No matter what happened Tuesday, the Los Altos High girls volleyball team would have a hard time deeming this season anything but a smashing success.
The Eagles were slated to play at Mitty Tuesday (after the Town Crier’s deadline) for the Northern California Division II championship and a berth in this weekend’s state final. This is Los Altos’ first trip to the NorCal final.
“We are so excited that we have made it this far,” senior Meghan McDermott said after the third-seeded Eagles edged No. 2 Redwood (Larkspur) in Saturday’s NorCal semifinal. “I am still in shock, because I never could have dreamed we would be having such an incredibly successful season.”
Los Altos improved to 34-6 with Saturday’s road win, which went five games. The Eagles prevailed 25-22, 25-23, 21-25, 18-25, 15-11.
“The key to winning that game for us was to play loose,” said McDermott, who recorded six kills, two aces and 12 digs. “As a team, we play much better when we are relaxed. We pass well, we get kills and overall we play much better as a team.”
Los Altos did just that in the first two sets, but the Giants (42-5) swung the momentum in their favor in the middle games.
“In the third and fourth sets, Redwood fought back and started getting some really nice kills on us. In response, we tensed up and played much tighter,” McDermott said. “Fortunately, we came back together as a team in that fifth set to win the match.”
Fellow outside hitter Carmen Annevelink paced the Eagles with 19 kills Saturday. The junior added four aces, 23 digs and two solo blocks.
Senior setter Hanna Koehler contributed 10 kills and 23 assists. Senior right-side hitter Michelle Albright also notched 10 kills.
The Eagles would likely need another team effort to challenge top-seeded Mitty (39-4), the defending state champ and No. 1 ranked squad in the nation.
Los Altos took the Monarchs to five games in the Nov. 23 Central Coast Section final, twice serving for match point before losing the fifth game 16-18.
“They are an amazingly talented team,” McDermott said of Mitty, “and I know both teams are going to come out fighting for that NorCal Championship title.”
The winner is scheduled to take on the Southern California champ 5:30 p.m. Saturday at Santiago Canyon College in Orange.
Mustangs fall in semis
Homestead – the third seed in the NorCal Division I playoffs – saw its season come to a close in Saturday’s semifinals.
The Mustangs, who feature four Los Altos residents, lost in four games to No. 2 St. Francis of Sacramento. The host Troubadours triumphed 25-13, 20-25, 25-19, 29-27.
Homestead, the CCS Division I champs, finished the season with a 27-8 record.