With the Campolindo High boys volleyball team leading Whitney-Rocklin 21-19 in the fourth game, a 50-50 ball sailed above the net, perfectly in between both teams.
When Campolindo's Stephen Buhl won the ball and put it down for a kill to put his team up by three points, it all but clinched the Northern California Division II title for the top-seeded Cougars, who went on to a 25-17, 22-25, 25-15, 25-21 win over the Wildcats (32-4) on Saturday at Dublin High.
"At that point we really knew we were in an advantageous position," Buhl said. "We weren't cocky, we just knew they had their backs to the wall and we wanted to keep pushing."
Shortly after Buhl's kill, Yize Dong's kill ended the match for the Cougars (42-2).
"There are no words to completely describe it," Buhl said. "To win the first ever NorCal championship was our goal from the beginning of the season and doing it feels so rewarding."
After the second-seeded Wildcats took the second game, the Cougars asserted their will again, dominating the third game and taking an 11-6 lead in the fourth.
For Campolindo, Buhl, Dong, Ryan First and Michael Standring combined for 39 kills, 26 of which came on assists by Joe Worsley.
Archbishop Mitty-San Jose d. Deer Valley: The NCS Division I champion Wolverines (42-2) stayed close in the early stages of the first two games but the Monarchs (31-5) made plays when it counted to earn a 25-20, 25-21, 25-21 win in the Northern California Division I title match at Dublin High.
"Unfortunately if you don't win it all, your season finishes on a down note," Deer Valley coach Lou Panzella said. "But this has been an unbelievably fantastic year for us."
In the first game, the Wolverines and Monarchs were tied 15-15, but Mitty scored five straight points to pull away. In the second game, after Deer Valley's Jordan Ewert's kill made it 20-20, Mitty scored five of the final six points.
Deer Valley trailed 20-12 in the third game and pulled to within 23-20 before running out of steam.
Deer Valley senior setter Derrico Kwa finished with 37 assists. Ewert had 16 kills and Marcus Lee had 11.
Deer Valley matched up well with Mitty at the net, but had a difficult time handling the Monarchs' serving.
"We're a really good passing team and they made us look not so good," Panzella said. "They served well and played great defensively. We kept getting close, but couldn't get over the hump."
-- Matt Smith, correspondent