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’Jackets beat Antioch, face Castro Valley in second round

By Jared Green, Daily Planet Staff
Thursday November 15, 2001

The Berkeley High girls’ volleyball team survived a minor scare Tuesday night, coming back from a first-game loss to beat Antioch in the first round of the North Coast Section playoffs in Berkeley. 

The third-seeded ’Jackets recovered from their lackluster start in time to take the next three games behind the hitting of middle blocker Desiree Guilliard-Young and outside hitter Amalia Jarvis. Young finished with 11 kills and six blocks, while Jarvis racked up 12 kills to go with seven aces on her jump serve. 

The win was Berkeley’s first NCS victory for the current squad, as the ’Jackets fell in the first round in each of the past three seasons. 

Antioch had two factors in their favor: solid serving and middle blocker Jamie Houle, who played the 6-foot-5 Guilliard-Young very well. Houle had 11 kills and four blocks, including three on Guilliard-Young, and also pitched in with three of the Panthers’ 16 aces. Berkeley head coach Justin Caraway installed a new service defense for the playoffs, using two players instead of the usual three to pass, and the ’Jackets looked shaky. 

“The new pattern was marginally successful,” Caraway said. “We knew coming in (Antioch) was a strong serving team, but we came out with a win.” 

The first game was a nightmare for the ’Jackets as they never had a lead and fell behind while allowing five aces, and an old nemesis reared its ugly head as the ’Jackets committed five service errors in the game. Houle finished the game with two aces and a kill at 15-4. Berkeley looked tentative and couldn’t get anything going up front when Guilliard-Young rotated into the backline. 

“It was looking a little scary there in the first game,” Caraway said. “Maybe it was nerves, or the pressure, but we made a ton of service errors. We’d work hard to get the ball back and then give it away.” 

But Caraway’s team regrouped, making just four more service errors in the next three games. Junior Nadia Qabazard nailed two aces early to put the ’Jackets ahead 4-0, and Guilliard-Young slowed down Houle with two blocks in the middle. The Panthers came back to tie the game at 5-5, then again at 9-9, but Jarvis’ jump serve pulled Berkeley through with four aces in the last six points to win 15-9. 

The ’Jackets rolled in the third game, scoring six points on Antioch hitting errors and getting three more aces from Jarvis. 

“We served ‘em off the court in the third game,” Caraway said. 

Antioch had a ray of hope when the Panthers got out to a 5-3 lead in the fourth and final game, but two Guilliard-Young blocks tied the score, and Qabazard threw in two more aces to give the ’Jackets a 10-5 lead. Two aces from Antioch’s Nicole Baptista pulled her team to within 12-8, but Berkeley simply powered its way to the victory, getting a block from sophomore Shirley Dai and a Jarvis kill to end the game. 

Berkeley will face second-seeded Castro Valley, which beat James Logan in the first round, on Thursday at 7 p.m. for a spot in the final. The match will be at Berkeley High, as Castro Valley’s gymnasium doesn’t meet the NCS standards for hosting a playoff match.  

The ’Jackets lost to Castro Valley in three games at a tournament earlier this year.