Perhaps the Campolindo High girls volleyball team should be used to playing for state titles, but the Cougars didn't act like it Tuesday night.
After an attempt by Valley Christian-San Jose to keep the match alive sailed wide, the host Cougars broke into wild celebration as they won yet another CIF Northern California championship with 20-25, 25-22, 25-23, 27-25 victory.
Campolindo will be seeking its third Division III state championship Saturday at 3 p.m. when it faces Cathedral Catholic-San Diego in the state title match at Concordia University in Irvine.
"These girls work hard and take nothing for granted," Campolindo coach John Vuong said. "I knew at the beginning of the year, we had a good team, but these girls didn't expect anything, took it one game at a time and worked hard for it."
They needed to do that to win the Northern California Division III title, facing a Valley Christian (35-9) team loaded with talent, including one of the more heavily recruited juniors in the nation in Madeleine Dilfer.
And despite 30 assists and 14 kills from Dilfer, Campolindo (30-4) rallied after losing game one and after trailing in games three and four.
"They believed they could do it," Campolindo assistant coach Dave Chen said. "If you look on paper, we're undersized and inexperienced, but the postseason is about the confidence you have and they believed."
Annie Doyle's eight straight points in the second game got the
The nip-and-tuck fourth game saw Campolindo down 21-18 after five straight points from Grace Chang, but Gaby Gryko's biggest block of the season made it 21-21 as Campolindo used the momentum of the home crown from that point
Campolindo entered Tuesday on an eight-match win streak, which included a five-game victory over Bishop O'Dowd in the North Coast Section Division III championship on Nov. 17 and a four-game win over Sacred Heart Cathedral in the second round of the Northern California playoffs Saturday.
The Cougars were seeking their third trip to the state final in seven years, as they also won the Division III state championships in 2006 and 2010.
Valley Christian, which is making its first appearance in the NorCal playoffs in three years, had won five in a row since its loss to Archbishop Mitty-San Jose in the West Catholic Athletic League semifinals.
Head-Royce 51, St. Joseph Notre Dame 50: Sierra Ng hit a short jump shot as time expired to give the host Jayhawks a nonleague win over the Pilots, the defending North Coast Section Division V champions, in the season opener for both teams.
Ng finished with 23 points to lead Head-Royce, which finished second in the Bay Counties League-East last season and made the NCS Division V playoffs.
Courtney Ng added 10 points, including two 3-pointers, in the win.
For St. Joseph, Desiree Harris had 16 points and five assists and Fiona Kanady had seven points and five assists.
San Ramon Valley 4, Antioch 0: The host Wolves (1-0) scored three goals in the first 30 minutes to help beat the Panthers (1-2) in a nonleague game.
MaKenna Kummer, Katie Tao and Melissa Lewis all scored first-half goals for San Ramon Valley, the defending East Bay Athletic League champion, and Morgan Idso capped the scoring with a goal in the 60th minute.
California 2, Irvington 1: Malissa Shadle scored two goals, including the game winner in the 64th minute, as the host Grizzlies beat the Vikings in the season opener for both teams. Shadle scored in the 29th minute before Yvette Cuellar tied the game in the 39th minute. Lauren Holden made three saves in the win for California.
Laney College punter Jed Barnett made an oral commitment to play for Oklahoma, according to multiple reports.
Barnett, who attended high school in Washington state, visited Oklahoma this past weekend for the rivalry game against Oklahoma State.
He averaged 40.2 yards per punt with four touchbacks, and 14 of his 65 punts this season were downed inside the 20.