NorCal playoff seeding Saturday
SAN JOSE — For the first time in program history, the Gavilan College women’s volleyball team achieved a Coast Conference championship after a methodical three-game sweep of West Valley (25-17, 25-15, 25-19) in San Jose on Wednesday night.
“That was probably one of the better matches we have played in about a month,” coach Kevin Kramer said. “Everybody played selfless and we had some players show up that hadn’t shown up in a while.
“It’s kind of nice getting it tonight because the last two years it has come down to us having to beat West Valley to get into the playoffs, and they beat us both years.”
The Rams (17-6, 9-1), who share the conference championship with Cabrillo after the two teams split the season series, now wait and see where they will be seeded in the NorCal community college playoffs. The brackets are scheduled to be released Saturday.
“It feels excellent seeing as the last time I left this gym I was in tears because (West Valley) took our playoff spot,” sophomore middle Cheyenne Hambey said.
On their way to the championship, the Rams dominated league play, dropping just four sets out of 31 played. They also set a school record with a nine-match winning streak earlier in the year.
“We are happy to be in,” Kramer said. “We are just as good on the road as we are at home so we will have to wait and see where we end up.”
Gavilan only trailed at one juncture during Wednesday’s match, a brief disadvantage at 8-4 in the third set. But, after a timeout, the Rams directed a 13-3 scoring run that buried the Vikings.
“We had a pretty good game plan coming in,” Kramer said. “We knew if we ran our offense we would be OK.”
The Rams bolted out of the shutes in Game 1, taking leads of at least five points on four different occasions and never lost control of their rhythm.
“Tonight was a really good night,” Hambey said. “It was really cohessive.”
Game 2 saw much of the same percise execution by the Rams. Hambey, along with Arica Hernandez and Jessica Rux, a product of Gilroy High, had their best set of the match, each showcasing powerful spikes for some timely kills.
“I just kind of cleared my head and wasn’t worried about things so much,” Hernandez said. “I tend to overthink things a lot so I just stayed loose.”
Behind kills from Katie Armstrong, a freshman out of Live Oak, and Shaina Rosene, the Vikings kept within striking distance in the second set, trailing 12-9 midway through. The Rams utilized an 8-0 run to comfortably pull away.
“So far we have met two goals and we have one more,” Hambey said.
Sophomore Bri Romero led the Rams with 11 kills. Hernandez ripped down eight kills and Hambey followed with seven. Susie Schaefer put up a team-high 30 assists and Tessa Fischer stood tall with two blocks.