Three H-DNL teams opened the 2023 North Coast Section playoffs on Wednesday night, with a victory for Del Norte and losses for both Arcata and Ferndale.
The Warriors, who are seeded No. 7 in the Division-4 bracket, defeated No. 10 Fort Bragg in straight sets in Crescent City, winning 25-22, 25-15, 25-17.
In the same bracket, No. 9 Arcata fell at No. 8 Kelseyville in one of the closest matches of the night in the NCS.
The Arcata girls dropped the opening two sets before battling back to win two straight sets and force a fifth and decisive set.
They eventually fell 30-28, 25-23, 26-28, 24-26, 15-7.
In Division 6, No. 8 Ferndale lost in three sets to No. 9 Anderson Valley, 25-19, 25-16, 25-16.
Anderson Valley will play on Saturday at No. 1 seed St. Bernard’s, which had a bye in the opening round.
Several players stepped up for Del Norte in Wednesday’s win, including seniors McKenna Curtis and Lili Nunez.
Curtis finished with 14 kills and five digs, while Nunez dished out 42 assists.
Lauren Stutes also had a good game and finished with 12 kills and three blocks, while Breann Winingham had 11 kills and a block, Bliss Blackburn added five kills and Reece White and Khloe Smith each had five digs.
Ava O’Reilley had a good night serving for the Warriors and finished with six aces and five digs, while Carlee Harper had three aces and Tsinte Steinruck added two aces and a block.
Next up for the Del Norte girls is a quarterfinal at No. 2 Justin-Siena on Saturday night.
The Braves comfortably beat Pinole Valley in straight sets in their playoff opener on Wednesday.
Teammate Nora Talty also impressed and finished with 46 assists, while Melanie Luh had nine kills and four blocks, and Nora Brumbaugh and Quincy Collins each had 10 kills.
“We had too many hitting errors, but the girls fought hard the whole night and really pulled together as a team,” head coach Laurie Griffith said. “This team had no quit in them this year and they were a joy to coach.”
A win for St. Bernard’s or Del Norte on Saturday will not just advance them to the section semifinals but would also guarantee them a berth in the upcoming NorCal tournament.