Elizabeth Dahlberg is a mild-mannered senior at El Camino High School. If not for the fact she stands 6-foot-2 and has long red hair, it would be easy to miss her in the halls on campus. Admittedly shy, the middle blocker for the Eagles comes alive at night, and she powered her team over the Christian Brothers Falcons in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III final Friday at the Pavilion on the UC Davis campus.
Hitting over, around and sometimes through Falcons blockers, Dahlberg was key in the Eagles’ 18-25, 25-18, 25-19, 23-25, 15-12 win over the defending section D-III champion and second-ranked Falcons.
“On the court, I’m really aggressive, but at school and during the day I’m really shy. My teammates will agree,” Dahlberg said. “We knew we had to stay aggressive after we came out playing on our heels, and CB really came out to play.”
El Camino swept Christian Brothers 3-0 both times the teams met during Capital Athletic League play. After dropping the first game Friday, the Eagles started serving, passing and blocking better and asserted their will. But Christian Brothers evened the match in the fourth game.
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In the deciding game , the teams had another seesaw tussle, but a Dahlberg block put the Eagles a point away from hoisting the section flag, and she ended the match with a blazing kill right at the middle of the 10-foot line.
“When (Dahlberg) gets going, she’s hard to stop,” El Camino coach Martin Soyama said.
Dahlberg got some great sets from senior setter Devin Herenda, and help on the outside from Mikaela Nocetti and Makenzie Reeder-Esparza.
Christian Brothers coach Diane Heine said she was proud of her squad for taking El Camino to five games after having suffered through the sweeps during league play. Falcons libero Darci Phenix was a sparkplug in the back row, while junior middle blocker Elizabeth Robinson was effective, too, as she’s been all season.
Both teams, as do all section finalists, advance to the NorCal Championships, which start Tuesday.
Division I – No. 1 Pitman defeated No. 2 Pleasant Grove 25-20, 22-25, 23-25, 25-15, 15-12.
Division II – No. 3 Rocklin defended its section title with a 3-1 (18-25, 25-23, 25-18, 25-22) victory over No. 4 Vintage. Maddie Haynes, a junior middle blocker, led the Thunder with 18 kills. Libero Sierra Dierkson had 21 digs.
“Vintage was outworking us, and after we made some adjustments, the momentum swung back to us,” said Rocklin coach Dave Muscarella. “I thought that close game was a big win.”
Division V – No. 1 Vacaville Christian defeated No. 3 Bradshaw Christian 3-0 (25-8, 25-16, 25-17) to win back-to-back section titles. Bradshaw Christian was the runner-up last year, too.