now go for its third consecutive NCS championship when Rincon Valley Christian comes to Boonville on Saturday night for a rematch of last year’s title game, won by the Panthers.
Coach Mike McDonald said the final point of the match was the type of play he stresses.
“There were 15 overs in that last point,” he said. “Our players just kept sending the ball back and finally South Fork made the error. That’s how we want to play.”
Karina Perez and Juana Manriquez dug out a majority of balls for Anderson Valley. As for offense, Mirla Gaxiola led the way with eight kills, one more than Alex Farber.
“We did a good job of distributing the ball on offense,” McDonald said. “Everyone got involved.
“The defense neutralized South Fork’s offensive weapons and we were content to play long rallies and wait for them to make a mistake. That was the story of the game.”
McDonald, in his 29th year leading the program, calls this group one of his best.
“When we started the season, we had to go through a growing process,” he said. “Now, we’re a mature team.
“Every Anderson Valley team prides itself on playing defense and just getting the ball back. This team ranks right up there.”
Anderson Valley, champs of the North Central League III, will take a 27-6 record into the finals. South Fork concluded its season with a 16-6 mark.