When it’s playoff time and there are a few extra days before a first-round match, coaches can get too wrapped up in strategizing for a specific opponent, when what’s really important is getting their own team prepared.
That’s something Davis High girls volleyball coach Julie Crawford is hoping to avoid as her team gets set to host Napa on Tuesday (7 p.m) in a Sac-Joaquin Section playoff contest.
Because of that plan, Crawford is glad that the seventh-seeded Blue Devils haven’t faced the No. 10 Indians this season.
“We usually face them at a tournament or a jamboree in the preseason,” Crawford said. “It’s nice not to have any preconceived notions about how the match is going to go.
“We have nothing to lose, so we are just going to play with heart.”
DHS (22-7, 9-1) finished the season on a seven-match winning streak that included a sweep of Monterey Trail last week that gave the locals a Delta Valley Conference title. That victory came on Senior Night, which was fitting because the Devils have been led all year by 12th-graders Lyndsay Chambers, Angelina Leigh and Adriana Defty.
But it isn’t just the most experienced Davis players who have contributed to the team’s success. Crawford has been getting legitimate production from her entire roster — including a trio of standout sophomores in Makena Sherwood, Maya Gilardi and Kimmy Siu.
And now that the Blue Devils are in the postseason, the whole lineup will be experiencing something new.
“This is the first time in the playoffs for any of the girls and I think that’s really special,” Crawford said.
When it takes the court against Napa, DHS will be playing its first playoff game since 2009 and hosting a postseason matchup for the first time since 2008.
The Indians will bring a tall group of players to Davis, which means the Devils must play smart volleyball and rely on serving, which has been a strength all season.
“They are a tall team so they block really well,” Crawford said of Napa. “We need to be strategic with our offense and remember that it’s not just hitting the ball as hard as you can, but playing smart and hitting it where they are not.
“We’ve served really well all year so we want to maintain our consistency with that, and we want to play a fast-paced offensive game. I believe that’s how we were able to beat Monterey Trail.”
Notes: DHS last played Napa at the 2011 Christine Craft Memorial Tournament, losing 25-21, 25-19. … Monterey Trail is seeded eighth in the section tourney and will host Rodriguez on Tuesday. Franklin also made the playoffs, but must face Tokay on Friday in a play-in match to the 16-team Division I bracket.