Emphatically on Thursday, the Davis High girls forced Monterey Trail to scooch over and share the Delta Valley Conference volleyball top spot.
In a convincing 25-19, 25-18, 25-15 whitewash on Senior Night at The Cage, the Blue Devils avenged a marathon, five-set loss to the Mustangs on Oct. 9.
Both squads now sit at 8-1 in league with one more regular-season match next week before Sac-Joaquin Section officials seed the postseason.
DHS (21-7 overall), before its banishment of its guests, was ranked No. 16 in the power ratings — a notch below Monterey Trail (18-8).
Devil coach Julie Crawford was emotional about her team’s big win.
“My girls worked so hard for this,” she explained, tears welling in her eyes. “It means a lot. I’m really proud of them. They work hard every day, and to have them come in here and play with so much heart and no let-up — especially on Senior Night …
“I’m just so proud of them.”
And so were a majority of the 350 fans in attendance.
When senior Angelina Leigh set for classmate Lyndsay Chambers’ first Davis point of the night, the crowd was solidly behind their home team.
In what looked like a replay of the two schools’ last meeting, back and forth went the early points and, thanks to some inspired play by sophomore Maya Gilardi, the Blue Devils were fortunate to be tied at 16.
Monterey Trail was using some big-time power strokes from frontliners Alex Holt, Summer Tackwood and Kelechi Ohiri.
It wasn’t until Leigh’s back-to-back kills pushed DHS in front at 18-16, that the Mustangs started to give ground.
Mackenzie Harrison provided a spectacular set for another Leigh point and — after Adriana Defty’s ace — it was Leigh and Makena Sherwood working a give-and-go for a 22-18 bulge.
When a serve by The Trail’s captain, Chanel Cheung, serve soared wide, Davis had won the first game.
In the second stanza, Zoe Hunt Murray provided four key points, then teamed with Defty to stuff a Noami Evans jam at the net as the Devils crept out to a 13-7 lead.
But this was front-running Monterey Trail …
Ohiri twice rejected Davis volleys, then she was set up by Holt and it was Hammer Time as Blue Devils couldn’t touch two of the 6-foot-1 junior’s rocket returns.
The score snug again, with DHS leading 13-12, Leigh’s twin kills and a special, right-hand dink set up Gilardi for a five-point serve out.
As the crowd got louder, the locals rolled in the final game — Chambers playing some of her best volleyball of the season and the Devil defense playing formidably at the net, forcing the Mustangs into mistakes and launches far past the back line.
At one point, DHS led 21-9 before the 10-point ending.
“We were all looking forward to this night since we saw it on the schedule,” Leigh told The Enterprise. “Monterey Trail is a tough team and we knew we’d have to play our best to win.
“Knowing that we lost in five games before … on Senior Night, we were so excited. We played these three games with a lot of energy and excitement, which is very important.”
Now it’s on to Elk Grove to close out a DVC title. Game time is 6 p.m. next Tuesday.
“We have to play at our level,” Leigh added, warning against a Davis letdown. “We have to take care of things on our side of the net … take care of business. But we’re a pretty cohesive team and we (communicate).”
Notes: Blue Devil seniors Stephanie Siu (who missed 2012 with a broken wrist), Chambers, Defty and Leigh were honored before the game with leis, gifts and flowers, and Gilardi read a tribute to Crawford, who was presented with a scrapbook. … “Nothing is more rewarding than a team that shows so much heart and respect for each other,” Crawford said afterward. “They want to win for me. They want to win for themselves, but they want to win for me … I can feel that every single day.” … Crawford believes if DHS beats Elk Grove, coupled with the straight-set win over The Trail, her Blue Devils could get a first-round home game. … The match marked the second of two, successful Junior High Nights.
— Reach Bruce Gallaudet at firstname.lastname@example.org or 530-747-8047.