For the first time since 2009, the Del Norte volleyball team finished the regular season on top of the Humboldt-Del Norte Big 5 standings. The Warriors secured their share of a co-league championship on Tuesday with a 3-1 victory over Fortuna.
Kaitlyn Clemann recorded 16 kills and 6 digs for Del Norte.
Kayla Costello had 14 kills and tied with Samantha Lundin for a team-high 19 assists.
Grace Bruschi and Ericka Alcala led the team with 10 digs apiece.
The win brought Del Norte to 23-9-1 overall and 7-1 in the league. Arcata also won its match on Tuesday, beating Eureka 3-1 to also finish 7-1.
Both teams will be recognized as league champions.
"It feels good," Alcala said. "It is a different feeling than last year (when Del Norte finished second). It is definitely better."
Although the match against Fortuna ended with a victory Tuesday, the Warriors were not pleased with how they played.
"I thought we played down to the caliber of team that we were playing," said Del Norte coach Debbie Lorenzi. "We are a better team than that. I was extremely frustrated and disappointed to see that at this time of the year. We are hoping to turn that around."
"We looked slow," Alcala added. "We didn't play like a well-oiled machine like we can."
This season, the Warriors feel like they have beaten some good competition, but they have also struggled with teams they should have been easily beaten.
"I am hoping that we can show the skill level that we have," Lorenzi said. "When we go away to tournaments, we have played some good teams. We have played with them and beat some of them and played really well. Now that we are in the league again, we are playing their level, and we are better than that."
Lorenzi believes the key for the Warriors is to "play aggressively with confidence. They need to be extremely aggressive."
The Warriors will have to play a postseason game earlier than expected. Del Norte lost a coin flip, so they will have to travel to Arcata on Thursday for a one-game playoff to determine who will represent the HDN Big 5 as the league champion at North Coast Sectionals.
Both teams have already qualified for sectionals, but the winner of the playoff game will play a first-round home game.
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