A week ago, the Dos Palos volleyball team was a program with no playoff wins in the school’s history. After Thursday’s 25-23, 25-22, 25-15 win over No. 6 McFarland in the Central Section Division 4 playoffs, the third-seeded Broncos have two, and want more.
“Now we’re really making history. We have two,” Dos Palos coach Lisa Schofield said. “(The first win) put them at ease – they knew they could do it. This team is really mentally tough. They’re just tough. They just keep bringing it. Even when they’re down, they just go, ‘All right,’ and they keep bringing it.”
McFarland did not go quietly, taking the first two sets down to the wire. The Cougars tied the first game 21-21 before Madison Pierce scored two kills down the stretch to give DP a 25-23 win, and tied the second game 22-22 before Pierce again took over, with a tip and a kill to finish the game.
Pierce finished with 26 kills, while her fellow outside hitter Alli O’Banion finished with 20, presenting a formidable duo known to DP fans as Alli O and Maddy B. O’Banion displayed court vision throughout the night, opting to forgo the spike into a tenacious McFarland defense in favor of a tip to the far corner.
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“They were tough, but our big blockers and our big hitters just toughed it out. We just brought the heat,” O’Banion said. “This girl (Pierce), she’s great. I don’t know what we’d do without her. She’s our other big star.”
The two playoff wins now have the Broncos (30-2) dreaming big, with the student cheering section chanting “We want Valley” at the end of the game. O’Banion and her coach both think it’s possible.
“We can win it all,” Schofield said. “If we play like we did tonight, we can win it all.”
Added O’Banion, “We’ve never done it before, and this team is just ready. We’re ready to go all the way.”
Meanwhile, in Grass Valley, one of two teams to beat Dos Palos this season, Los Banos, ended its season with a 25-20, 25-19, 25-17 loss to No. 3 Bear River in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division 4 playoffs. The Tigers’ win Tuesday over Ripon was their first playoff win since the team won a section championship in 1981.