DUBLIN -- With the Whitney High boys volleyball team fighting to force a fifth game, and trailing 21-19 in a fourth game that could end its season in defeat, a 50-50 ball sailed above the net, perfectly in between both teams.
When Campolindo's Stephen Buhl won that ball at the net and put it down on the other side of the court to put his team up by three points, it all but clinched the California Interscholastic Federation Northern California title for the top-seeded Cougars as they 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 big kill, Yize Dong's kill ended the match and led to a celebration for the Cougars (42-2), who have also three straight North Coast Section Division II championships.
"It feels exciting, 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 in the third game and took 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. David Parker led Whitney with 23 kills.
NorCal playoffs Division II championship Campolindo d. Whitney-Rocklin
Scores: 25-17, 22-25, 25-15, 25-21. Highlights: W -- Basquez 27 assists; Parker 23 kills; Harris 15 kills; Carr 12 assists. C -- Worsley 26 assists; Buhl 12 kills; First 11 kills; Dong 8 kills; 8 assists. Records: Whitney 32-4, Campolindo 42-2.