By Bill Choy
Triplicate Sports Editor
CRESCENT CITY A season of numerous highlightsfrom going undefeated in the Big 5 Conference to winning a 19th straight Big 5 crownended with a first-round North Coast Section playoff loss for the Del Norte High volleyball team Tuesday night.
The Warriors, the No. 8 seed, lost in four games 25-18, 23-25, 25-27 and 19-25 to No. 9 Terra Linda of San Rafael in Crescent City.
Head coach Meagan Curtis said after the game it was the "end of a good season," although it was disappointing to finish with a loss, she said.
In front of a packed gym, which was rocking with cheering fans rooting on the home team, Del Norte appeared to feed off that energy against the Trojans.
The Warriors were ready to play against a Terra Linda team that matched the energy of Del Norte early in the first game, and did not seem intimidated by the large crowd or fatigued from the seven-hour journey from the Bay Area.
With the game knotted at nine each, Del Norte went on a run and appeared determined to win, as the players dove for balls, blocked hits and seemed to be playing at a playoff level. The Warriors took a 16-9 lead on their way to the 25-18 game one win.
"We did everything right in that game," Curtis said.
In game two, with the score at 9-9, Terra Linda took control and quickly took a 18-11 lead in front of a subdued Warrior crowd.
But Del Norte battled back, getting within a point or two on several occasions.
With the score 24-23, the Trojans were able to garner the final point to gain the win.
In game three, Del Norte fell behind again, at one point down 17-11. Again, Del Norte came back and appeared determined to regain the lead.
The Warriors had a 24-23 lead and seemed poised to take the game, but the Trojans were not fazed by the cheering and stomping crowd or the possibility of losing, and calmly got back in the game to win 27-25.
Curtis said Terra Linda plays in a competitive conference in the Bay Area, where every night they face tough competition and are used to battling back and finding ways to win.
She believes the competition is not as strong in this area, so her team has not had as many chances this season to battle their way back and learn how to win coming from behind, which she believes hurt them Tuesday night.
In game four, Terra Linda took control from the beginning and cruised to a 23-13 lead. Del Norte clawed back, getting the score to 23-19 before the Trojans got the final two points to seal the win.
Del Norte ended the season with a 20-9 record and went 8-0 in the Big 5.
Although it was not the way the team wanted the season to end, Curtis said the squad should be very pleased with all they accomplished this year. Del Norte was a team with only one senior and had to contend with the loss of four juniors from last year's squad.
"I'm very proud of this team," she said.
Ashley Owen had 12 kills, while Lisa Daniels had nine kills. Deja Hartwick and Jaclyn Hadfield had seven kills each.
Hartwick had four blocks with two for kills, and Hadfield had seven blocks with three for kills. Krista Haban had three blocks for kills. Jessica Morrow had three aces and Mary Timoshenko and Owen had two aces each.
Tabitha Hillman had 15 digs, Morrow had 12 digs and Haban had nine digs. Hartwick had 31 assists for Del Norte.