By PETER FOURNIER
FOR THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
VALLEJO — Four bench players, one senior and a chance to play for a spot in the North Coast Section Division 4 girls volleyball championship. Most people wouldn’t have figured 10-player Healdsburg would be the team to play top-seeded St. Patrick/St. Vincent in the section semifinals Wednesday, but the Greyhounds arrived via an upset of Moreau Catholic on Saturday.
Healdsburg’s young team will have to wait for another shot next year, as the No. 5 Greyhounds fell to the No. 1 Bruins 25-18, 25-17, 25-22 on Wednesday night.
Healdsburg captain Emma Tynan said the ride through the playoffs, which featured a 3-0 victory over Kelseyville and a thrilling upset of No. 4 Moreau Catholic in three games, has been crazy.
“No one expected us to really go this far,” Tynan said. “We really worked hard. We came together as a team and we fought. We’re a scrappy team. We try and hustle. We try and just do our best. We’re not as big as other teams. We don’t have as much depth, so we just try and play our game.”
Coach John Kamra said that although the season came to a close Wednesday, the team definitely exceeded expectations.
“We had a young team,” he said. “I’m not quite sure what we’re going to do. We worked hard all year. All these girls put in a lot of extra time in the offseason, playing club, hitting the weight room.
“They worked hard and they definitely showed it tonight in getting this far.”
Healdsburg fell behind early in the first game, 12-7, before fighting back and making it a one-point game at 13-12. The Bruins called time out, then took control of the first game, outscoring the Greyhounds 12-6 to win it.
It didn’t take long for Healdsburg to rebound from the first-game loss, as it jumped ahead to a 5-1 lead in the second game before St. Patrick/St. Vincent called time. The Bruins then went on their own 5-1 run to tie the match.
Healdsburg would not regain the lead in the second game. After the Greyhounds tied it at 17, the Bruins went on an 8-0 run to take the game.
Despite being down two games, Healdsburg jumped ahead after exchanging the lead with the Bruins for a few points, grabbing a five-point advantage at 15-10. St. Patrick/St. Vincent, however, charged off a 5-1 run to tie the match at 16. The Greyhounds were able to hold or retake the lead on the next 10 points, even taking a 21-18 lead. The Bruins, however, would end Healdsburg’s postseason with a 7-1 run to end the match.
Kamra said though the team is losing senior outside hitter Christie Smith, there are a lot of high hopes and expectations for next year.
“We lose one senior,” he said. “Even though we lose one player, it’s going to be hard to replace her, but we have everybody else coming back and we should be setting this point as our bar for next year and hopefully exceeding it.”