By Ray Hamill — Visiting No. 3 seed Acalanes overwhelmed No. 14 Eureka in straight sets to open the North Coast Section Division-III volleyball playoffs on Tuesday night.
The Dons won 25-19, 25-8, 25-16, knocking the home team out of the postseason at the first hurdle after a memorable regular season.
“It was a good season,” Eureka head coach Rachel Evans said. “They should be proud.”
The Loggers won the Big 5 title, ending a long run of dominance by Del Norte and Arcata, and closed out with an impressive 18-8 record, their best winning percentage in a couple of decades.
On Tuesday, however, they were no match for the powerful visitors, who appeared more battled hardened for the postseason after playing in a very tough Diablo-Foothill League.
Eureka plays most of its games against Division-IV opponents in the Big 5.
“They play all season with Division-III and better, and I think that makes a huge difference in preparing you for the postseason,” Evans said.
It certainly appeared that way on Tuesday, with the visitors gradually pulling away in each of the first two sets to take a commanding lead.
The home team, led again by seniors Paige Lyons, Makaila Napoleon and Peyton Suchanek, made a battle of it in the third set, matching the visitors early in points and intensity.
But once again, the power-hitting visitors were able to pull away, ending the game before the home team was able to grab any momentum.
“I didn’t see anyone give up on themselves,” Evans said afterwards. “I didn’t see any negative body language. They continued to push through and fight.”
The coach said she will be looking into adding more Division-III opponents next season to better prepare her squad for the playoffs.