FOLSOM — An impressive run to the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III semifinals came to a quick end for the Vanden High volleyball team with a 3-0 loss to No. 2 Vista del Lago of Folsom Tuesday night.
The No. 14 Vikings shocked third-seeded River Valley and No. 6 Placer to get this far, where no Vikings team has been in 37 years.
Still, that was little consolation as Vanden (18-8) fell 25-14, 25-21, 25-11.
It was evident from the get-go that the fire that got the Vikings this far wasn’t quite there as Vanden trailed form the outset.
Communication issues stifled the team’s play and it played right into Vista’s hands. The Eagles ran the lead to 11-3 and the Vikings never got closer than nine the rest of the way.
“I think (it was) nerves more than anything else,” Vanden coach Cindy Scolavino said. “They hadn’t really thought about what they were getting into until tonight and it showed in the first game. They were a little bit stymied with each other, not just the team on the other side.”
The start was disappointing for the players who had been a well-oiled machine since the postseason began.
“For some reason we came out today and we definitely didn’t play like we’ve been playing for the last two (matches),” senior setter Rochelle Roberts said. “For some reason we were on each other, snipping at each other, we just weren’t working as a team.”
There were positive moments on the court, though.
“We had some things going. We did pick each other up once in a while and we were able to get fired up when we did get a point,” Roberts said.
Scolavino added that the loss wasn’t for lack of big-game experience.
“When we called the timeout, we talked about it, we faced this good of a team before and not had the issues we were having,” she said. “We brought it back on the second set and you could see that things were starting to work again.”
In that second set, things might have been even closer, but a Meghan Herout serve that landed for an ace that would have gotten the Vikings within 5-3 was overruled for a violation and instead put Vanden into a 6-2 hole.
Instead of having some momentum, the Vikings slowly chipped away at the Eagles’ lead.
Trailing 14-9, Vanden started to really wake up, going in a 6-1 run to tie it at 15-15 on a Vista error.
The Eagles had set point on four straight serves, but three straight errors got Vanden to within 24-21 before Vista claimed the win.
After that, though, it was all Eagles as the hosts dominated the third set behind outside hitter Kelsey Sampson.
“In the third set, basically, we couldn’t stop No. 11,” Scolavino said. “That really was the big problem.”
Sampson pretty much killed anything that came near her in that final set and helped negate Vanden’s only lead of the night at 3-1.
“It’s been a great year and I’m very pleased with the girls and how they did,” Scolavino said. “It’s one of the things we talked about, the potential on this team is huge.”
Roberts said the season was a good one, despite some rocky moments.
“I know my teammates worked as hard as they could because no one wanted to lose,” she said. “I think coming in here tonight we just kind of tensed up and it didn’t work well.”
Reach Mike Corpos at 427-6979 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/mcorposdr.