VACAVILLE — The initial goal was a playoff berth, but a playoff win will have to wait at least another year.
The Vacaville Christian boys volleyball team put up a fight but ultimately fell 25-11, 25-12, 21-25, 25-16 to Placer of Auburn, Tuesday, in the opening round of the Sac-Joaquin Division II playoffs.
In just their second year, the Falcons (16-9) are a young team, with seven underclassmen and only two seniors. That lack of experience against a school with five times the enrollment – 1,372 to 264, according to the SJS – showed early as the home team had instances in the early going where the ball would find the floor simply because of confusion. Nonetheless, coach Carla Borges was plenty proud of how her team played.
“It feels amazing,” Borges said. “Mostly the whole team is a team of brand new players that have never played before in their lives. I saw the heart they have and the fight. They have done really well throughout the season.”
The heart Borges mentioned was showcased in the third set as the Falcons were staring at elimination if they could not pull out a victory, but they were not going out that easily.
Andrew Grabowski led Vacaville Christian to a 6-1 early lead after three kills and two blocks, making the Hillmen (22-11) call their first timeout of the match. With two key blocks from freshman Matt Brown and later from senior Elliott Donnelly, the lead was 15-10, Falcons.
The closest Placer got was 22-19 after two serves from Vacaville Christian fell short, hitting the net. Grabowski finally ended the set as the Hillmen attempted to block his shot but the ball ended up landing out of bounds.
“I told them that they needed to go out and play like they know how to play,” Borges said. “We played timid in the first two games and I asked them if they wanted to go out that way. They didn’t want to so they fought hard to get the win.”
One of the Falcons’ biggest problems was literally 6-foot-8 senior Tyler Linton, who had eight kills for the Hillmen, while Daniel Dahlin had four, including one on match point.
Grabowski ended his night with five blocks and eight kills, while Micah Hadley and Donnelly had one block and one kill apiece.
Of the overall season, Borges said it was amazing.
“We just wanted to go out and do well, and we ended up making the playoffs,” she said. “With a new team and new players, I’m very excited about this year and the years to come. I had three freshman playing a lot. My libero is a freshman (Michael Bensen) and my outside hitter is a sophomore (Jeremy Botkin), so we have some good talent that will be here. They’re just going to get better.”