The Berkeley High women’s volleyball team won against Encinal High of Alameda Thursday evening at Berkeley’s Donahue Gymnasium. The Yellowjackets swept the Jets in three straight games, 15-9, 15-1, 15-7, for a quick victory.
Both teams were missing key players, as Berkeley played without the services of star middle blocker Desiree G. Young and starting setter Danielle Larue, while the Jets missed middle hitter Jaqualine Randolph. All three players were out with injuries.
Berkeley senior ouside hitters Lizzi Akana and Hannah Lawler each put in good performances. Akana had 18 kills and 11 digs, while Lawler had nine kills and nine digs. Setter Caitilin Everett was impressive with 25 assists in stepping in for Larue.
Berkeley is now 8-6 overall and 5-0 in the ACCAL. Encinal is 6-4, 4-2 in the ACCAL.
Encinal’s bench had more empty spots than players, as the Jets were only able to field one substitute to Berkeley’s four. The ’Jackets also had a clear height advantage, even without Young.
Berkeley’s high-scoring offense is rooted in the powerful play of Lawler on the outside left, and Akana on the outside right. Their combined 27 kills alone made up for nearly two-thirds of Berkeley’s offense. When the Yellowjackets got buzzing, more often than not, those two players were the stingers.
Middle hitter Vanessa Williams and Everett effectively controlled Berkeley’s middle, filling the shoes of Berkeley’s two missing starters nicely. “The loss of Young and Larue put a lot of pressure on our other middles,” said Berkeley Coach Justin Carraway.
“Caitlin really stepped it up,” Akana said after the match.
“I can’t say enough about how Caitlin Everett did at setter,” added Carraway.
At one point in the second game, the Yellowjackets had a 13-point run, with freshman outside hitter Nadia Qabazard serving.
“It was very nice,” Carraway said. “We didn’t make any errors.”
The momentum produced in the second game left the ’Jackets cruising, and despite a late rally by the Jets in the third game, the result was never in doubt.
Encinal coach Chris Bautista was pleased with his team’s performance despite the loss. “Without Jaqueline Randolph... we played surprisingly well. The girls actually stepped it up.” Bautista gave “lots of kudos” to the Yellowjackets, who he described as a “good offensive team.”
“I thought we served pretty well... our passing improved... we played pretty good defense,” said Carraway. “Today was an outstanding performance.”