Bonita in the Pink After Downing Los Altos 3-2 in Dramatic Fashion

October 22, 2010
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Mega-fundraiser Kaylee helped the Bearcats claw out a 3-2 victory over Los Altos.

Mega-fundraiser Kaylee helped the Bearcats claw out a 3-2 victory over Los Altos.

Bonita might have been playing Los Altos (The Tall Ones) on a very emotional night – “Dig Pink” for Cancer Awareness – but it was the Bearcats that ended up standing the tallest in a thrilling overtime 3-2 win over last year’s CIF champion.

In last year’s CIF finals between Bonita and Los Altos, the Bearcats fell to the Conquerors 3-2, and it appeared Thursday’s tilt was headed for the same outcome. In the final game of the five-game match, both teams clawed and scratched for every point. When Los Altos took a 9-6 lead, Bonita called timeout to regroup. Off the timeout, senior standout Katie Kirby delivered back-to-back kills, narrowing Los Altos’ lead to 9-8. The Bearcats finally tied it at 10.

The rest of the way it was seesaw battle. The Conquerors’ Amanda Brown slammed home two kills to give Los Altos a 12-10 lead. Bonita knotted the score at 12-12 on a kill by Victoria Dennis. Bonita edged in front with a cross-court kill by Madison Zylstra. Los Altos Captain Jazzmen Russell came right back with a kill of her own to tie it, at 13-13. A controversial line call gave Los Altos a 14-13 edge. Bonita roared back to tie the score at 14-14. Then it was Los Altos again forging to the front, 15-14 on another Russell kill. The officials ruled Dennis in a block attempt had brushed the net. With a chance to close out the match, Los Altos’ service was too long, making the score 15-15.

Los Altos reclaimed the lead 16-15 on a service ace, but then Kirby once more spiked consecutive kills to give Bonita a 17-16 lead. Finally, Ashley Maxfeldt blocked Russell’s kill attempt and Bonita had earned the hard-fought and hotly contested 18-16 win and the match. The Bearcats had twice staved off Los Altos game-points.

There were lots of goodies to help spur raffle ticket sales.

There were lots of goodies to help spur raffle ticket sales.

The gym floor at Bonita turned into a sea of pink as the Bearcats took their record to 18-3 and 8-0 in league.

“Oh my gosh, I couldn’t have asked for a better play,” said Maxfeldt the team’s outstanding senior setter, ebullient in pink after her game-winning block.

Despite winning the first game so easily, 25-13, Bonita still knew it was in for a battle royale. Los Altos won the next two games, 25-22 and 27-25, before Bonita came back to win the final pair, 25-21 and 18-16.

“They played really hard,” Ashfeldt said. “We knew we were in for a dogfight.”

There was so much effort put into raising revenues to fight cancer that there was some concern Bonita might lose focus in fighting their main league rival.

“During the freshman game, we all sat down in the team room and said no distractions, we have to focus on this game,” co-captain Maxfeldt added.

Dennis echoed her teammate’s remarks. “We were proud of our involvement and commitment to the Dig Pink event,” said Dennis, who had 11 kills on the night, including three in the game 5 clincher. “But we knew that once the game started, we had to focus on that.” Besides helping Bonita squeak out the victory, Dennis led the crowd in singing the National Anthem.

Coach Adriana Contreras loved the way Bonita started the match en route to an opening 25-13 victory.

“We came out pretty determined, pretty pumped up,” Contreras said. “We made very few errors and we played smoothly.”

The next two games, however, Bonita hit a few bumps in the road.

“We lost a little bit of focus with our serving,” Contreras said. “Our blocking wasn’t as great in games two and three.”

In games 4 and 5, Bonita stepped up its offensive attack, led by Kirby and Dennis. In game 4, Bonita trailed 19-18 when Kirby tied the game with a kill. After a block and a kill by Dennis, Bonita led 21-19. Another kill by Dennis gave Bonita a 22-20 lead and a pair of kills by Kirby helped ice the game, 25-21, to force the final game 5.

Maxfeldt, shown here in warming up, got the key block with the game and match on the line.

Maxfeldt, shown here in warming up, got the key block with the game and match on the line.

And finally, Bonita turned the tables. For much of the night, the Bearcats had to contend with the powerful play of Russell. In the end, Maxfeldt, who does so much for the team with her incredible sets and assist, got up the winning hand on a Russell kill attempt to give Bonita the match.

Bonita survived a huge test. “We definitely needed to win this game,” Contreras said. “It was a huge game. It determines the seeds for first, second and third.”

But even if Bonita had lost, the evening would not have been a defeat. Before the game, Contreras had announced that she hoped the Dig Pink event would raise more than $3,000 to help fight cancer. Judging from the ocean of pink in the stands and on the floor after the game, it appears Bonita hit that mark as well.

Well done!

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