The Wolverines (34-5) were awarded a bye in the first round, having earned the No. 2 seed in the 12-team Class I bracket and went on to dispatch Liberty in round two, 25-23, 25-13, 25-23. Despite Deer Valley's poor passing in games one and three, the team was still able to control the pace of the match. Senior right-side hitter Justin Smith scored a match-high 20 kills against the visiting Lions.
"Justin Smith carried us tonight," said Deer Valley coach Lou Panzella. "He was just too much for Liberty to handle. We're going to need to see more of our players step up in our next match, though. It only gets harder from here."
The following night, the host Wolverines sent San Ramon Valley packing in three games. Once again, Smith administered 20 kills but this time got more help from his teammates. Senior setter Erik Aku made 30 assists, three blocks, two aces and two kills, while junior outside hitter Mark Cadwallader added six kills of his own.
The win sent the Wolverines into the championship match against top-seeded Foothill (38-3).
Deer Valley came out swinging against the host Falcons, who didn't make a single mistake in game one but came up just short of a win. Game two saw a breakdown on both sides of the net for the Wolverines, as Foothill outside hitter Matt Rice had a field day at the net. Trailing 21-5, Deer Valley finally regrouped to outscore Foothill 8-5. But the deficit was simply too great to overcome. The Wolverines played their best volleyball of the night in game three but again fell just short of a win.
Deer Valley suffered the 25-17, 25-13, 25-20 loss to earn the second-place NCS banner.
Smith led the Wolverine attack with 12 kills, Aku finished with 19 assists and a block and senior middle hitter Logan Bailey added six kills, two blocks and an ace. Panzella said he felt Bailey played "his best game of the season," making big plays at key moments of the match.
"I feel we did probably the best we could do under these circumstances. Tonight we just got beat by a better team," Bailey said. "I love that we tried our hardest and never gave up. As a senior, I couldn't be happier with this team. I'm so glad to go as far as we did and have this opportunity. This is a really great group of guys and it was a blast sharing this experience with them."
After the match, Panzella prided his players on their never-give-up attitude. "I was really impressed with how we came back from 21-5 in game two. It was too big of a deficit to come back from but we made a game out of it. At that time it would have been real easy to give up but we didn't.
"Foothill's a really, really good team. I don't feel like we lost this match, I feel like we won it. It's been an awesome season and I don't want tonight's loss to ruin the feeling of accomplishment for them."