The Wolverines got an early look at teams they hope to face in May, losing just one match en route to a championship in the silver bracket by beating Northgate in two games. In the gold bracket, De La Salle topped San Ramon Valley for the top title.
“Overall, I think we played pretty well,” senior outside hitter Jason Agopian said. “When we play teams like this, it just helps us out so much more.”
Deer Valley, which hosted the tournament along with Heritage, beat Monte Vista in its first match 25-14, 25-13. Next, the Wolverines moved on to face Chico, winning 25-16 and 25-10.
However, it was Deer Valley’s third game that was the truest test. An energized Campolindo squad surprised the Wolverines, easily winning the first game 25-16. Deer Valley claimed a 25-14 victory in the next game, but couldn’t hold off the Cougars in a surprisingly tense atmosphere. Campolindo finished off the Wolverines 15-12 to send them to the silver bracket.
Head coach Lou Panzella was impressed by how his squad bounced back from the loss to the Cougars. Deer Valley (7-2) was hoping to get a shot at the true upper-echelon teams in the area such as De La Salle and Amador Valley, but the team didn’t let the loss affect them. Instead, the Wolverines went back to work.
“I’m glad we came back up and won the silver bracket instead of pouting,” Panzella said. “I feel pretty good about where we are. We’ve got a couple more tournaments coming up in the next few weeks.”
Deer Valley toppled Mission San Jose of Fremont in the next round 25-16 and 25-14. Next, the Wolverines beat College Park 25-12 in both games.
In the final game of the silver bracket, Deer Valley defeated Northgate 25-20, 25-19. Against the Broncos, sophomore setter Derrico Kwa made 25 assists. The 6-foot-7-inch Agopian notched 11 kills while senior outside hitter Taylor Higgs contributed eight. Senior libero Brian Yi finished with 11 digs.
“I think we were a little disappointed that we ended up in the silver division, but we lost that crossover game to Campolindo, who is really good, so it wasn’t like it was a bad loss,” Panzella said. “The results of the day show how much equity there is of local teams.”
Every other Bay Valley Athletic League team competed in the tournament, though none achieved the Wolverines success. Antioch and Freedom qualified for the silver bracket, but lost in the first round to Northgate and College Park, respectively.
Liberty advanced to the second round of the bronze bracket, held at Heritage, after its competitor failed to show up. The Lions ended up losing to Washington, which beat Pittsburg in its first game. Heritage fell to Granada in the opening round of the bronze tournament.