Ahead by just one point in the fifth set of their Sac-Joaquin Section D III volleyball play-in match against Mountain House, a fired-up Mark Snow yelled at his players that they needed just one more for the win.
The Hawks complied and celebrated an intense, extensive, 3-2 win over the visiting Mustangs that sent them into the first round of the playoffs against Nevada Union.
The 16th seed Hawks ran into multiple moments where the game could have gone either way against 17th seeded Mountain House and after leading the match 2-1, saw Mountain House pull away with a 25-21 win in the fourth set.
The Hawks looked confident in the fifth set, however, and held on for the 18-16 win to send the team into a running celebration.
“It’s amazing because it’s been a long time. We’ve made the playoffs the last few years but we fell short,” Snow said afterward. “Last year we had an opportunity against Calaveras and should’ve pulled that game out then we fell apart. In this match we had opportunities where we could have fallen apart and I just pleaded with them to fight cause they played against good teams all year, I set the schedule like that for a reason. Even though we’re up in D III and are supposed to be D IV, there’s no team that’s off limits for us. We just have to play defense and block the ball.”
The Hawks had finished the Sierra Valley Conference season in second place with a 7-3 record behind Union Mine and moved past a 3-0 loss to Union Mine and a 3-1 loss to El Dorado on Oct. 16 and 23, respectively.
They won their senior night game against Rosemont 3-0 to set the stage for their selection in the D III bracket.
“We had some challenges because we beat El Dorado and then Union Mine came down here and beat us. We went up there and we had an opportunity if we beat Union Mine we’d have an opportunity to tie for first,” Snow said. “We didn’t play very well at Union Mine or El Dorado. We won the first set and then lost the next three. I think the pressure got to them a little bit so one of the things we talked about today was to have fun, you guys have already been in this situation before and believe in what you know.”
While they faced a steep battle with Nevada Union the next day (the results of which will be in the Nov. 6 issue of The Galt Herald), Snow said that the team still had potential to make the unexpected happen.
“When we were up one, they have to figure out how to stay within themselves in the moment even though that’s the biggest that they’ve been in so far in their volleyball career cause we haven’t had that situation in the playoffs where we’re the team that has the upper hand at that moment. So I’m just proud of the fight that they have. Nevada Union is the one seed for a reason. We have to play our perfect match.”