Redwood’s valorous effort not enough in demoralizing defeat against Branson

Max Josef

In its most competitive rivalry, the girl’s varsity volleyball team was anything but giant in its loss to Branson on Tuesday night.

Despite powerful kills from freshman middle Olivia Cooper and senior McKenzie Cooke, Redwood was unable to match Branson’s unstoppable outside attack from senior Ashley Delgado.

After a quick start from Redwood, Branson regained their composure and never looked back on their way to a dominant performance.

Delgado was able to hit it down the line with ease the entire match.  According to senior captain Claire Jackson, the Giants will work on stopping that kind of attack during practice in the future.

The girls' varsity volleyball starters celebrate winning a point in their game on Sept. 13
The girls’ varsity volleyball starters celebrate winning a point in their game on Sept. 13

The momentum shifted midway through the second set when junior Desi D’Ancona hit the ball over the net. Her identical twin, junior Nique D’Ancona, was playing back row and therefore could not hit the ball over the net from behind the ten-foot line, but the referee thought that Nique D’Ancona hit the ball while it was really her sister, costing Redwood a point.  

The second set started with the Giants earning the first four points of the set before a service error by Jackson gave the Bulls a second wind as they went on a 10-4 run. The Giants regained their composure after a timeout, and fought their way back into the game to tie the score up. Branson pulled away late and won the set 29-27.

The third set was a battle for early momentum as both teams fought for the lead until a big kill by Cooper, put Redwood up two points. Branson quickly answered with two points of their own, but Redwood was able to pull out the 27-25 set win.

Branson jumped to a commanding 10-3 lead during the final set. The Bulls began making hitting errors, which let the Giants battle back into the game; however, the Bulls were able to regain the lead after a timeout and pull out the set 25-17 and, in turn, win the match. 

Although the scores in the first and final games were not close, the match as a whole was intense the entire time.

Bulls assistant coach Jorge Penate was expecting a tough match because of how the Giants’ play and how the crowd can impact the game.

Freshman setter, Lucy Walsh, sets the ball to a teammate during warm-ups for the girls' varsity volleyball teams' game on Sept 13.
Freshman setter, Lucy Walsh, sets the ball to a teammate during warm-ups for the girls’ varsity volleyball teams’ game on Sept 13.

“Every game is a little different. We were expecting a gritty team and a large, boisterous crowd. We got a little of each,” Penate said.

Penate said that the key to his team’s win was slowing down the Giants’ outside hitters.

“We know that Redwood is really good team. Not only are they well-coached but they have a bunch of athletes,” Penate said. “Cooke and [Jackson] are two of the best athletes in our league. We were hoping to slow them down in order for us to be able to compete.”

Pease told the team before the game that they needed to be ready to make adjustments.

“We needed to take care of the out-of-system plays and make the easy plays,” Pease said. “I want the girls to prepare for each match the same way whether it is a good team or a team that hasn’t won a match.”

According to Pease, this team is younger than it has been in the past, meaning there is more room to grow.

Pease pointed out an example of a young player that she was impressed with.

“We talked about how much the younger kids are being asked to do. We had [Cooper] hit .600 in the middle,” Pease said.

Pease stressed the point that one game does not define their season.

Pease and the rest of the Giants’ varsity volleyball team will look to rebound in their game at Marin Catholic this coming Thursday.