As the players bounced in unison, Rowland spoke loudly. "Ladies, start your engines."
Those were clearly the magic words, as the charged Wolverines (16-6 overall, 8-0 BVAL) went on to beat the defending league champion Lady Lions 25-17, 25-19, 25-16 on the road. The victory landed DV in sole possession of first place in the Bay Valley Athletic League after sharing the title with rival Liberty for the past two weeks.
"We really wanted this match. This feels so good," Rowland said. "We worked hard in practice to get here. We just tried to stop their middles tonight and I think we did a good job. I'm proud of this team."
Rowland featured prominently in all three games, making a game-high 20 kills and two aces. Even against blockers like 6-foot-2 Leanna Richey and 6-foot-3 Corinne Costa, Rowland hammered away at the ball all night, finding all the right spots on the court.
"When Kendra's on, she's really tough to stop," said Wolverine coach Lou Panzella. "Our strategy was to control the ball, try to keep our errors down to a minimum, play great defense and get the ball to Kendra."
But without teammates like senior libero Laura Riley (17 digs) and sophomore setter Iris Tolenada (38 assists, five kills) to set up the kill, that wouldn't be possible.
Achari Mainor, Shauna White, Monica Mosley, Elyse Rowland, Therese Gascon-Minton, Lindsay Siegel and Kristen Kemp, who round out an interchangeable Deer Valley roster, can also take credit for the team's success.
"There are 10 girls on this roster and all 10 girls made plays tonight," Panzella said. "Everybody had something to do with getting us here."
The victory over Liberty came two weeks after Deer Valley beat Carondelet (6-2 BVAL). Panzella can't be happier about his team's current position but knows that his Wolverines aren't out of the woods yet.
"This is only one game. We're halfway through the season," he said. "We didn't win a league championship tonight. What we won was a big match and there's a lot more of those left in the season."
Deer Valley hosts Ygnacio Valley (1-5 BVAL) on Tuesday in Antioch.