At the end, the Davis High girls volleyball team was hitting on all cylinders.
A Delta Valley Conference win over Monterey Trail meant the Blue Devils shared the league title with the Mustangs. An emotional first-round victory in the postseason, fueled by brilliant senior play, stamped these Devils as a team that may have laid the foundation for many championship seasons to come.
Going 24-8 with a 9-1 DVC mark and a third-place finish in its own Davis Classic, DHS has a lot to look back on fondly …
“My team proved that hard works does pay off,” explained Blue Devil coach Julie Crawford. “Our goal this season was to play with heart, and we did that each time we stepped out on the court.
“In addition, the camaraderie and friendship that my girls share with each other is something like I’ve never seen before.”
Crawford said, on and off the court, her team possessed an “It Factor — one of the reasons we were so successful this season.”
It didn’t hurt, either, to have talent.
Senior striker Lyndsay Chambers — the conference MVP — supplied many of the big blows, but Davis was no one-trick pony.
Angelina Leigh and Adrian Defty, also 12th-graders, made such solid impressions that they joined sophomore Makena Sherwood as other DVC first-team selections. Junior libero Mackenzie Harrison emerged to play a key role in the Devils’ late-season surge and earn all-league honorable mention status.
In addition to Chambers, Leigh and Defty, DHS fans also will say goodbye to Stephanie Siu, who missed most of 2012 with a wrist injury.
“Overall, the seniors have made this season very special for me and the rest of the team,” said Crawford, the conference’s Coach of the Year. “(The seniors) led in their own individual ways. They led by example and helped make this season memorable for everyone.
“They will be greatly missed and hard to replace.”
It was hard to pull one moment from the fall schedule and pinpoint a watershed event as Crawford said the season came together in a series of milestones:
“Team bonding at the beginning of the season, team dinners, our performance in our own Fall Classic, beating Monterey Trail on Senior Night, the letter the seniors wrote to me on (that) night, league champs and beating Napa at home in the first (playoff) round.”
With Crawford working with her girls to visualize and mentally prepare for each contest, the Blue Devils grew stronger with each match.
“For next year, there are some big shoes to fill,” said the DHS physical education instructor. “I am looking forward to seeing who steps up.”
Harrison and Sherwood will be joined next fall by Maya Gilardi, Chelsea Sacramento, Emma Peterson, Zoe Hunt Murray, Jenn Blanc and Kimmy Siu. In addition, junior varsity coach Lyndsay Cantrell saw her crew play some of its strongest volleyball down the stretch and should send a handful of equally talented Devils to the next level.
Next up for the DHS players is club volleyball. Crawford will continue to run a traveling team and awaits the spring season of Devil boys volleyball, which she also mentors.
Crawford thanked parents and other-level coaches for all their support and is looking forward, already, to 2013.
Notes: “Chambers is at the top of her game. I’m so happy for her and hope she chooses to pursue volleyball in college,” Crawford added. “She will be hard to replace. Not only is she a contributor on the court, but she was a captain and a true leader for the team. It has been very special watching her mature into the talented player she is today.” … Davis was knocked out by No. 2 St. Mary’s, who plays Granite Bay today in the Sac-Joaquin semifinals.
— Reach Bruce Gallaudet at email@example.com or 530-747-8047.