Spanning back to Ocean Division play last year, Woodside and South City have forged something of a spirited rivalry, with both teams moving up to the Bay Division this season.
The Wildcats picked up right where they left off, tabbing a decisive sweep at South City — 25-15, 25-20, 25-13.
Woodside’s senior tandem of Christine Alftin and Dani Walsh fronted an all-around dominant performance, as the Wildcats (2-0 in Bay, 9-6 overall) remain unbeaten in league play. Alftin soared to 14 match kills, while dominating at the service line with a season-high seven aces.
“A lot of times, [Walsh] is our big server,” Woodside head coach Kyle Mashima said. “She usually cranks out a lot of aces. But it didn’t work out like that today.”
Woodside servers picked apart South City’s defense throughout, as Ana Oropeza and Francesca Fioresi tallied four service points apiece in Game 1. Alftin took it to the next level in Game 2 — the most spirited game of the match — reeling off 10 service points, while doing even more damage at the net.
In Game 2, South City rallied back from a seven-point deficit to overtake Woodside 20-19 on a nifty crosscourt kill by Sierra Nelson. But Woodside answered right back, seizing momentum on an authoritative Alftin kill to tie it, before junior Danielle La Force delivered a perfectly-timed block at middle-net for a go-ahead kill. Woodside would not trail for the remainder of the match.
South City senior Sifagatogo Faaiu seemed to single-handedly keep her team in contention early on, pacing the Warriors with nine match kills and five blocks.
“She did good,” South City head coach Enrico Salazar said. “She was aggressive. That’s what we want. It’s like I tell them – win or lose, we want to give it our best until the last point.”
Entering his third year as Woodside’s head coach, Mashima has seen quite a turnaround. The Wildcats went from a winless league record in 2011, to capturing the Ocean Division crown last season.
Mashima admits Woodside wouldn’t be where it is without an influx of transfer players. Joining the team this season from Elk Grove are sisters Heilani and Haili Hoeft. But the game-changer was the addition of both Alftin and Walsh at the midseason mark last year.
Alftin transferred from St. Francis, while Walsh transferred from Bishop O’Dowd. The two were forced to sit out throughout nonleague play, but ended up bonding on the sidelines while running the scorebook together.
“[The team was] sort of even performance wise — kind of 50-50,” Mashima said. “Then when they came on board, we were at a hundred percent. So, they made a big difference.”
Now, the tandem’s on-court communication is tantamount to Woodside’s high-octane attack.
“We usually tell each other how to hit … and in midair, we’ll be telling each other where to hit,” Alftin said. “I think we work really well together.”
Other Bay results
Burlingame (1-1, 9-5) bounced back from a tough loss in Tuesday’s league opener to down Aragon (0-2, 6-3) in three straight games — 25-16, 25-21, 25-22. Aragon faltered after taking a 19-13 lead in Game 1. The Dons are expected to go through some growing pains to start the season, as their starting seven consists of four sophomores, two juniors, and just one senior.
“We’re just a young team and we’re trying to get to know each other,” Aragon head coach Kelsey Stiles said. “We have fantastic players. They just need to find their niche.”
Carlmont (2-0, 9-5) downed Hillsdale (0-2, 3-4) in four games — 25-21, 25-22, 22-25, 25-11. Senior Charlotte Jackman had a career-high 15 kills to pace the Scots.
Menlo-Atherton (2-0, 8-3) swept San Mateo (0-2, 2-7) — 25-14, 25-12, 25-21. Valerie Mihalek paced the Bearcats with seven kills, while Morgan Ho totaled 16 assists.
Ocean Division results
Sequoia (2-0, 8-2) maintained one of the Ocean Division’s best overall records, downing Westmoor (0-1, 8-6) in five games — 25-16, 25-21, 13-25, 22-25, 15-11. With senior Joy Robinson sidelined due to a hamstring issue, her younger sister, freshman Leanne Robinson, emerged with a career-high 20 kills. The offensive production of Rachel Fink was also key to the Cherokees perseverance.
Elsewhere, Terra Nova (1-1, 8-2) swept Jefferson (0-2) — 25-13, 25-20, 25-5.
“We’re starting to move the ball well, and we’re beginning to attack the net effectively,” Terra Nova head coach Craig Dillie said.
Mills (1-1, 2-5) downed El Camino (0-2, 0-3) in straight games — 25-20, 25-21, 25-18. Pricilla Young paced the Vikings with nine kills and seven blocks, while sophomore Adrienne Lee had 15 digs.
“[Lee] had an exceptional save that kept us in the first game,” Mills head coach Polly Wiard said.
Half Moon Bay (2-0, 6-6) remains unbeaten in league after downing Capuchino (1-1, 4-5) — 26-24, 25-21, 24-26, 25-16. Freshman Hailey Merkes paced the Cougars with 13 kills, while contributing 10 digs and five aces.