Brentwood’s Heritage High School boys volleyball team gave host Amador Valley High School a good test in the North Coast Section (NCS) semifinals Tuesday night.

But the second-seed Dons had the answers in a 25-23, 25-27, 25-15, 25-19 victory to advance to the NCS championship against top-seed Monte Vista.

“Their team was really talented, with some good height and blocking,” said Heritage head coach Janet Hannigan.

The Patriots’ loss ends an otherwise magical 29-4 season, reaching the NCS semifinals for the first time in program history, racking up a team-high number of wins, winning their first two tournaments (the NorCal Tournament and East County Invitational) in school history and winning the Bay Valley Athletic League title for the second straight season.

But in a round-robin postseason tournament featuring elite competition, the margin for error is slim.

After the squads split the opening two sets — which included a dazzling Heritage comeback to steal the second — Amador Valley (26-7, 15-3 in the East Bay Athletic League) slowly wore down the Patriots, closing the third set on a 12-5 run after the teams were knotted at 13. Amador Valley never surrendered their fourth-set lead after a four-all tie.

Heritage did, however, manage to squeak out a set win and kept the match close all night.

In the sets the Dons won, they led by no more than four in the first set, six in the third and seven in the fourth. And in the second set, where Heritage emerged 27-25, the Patriots took care of business, albeit waiting until it was almost too late. Amador Valley, already up a set, jumped out to a 19-10 lead, but Heritage roared back, closing on a 17-6 run to steal a 27-25 victory and even up the match at one.

The Patriots led 11-10 in the ensuing third set, but Amador Valley never relinquished the lead after going up 13-12 — although the Dons’ advantage didn’t rise above three until late in the set, when they opened a 20-16 advantage.

“We were on cloud nine,” said Heritage senior James Townsend of their thrilling, second-set, come-from-behind victory, adding that in the ensuing set, the team was ready, “but I think we came in a little too high. I think that got us a little too amped up.”

Amador Valley opened the deciding fourth set on a 13-7 run and maintained a five- to seven-point advantage the rest of the way en route to victory.

Despite the loss, Heritage was showered with praise for its wonderful season, beginning first with a host of fans giving the squad a loud round of applause.

“I don’t have much to hang my head about,” said Townsend, reflecting on the team’s achievements after the loss.

Hannigan expressed similar sentiments. She noted that the squad’s personalities and fighting spirit made it fun to coach all season long.

“That has been really special,” she said. “It makes it fun to go to practice every day. I hope the future generations at Heritage learn boys volleyball is something special.”