The Gavilan volleyball team’s magical season came to a sudden end Saturday, when the No. 8 seeded Rams were eliminated by No. 1 seed Fresno City 3-0 in the second round of the NorCal Regionals.
The victory extended Fresno’s winning streak to 21 matches, as Gavilan could never win a game against the Central Valley Conference championships.
The Rams, who won the Coast South Conference with a 19-9 record, never found a rhythm against Fresno City.
Fresno jumped on the Rams from the outset, winning the first game 25-16. In the game, Gavilan held a slight advantage through most of the first game until a late run by Fresno City.
“We had a our chances against them,” Gavilan head coach Kevin Kramer said. “We were up 12-6.”
Over the finals two games, though, Gavilan remained close but could never get the game-winning point, losing by identical 25-23 scores.
“They gave us opportunities but we just couldn’t take advantage of them,” Kramer said. “They just got on a roll. It seemed like every time the ball hit the net it just rolled over. There was just some things we couldn’t control.”
He continued: “We battled and battled. We just didn’t have the same feel that we had in the first round.”
The defense played well, but the Rams didn’t get the same offensive output they are used to, Kramer said. Outside hitter Eva Latu finished with a team-high 10 kills and 13 digs. The next highest total came from Tazi Apple, who finished with six kills and two blocks. Sabina Gerard finished with 24 assists in the loss. Andreinna Castaneda contributed six blocks and three kills.
“That’s what put a bad taste in our mouth,” Kramer said. “We just didn’t have the same offensive production we are used to.”
With such a young team – 10 players were freshman – Kramer expects his team to be even better next year.
“That’s what I told the team,” he said. “I said ‘expect to play this game next year at home in front of our crowd.’ They will remember this nine months from now. They got the experience of being out there and the bitter taste, which is what you want if you don’t win the championship.”
The Rams’ goal next year will be to clinch a spot among the top four teams in the Regionals, he said.
“We have a good future,” he said. “There are a lot of seniors out there that we need to get here.”
With Saturday’s win, Fresno City advanced to the semifinals where it will face No. 5 seeded Sierra on Tuesday.