The Berkeley High boys volleyball team kicks off a three-game season of sorts this evening, hosting East Bay Athletic League rival Granada in its 2000 home finale at Donahue Gym. The 5 p.m. showdown marks the first of three must-win game for the Yellowjackets, who hope to contend for an at-large berth at North Coast Section, if they can win at least two out of the next three, against the Matadors, Foothill and California High.
In their last meeting with winless Granada, on April 4, the ’Jackets came away with the road victory, taking five games to vanquish the feisty Matadors. Though BHS coach Justin Caraway acknowledges Granada’s ability to overachieve, he does not expect his team to have much trouble, if it approaches the matchup with the right attitude.
“We didn’t do a good job of controlling their two hitters (last time), and they had a field day,” Caraway said. “We always want to win, that’s not a concern. They’re winless in league, and (my players) don’t want to be the ones to lose to them.”
Having defeated Monte Vista in a home game last Thursday, Berkeley enters today’s showdown hungry to foster a substantial winning streak – something that has eluded it thus far in 2000. Though undefeated Foothill and second-place San Ramon Valley look to be in position to get the EBAL’s top two NCS spots, Caraway believes his squad still has a chance to be considered as an at-large selection, in light of its recent play.
“We’re on the border for North Coast. The win over Monte Vista was big for us, and we’re playing pretty well,” the coach said. “I believe we need to win two of our next three to have a chance.”
As part of BHS tradition, today’s home finale has been deemed “senior day” for the squad, which features nine graduating seniors, all of whom Caraway expects to take the court at some point this evening. The special occasion, coupled with the fact that Berkeley has not lost to Granada in two years, figures to be plenty of incentive for a victory today.
“(The seniors) really want to win their last match at home,” Caraway said. “We don’t need any special motivation.”
The Yellowjackets close out the regular season next week with a pair of road games. On Tuesday, BHS travels to Pleasanton to battle first-place Foothill, before heading to San Ramon to play Cal High on Thursday. NCS playoffs begin May 16.