Off to State

by staff May 5, 2018

Saratoga, CA – Four months of hard work and dedication came down to a single word for a pair of Rams beach volleyball duos yesterday at the CCCAA NorCal Pairs Regional Tournament, win. Win and earn a spot in the CCCAA Beach Volleyball Pairs Championship. Win and get to call yourself one of the best duos in the state of California. Win is exactly what both teams from Gavilan did at the double elimination tournament, where the top twelve finishers earn that fore mentioned spot in the CCCAA Beach Volleyball Pairs Championship.

Leifheit and Banda Celebrate winFirst up was the duo of Mikeila Banda and Haley Leifheit, the No.1 for the Rams all season, came into the tournament as the 3rd overall seed. They wasted no time punching their ticket with a two-set victory of the No. 5 pair from Sierra College.  The pair would finish the day 2 and 2 finishing in 4th place.

Moments after they saw their teammates qualify, the pair of Katia Dizon and Emily Jensen began their journey towards a birth in the state championship. In their first match, they took on Sierra College’s No. 1 team. In a hard-fought match three set slugfest, the Rams came up just a bit short losing the third set 15-13. So, in an elimination match where the winner goes to state and the loser goes home Dizon and Jensen took on a familiar opponent, the Sierra No. 3 team. Two weeks ago, they faced each other in a regular season team dual, where Sierra easily won in two sets. Then just two days earlier, they crossed paths again as part of the NorCal Team Regionals Playoffs. The Rams were victorious in three sets then. So now came the rubber match where early on it appeared the Gavilan duo where going to cruise to a victory easily wining the first set. The second set was much more competitive as they had to fight off a set point to even the score at 21. Then after two straight points by the Rams, came the win and a ticket to the championships. They would Dizon and Jensen Celebratego on to a 9th place finishing with a 2-2 record on the day.

The Rams will now spend the early part of next week preparing for the championship which will take place Friday and Saturday at West Valley College. Friday both teams will be in a separate three team pool, one of eight pools to be played. The top two pairs from each pool will then play in a single elimination bracket on Saturday. This is the first year the CCCAA has adopted this playing format, previous tournaments were single elimination format.

This is the fourth year of beach volleyball as a sport in the CCCAA. In the previous three seasons, Gavilan has had five different pairs qualify for the Pairs Championship. In 2014 Jessica Stofer and Raelynn Heredia were the first to make it. Then in 2015 Stofer with Val Rodgers and Heredia with Alexia Balistreri participated in the tournament. Last year it was Rodgers with Madison Hartman as well as with Courtney Borja and Claire Gerard that made it.