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Playoff time at Salesian

on November 16, 2009

SALESIAN GIRLS VOLLEYBALL ROLLS ON: The No. 2-seeded Pride avenged a regular-season loss to Bay Shore Athletic League-rival St. Mary’s with a three game sweep at home Saturday in the North Coast Section Division IV girls volleyball playoffs.

Salesian (24-7) won 25-18, 25-23 and 25-18 to advance to the semifinals, where it will meet No. 6 St. Helena (27-5) at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Salesian. St. Helena, champions of the North Central I-North League, upset No. 3 St. Patrick-St. Vincent on Saturday, 25-21, 25-18, 27-25. Salesian beat St. Pat’s in five games to win the BSAL title last month.

“We’re starting to peak at the right time,” Salesian coach Mark Apodaca said late last week.

The Pride are a high-flying bunch, according to Apodaca. He said the team regularly practices on a net 5-6 inches higher than the regulation height of 7 feet, 4 inches in order to encourage the girls to get up as high as they can.

The extra height has paid off so far. Apodaca said his two players who have come on strong late in the season, sophomores Ashley Robertson (right side hitter) and Carina Quintero (outside hitter) are leaping higher than they were earlier this season. The pair’s ability to elevate has opponents switching up their defensive positioning. Apodaca said St. Pat’s moved its two tallest players in front in an attempt to better block Robertson.

Any defensive adjustment helps free up the Pride’s best player, senior middle blocker Malina Terrell, the MVP of the BSAL this year. Terrell is headed to the University of San Francisco on a full-ride scholarship next year.

What makes Terrell so tough? She’s an outstanding athlete, Apodaca said, and plus, she can leap out of the gym.

“She’s 5-10, but she plays like she’s 6-3,” he said. “That’s how high she gets up, and that’s how hard she hits it.”

SALESIAN FOOTBALL GARNERS NO. 3 SEED: On Friday night, Salesian beat California School for the Deaf 43-0 to complete a perfect 6-0 season in the Bay Football League.

On Saturday, the Pride (10-1 overall) found out what their stellar season has earned them: a No. 3 seed in the North Coast Section playoffs, and a home match with No. 14 Willits (3-6 overall) in the first round, to be played at 1 p.m. Saturday.

Willits finished in third place in the high-scoring North Central I-North League, with a 2-2 record. The Wolverines lost their final two league games, to the top two teams Fort Bragg and Middleton, by a combined score of 105-6. Those losses came after the Wolverines beat Lower Lake 68-18 and Upper Lake 74-0 the previous two weeks. Teams sure run up the score in the NCIN League – Ft. Bragg beat Richmond earlier this season 68-8. Salesian and Willits did not have a common opponent this season.

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