Dos Palos High School’s volleyball team is off to an 8-1 start after Wednesday’s 25-10, 25-18, 25-21 sweep of Pacheco High in Dos Palos.
After an easy Broncos win in Game 1, Pacheco put up more of a fight in the second game, trailing 18-15 before a four-point Dos Palos run put the game out of reach.
“The first game, I don’t really know why the score was as distant as it was, I felt like we were neck-and-neck on most of the rallies, and I felt like we were in the game,” Pacheco coach Cory Henwood said. “The defense really picked it up (after that) — big digs, and our serve started to get a little focus. Their weak serve receive was exploited by our servers, and that’s where we got a lot of our points. They got a lot of their points on big hits, we got a lot of ours on serve.”
When the Panthers closed the gap to a single point twice in the third game (17-16 on an Isabel Quintero ace and 22-21 on a Dos Palos error), the Broncos didn’t panic.
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“We just have to keep our intensity up, and make sure we pursue, so we don’t get down on ourselves and we can push through and get ahead again,” said DP outside hitter Madison Pierce. “We definitely didn’t want it to go to a fourth game. We pushed hard, and our focus was to not let it go to a fourth game.”
A tip by Theresa Frey, a Pierce kill and a Kacey Jones ace finished the match for Dos Palos. Pierce finished with 13 kills, and fellow hitter Alli O’Banion racked up 12, along with 10 assists. Hannah Vincent led with 14 assists, and Jones led the team with three blocks.
“We were working a lot of subs in, so we were just having fun and trying to keep the intensity up,” Dos Palos coach Mary Schofield said. “They’re positive and hard-working, and they’re working on their mental toughness. Physically, they’re strong, they’re just working on their mental toughness. I think they showed some of that tonight.”
The Broncos’ only loss came last week at the hands of Los Banos High, but they did beat division rival Chowchilla on Tuesday. For Pacheco, the Broncos offered a look at what league foe Los Banos, a similar team, will look like. The Panthers were outgunned, down to their third-string setter due to a concussion to starter Dorothy Quintero and an ankle injury to backup Brianna Chappelear. Outside hitter Nicole Terry was also out with an ankle injury.
“The setter (Mykayla Latronica) actually did really well for never setting in our games,” Henwood said. “So it’s some things we’ve got to tweak out, but to be that close to a big team like that, shorthanded and thin like we are? I was happy.”
Jen Eagleton led the Panthers with 10 kills, and also led in digs.