Battle of the best

By Michael Zogg / The Del Norte Triplicate / @DNTripSports

Arcata ties DN with 3-1 road win

The Del Norte volleyball team has to make room for one more at the top of the Humboldt-Del Norte Big 5 standings.

The Warriors (17-10-1, 4-1 H-DN Big 5) suffered their first league loss of the season at home Tuesday, falling 3-1 (25-23, 23-25, 17-25, 18-25) to Arcata (25-4, 4-1 H-DN Big 5).

"We didn't show up to play," said Del Norte co-coach Pablo Lorenzi. "We didn't get the job done that we needed to get done. I told them before the match, 'If everybody does their jobs, you have nothing to worry about.' Nobody did their job and we had a lot to worry about."

The match started out well for the Warriors. In game one, Del Norte jumped out to a 6-2 lead early. They built that lead into a 20-11 advantage.

"I think in the first game, they came out and were hyped," Lorenzi said. "They were ready to go and they did the jobs that they were supposed to do."

After earning the nine-point lead, Del Norte faded down the stretch. Arcata put together an 11-2 run to tie the game 22. The Warriors were able to hold on for a 25-23 set victory, but Arcata retained the momentum through the rest of the match.

"It was almost like they shut the engine off and just went into cruise control," Lorenzi said. "They just never got out of cruise control."

Arcata played a strong match, especially at the net where the Tigers held a noticeable size advantage over the Warriors, but Lorenzi thought his team was responsible for its own misfortune.

"We killed ourselves," he said. "We just had bad hitting and bad service. Every time we would get close, we would have a service error or hit it into the net. You can't do that.

"The biggest problem for us today was communication," Lorenzi said. "We didn't communicate with each other and so we made a lot of dumb plays. I think we just need to have the right attitude, communicate with each other and just have fun playing the game."

Kaitlyn Clemann finished the game with 15 kills, followed closely by Kayla Costello's 14 kills. Ashton Smedley added nine kills for the Warriors.

The Tigers entered the game in second place. Arcata's only league loss this season was at home to Del Norte on Oct. 3. On Tuesday, they avenged that loss with an identical 3-1 score and left with a share of first place.

Both Del Norte and Arcata have three league matches remaining. If they remain tied, they will be co-champions. Lorenzi said they will have to play a one-game playoff to decide which team will enter the North Coast Sectional as the league champion and play a home game in the first round.

The Warriors will return to league play today when they travel to McKinleyville.

Reach Michael Zogg at mzogg@triplicate.com .

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