For Deer Valley, which shared the league title with Carondelet in 1999, it was the team's first outright crown. Carondelet finished second with just two losses.
Against the Wolverines, Liberty came out strong in games one and three, matching its opponent point for point. But the team made too many simple mistakes at the line of service and failed to contain Deer Valley outside hitter Kendra Rowland, who had a match-high 17 kills. The result was a 25-17, 25-20, 25-17 loss.
"Plain and simple: we can't make that many mistakes and expect to win a match with this much on the line," said Liberty coach Linda Ghilarducci. "Both teams played really well. There were a lot of incredible plays. We were prepared but it just didn't go our way."
Senior outside hitter Sam Mayberry had eight kills, seven digs and one ace against Deer Valley. Senior setter Tanya Alvino added three kills, 10 assists, eight digs and two aces. Senior libero Amanda Humphrey had 11 digs from the back row in her effort to stop the Wolverine attack.
"She was phenomenal," Ghilarducci said of her starting libero. "She was chasing down balls all night. That was one of her best games of the year."
Even after the loss, the Lady Lions seemed to have a positive attitude about the future of the season.
"After last night they really believe in themselves," Ghilarducci said. "They know what they're capable of. They know what's at stake. I just hope they can find that oomph that they need."
On Sunday, Liberty was given the ninth seed in the 12-team North Coast Section playoffs, which the Lady Lions saw as a clean slate.
"At this point, everybody's 0-0. Anything can happen," Ghilarducci said before her team's first playoff match. "Beating Deer Valley would have given us a better seed but we'll take what they give us. We have a reputation of winning big matches and I just hope we can live up to that."
The Lady Lions traveled to play No. 8 Castro Valley on Tuesday after the Discovery Bay Press went to print. For game information, read this week's Brentwood Press.