Dropping three consecutive outings, following a five-match win streak to open the season, might make it seem like the Davis High boys volleyball team is headed in the wrong direction.
But after losing a 25-16, 25-12, 25-23 match to Roseville on Wednesday at The Cage, coach Jordon Friend said the outcomes are still positive for the Blue Devils, albeit for different reasons.
“We have improved a lot in the past three games, we just came up against another really good team,” Friend explained. “They have a solid program and I thought we played well against them. It would have been nice to win a game, but I thought the boys did a good job of running our system and played some really good defense.”
DHS’ losses have come against Oak Ridge and Ponderosa — a pair of Sac-Joaquin Section playoff teams in 2013 — and this 6-3 Tiger squad, which has beaten both of those schools already this year.
Gaining experience against these types of teams, with the hopes of joining them in the 2014 section tournament, is exactly what Friend wants out of the Devils’ nonconference schedule.
“I definitely think it’s good that we are playing some tough teams toward the end of our preseason,” Friend said. “These teams are really preparing us for league and we are going to see the fruit of this when we get to league play.”
Davis has one more match Friday at home against Vacaville Christian (6 p.m.) and a March 29 tournament at UC Davis, before Delta Valley Conference play starts April 1.
But the locals actually got to see some of that improvement before Wednesday’s match ended. Following a lackluster first two games, the Blue Devils fell behind again in the third set, but found their stride in the late moments.
Down by eight, DHS blocked a Roseville kill attempt to set up freshman Ron Chandi with the serve, his team now trailing 20-13. Chandi posted two consecutive aces, then forced a Tiger mistake.
A block by Evan Meerscheidt and a spike from Nick Simons made it a five-point serving run before Roseville got a sideout at 21-18.
After a pair of Tiger points, Simmons got another kill to set himself up with the serve. The sophomore’s first offering forced a Roseville mistake, then two big blocks at the net gave the Devils a 23-22 lead.
“We shut down some of their bigger hitters with the block and that’s something we are going to use a lot in our league,” Friend said. “We were really scrappy in the back row, we didn’t let a lot hit the ground. Mike (Basso) played really well and Dominic (Fannjiang) did too.”
Basso had eight digs to lead the local defense. Davis, however, couldn’t hold the lead as Roseville righted the ship and clinched the match.
In the loss, Simons had five kills and senior Andre Foster added four.
“We ran the middle really well (Wednesday), Andre had another good game,” Friend said. “We were able to push the ball pin to pin a little better than we have in the past, utilizing Nick and Richard (Lu) on the outside.”
— Reach Chris Saur at email@example.com or 530-747-8049.