Heartbreak in San Lorenzo
CPS Women’s Volleyball Loses the BCL East Finals 3-2 against St. Joe's
Friday, San Lorenzo -
I drove for what felt like hours, constantly second-guessing what I had plugged into my GPS until I reached a school by the name of Redwood Christian. As I turned into the lot, I was amazed to see it filled with cars, and I was afraid I would not be able to park. However, a man soon approached my car, judged me for my blaring music, and directed me towards an overflow lot, which was also nearing capacity. As I entered the state-of-the-art gym (ironic for a team that had gone 0-12), I was amazed to see over a hundred fans in the bleachers. The stage was set for what was going to be an epic final.
I entered slightly late, with set 1 tied 10-10, and sat down amidst the College Prep student section. The Cougars immediately dropped 6 points straight and went on to lose the set 12-25. I was cursed. It was over. I had driven all this way for nothing.
Not so fast.
College Prep had not come all this way to roll over and die at a hint of adversity. We had not broken a more than 20-year finals drought just to succumb to the Paulson curse. We had not defeated the mighty Jayhawks at Head Royce just to lose to a Pilot. Prep entered the second set strong, taking an early lead and never relinquishing it. Amy Schecter had a few killer serves, and Jasmine Brown had a monster block that propelled the Cougars past the Pilots 25-21. Despite the close final score, Prep was in control all set.
Things were looking up.
Set 3 begins with a St. Joe's run. They too were no strangers to adversity. We’re down 2-7, and Monica calls a timeout. Then, airstrike. CPS gets a huge block. A local seismometer records a small earthquake in the town of San Lorenzo due to our cheering. Nicole Serrano’s serves leave the Pilots flabbergasted. College Prep is up 24-14. Set point. Cougars fans are at the edges of our seats, ready to jump up and celebrate going up 2-1. But no, what is happening, it’s 24-15, 24-16, now 24-17. Is CPS going to record the biggest choke in finals history? Not under Monica’s watch. She calls another timeout, and CPS promptly wins the set, 25-18.
As St. Joe’s students head for the exits, a faint chant of “beat the traffic” can be heard emanating from Pierson Scheinberg. CPS students are wondering if we are about to witness history.
Set 4: St. Joe's once again takes an early lead. No problem: CPS came back last set, and we do it again. The set is tied, 18-18. We’re 7 points away from being champions. Then it all goes downhill. The Pilots win two very long points that put them on a 7-2 run, and we lose the fourth set 19-25.
It’s all tied up. Fans from both sides are on their feet, going crazy. The guy from the parking lot comes in to see what all the fuss is about. It all comes down to this.
Set five in volleyball is special. Unlike all the other sets, which are first to 25, in the fifth set, the first team to reach 15 points is the victor. There is no room for error. The Pilots come into the set with the momentum of set 4 and take a quick 7-4 lead. They are nearly halfway there. CPS calls timeout. Once again, the Pilots look strong, and some nasty serves put the score at 11-5, with St. Joe's 4 points away from victory. CPS calls its final timeout, and then manages to rack up five points, making the score 10-12, with St. Joe's still in the lead. Amy serves. This is our last chance. The ball flies over the net and the head referee blows his whistle. A St. Joe's player made an illegal hit on the ball, making the score 11-12. However, play is stopped. St. Joe's players are arguing with the officials. Two officials hold a conference, in which they discuss which team they like more. They decide to call for a redo of the point, making the score once again 10-12. This swing of momentum is huge, and the Pilots are able to take a 15-11 victory, winning the set, and winning the finals. St. Joe's students charge onto the court, while CPS students weep. Even Duane can be seen choking back tears.
Before the trophy ceremony, a league organizer announced who made the first-team all-league, a title that clumsily represents a great honor. Amy Schechter and Jasmine Brown’s names were both called, and the CPS crowd cheered through their sorrow.
Before making the somber trek home, I conducted a final post-game interview, in which Amy proclaimed: “We’ll get ‘em next year.”
Avi Paulson is the sports editor for the College Prep Radar. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.