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Guessing game: Golden Valley mixes up attack in sweep of Lincoln

Celeste Castillo can attack a team in a variety of ways.

The Golden Valley junior can tip, dink or slam shots over, around and through opposing blocks.

Castillo displayed her ability to use both power and finesse Tuesday night.

The middle blocker racked up 13 kills as Golden Valley dispatched Stockton Lincoln 26-24, 25-20, 32-30 Thursday night in the second round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I volleyball playoffs at Cougar Arena.

No. 3 seed Golden Valley (17-2) moves on to Tuesday's semifinal match against No. 2 Napa.

Castillo kept Lincoln (20-8) guessing all night.

"I had some big girls on me," Castillo said. "They blocked me a couple times.

"I look to go down the line, or use an angle or hard angle. Sometimes I'll tip.

"I have to keep them on their toes. You can't keep hitting it the same way or they'll expect it."

Golden Valley's versatility on offense helped negate Lincoln's size advantage at the net.

Setter Ali Hague distributed the ball all over the court as Katelyn Bennett, Kaitlin Davidson, Reina Sykes, Krista Copus and Gina Bandoni all contributed offensively.

"Celeste has probably been our most consistent player all year," said GV coach Matt Thissen, whose team won its 10th straight match.

"We do have a lot of different looks to give a team."

Thissen would feel a lot better if he could get his team off to quicker starts.

For the second time in as many matches, Thissen watched his team fall behind early in the first game.

Lincoln fired out to a 21-13 lead before GV woke up.

Thissen's girls then stormed back to tie the match at 23-23 and scored the final three points of the game to take a 1-0 lead.

"This team has played up and down all year," Lincoln coach Todd Goodwin said. "We out-played them hands down and then we started coasting like we have been.

"It came back to bite us."

Lincoln finally regrouped in a third game that turned into a marathon.

Golden Valley finally put Lincoln away to punch its ticket into the semifinals for the fourth time in school history.

GV is now just one win away from a trip to UC Davis and a shot at the section title.

"We were fighting so much because we want it so bad," Castillo said. "I'm so excited about Tuesday. I don't want this to end.

"I want to go to Davis."



26-24, 25-20, 32-30

At Golden Valley

GOLDEN VALLEY -- Kills: Celeste Castillo 12, Katelyn Bennett 8; Blocks: Bennett 3, Kaitlin Davidson 3; Assists: Ali Hague 25; Digs: Reina Sykes 15, Hague 14; Aces: Krista Copus 3.

Records: Lincoln 20-8; Golden Valley 17-2.