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Napa Valley Prep Report: American Canyon tops Benicia in five sets to improve to 5-0 in volleyball
Prep Report

Napa Valley Prep Report: American Canyon tops Benicia in five sets to improve to 5-0 in volleyball

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Giana Guintu

American Canyon High sophomore Giana Guintu, left, makes a tough pass as head coach Katy O'Brien looks on at St. Helena on Aug. 26.

Faced its toughest competition yet, the American Canyon High volleyball team improved to 5-0 by outlasting former Solano County Athletic Conference rival Benicia, 27-25, 25-19, 24-26, 23-25, 15-13, at home Thursday night.

Arianna Pacheco led the Wolves with 11 kills, 5 aces and 19 digs. Giselle Torres contributed 11 digs, 11 kills and 19 assists. Alexa Berry added 10 kills and Gabriella Trinidad 8 kills to round out the offense.

Vyvylyn Tran had a whopping 34 digs for the night, and Nalani Bustos had 25 assists.

The Wolves start Vine Valley Athletic League play next week by traveling to Casa Grande on Tuesday and Napa High on Thursday.

Justin-Siena 3, St. Patrick-St. Vincent 0

The Braves swept the Bruins in Vallejo on Thursday night, 28-26, 25-17, 25-21. Justin-Siena (3-1) trailed 6-1 in the first game before battling back to win a very long set and cruised from there.

Emery Messenger led the Braves with 11 kills and 13 digs. Eleanor Meyers added 10 kills, an assist and 4 terminal blocks. Ranessa Rualo served well and tallied 15 assists.

Justin-Siena also won the best-of-three junior varsity match in three games.

“I am so proud of JV and varsity for fighting hard for the double win tonight,” Braves head coach Kate Reilley said. “The Bruins have incredibly scrappy teams that forced us coaches to make several adjustments throughout the games. It is games like this that ultimately make our teams better, forcing us to move the ball around, make adjustments, and fight for every point. I am looking forward to our first league matches against Sonoma Valley next Thursday.”

Varsity Boys Water Polo

Alhambra 11, Justin-Siena 2 (2OT)

Rylie Dombrowski amassed 17 saves and Carson Mooers had 4 goals, but it wasn’t enough to lift the Justin-Siena boys water polo team in its season opener Wednesday as Alhambra prevailed in double-overtime, 11-9, in Martinez.

Braves head coach John Derr said almost half of Dombrowski’s saves were one-on-one on shots from point-blank range.

“Rylie absolutely kept us in the game, making critical saves time and time again,” he said.

Casey Kleis, Gino Bartalotti, Tommy Christ, Aidan Machado and Thomas Smith each chipped in 1 goal for Justin-Siena. Kleis and Bartalotti played tight defense and had 3 steals apiece. Derr said Ellison Levy had a great game all-around, leading the counter attack to his low post position.

The score was 9-9 after four quarters.

“This was a great game from the very first faceoff,” Derr added. “It was a very physical game and close throughout. Very proud of these boys. They fought hard all game, just coming up a bit short at the end. Being our first game, we know now we have a few things to work on prior to our next game

We’re looking forward to getting back in the pool and practicing with a purpose.”

The Braves will look to bounce back in their next game, against Ukiah on Sept. 14 at the Napa Valley College pool.

JV Boys Water Polo

Justin-Siena 5, Alhambra 1

Pearce Alger led the Braves to victory Wednesday with 3 goals from the set position, while Nick Merab and Lucas Padowan tallied 1 goal apiece.

Head coach John Derr said Andy Machado and Lucca Sebastiani “both showed great hustle and tenacious defense in shutting down their opponent,” and that “Reese Ingram played the defensive set position most of the game and completely shut down Alhambra’s ability to get it into the set.”

He said Tyler Pitts, along with newcomers Evan Smith, Jack Shea and Kash Adams, “played outstanding for their first game,” as did goalkeepers Trevor Hummer and Eli Derr, who “truly shut down the opponent” by combining for 16 saves.

“For many of the boys, this was their first game ever played and they did fantastic,” Coach Derr said. “These boys played as a true team today and it was a pleasure to coach. The determination and hustle was evident from the start, and their ability to get back on defense and not allow a goal on transition was great to see. Alger was a beast in the set position and Hummer and Derr shut down their offense from the goalie position. It was a fun game to watch.”

JV Volleyball

Justin-Siena 2, St. Patrick-St. Vincent 1

Playing in Vallejo on Thursday night, the Braves lost the first set but came back hard to win the next two and take the match.

They were led by Rose Schafer with 9 aces and Addison Geist with 8 kills, while Angela Adiz dominated the back row and setter Lily Kaer had a momentum-shifting terminal block.

Here's the realization Naomi Osaka came to, gradually and only recently: If other people think a lot of her, she probably should, too."Hearing a little kid telling me that I'm their favorite player or I'm a role model, instinctively the first thought in my mind is, like, 'Why?'" Osaka explained as Monday turned to Tuesday after a successful start to her U.S. Open title defense. "I feel like I have to sort of embrace more ... the honor that they're telling me that, and I should believe more in myself. I feel like if you don't believe in yourself, then other people won't believe in yourself."During her return to Grand Slam action after a mental health break an at-times-dominant 6-4, 6-1 victory over 87th-ranked Marie Bouzkova of the Czech Republic Osaka heard the high-pitched voice of one such "little kid" in Arthur Ashe Stadium.When the match ended, Osaka went over with a little gift: one of the Olympic pins athletes collect. With a bit of self-deprecation, Osaka noted that she didn't stick around at the Tokyo Games long enough to trade away all of those mini-souvenirs (a native of host country Japan, she was granted the honor of lighting the cauldron at the opening ceremony, then lost her third-round match).The Summer Olympics marked her first competition anywhere since May 30 at the French Open.That day, Osaka skipped her mandatory news conference after her first-round victory in Paris, drawing a $15,000 fine and a warning from the heads of the Slams that she could face a suspension. She responded by pulling out of Roland Garros, explaining that she feels anxiety when speaking to the media and has dealt with depression for years. Osaka then sat out Wimbledon, too.The 23-year-old is clearly introspective and thoughtful, someone who is getting more and more used to sharing her innermost ideas with the rest of the world. In a social media post Sunday about ruminations on self-worth, Osaka wrote that she's "gonna try to celebrate myself and my accomplishments more, I think we all should" and that she "can't burden myself with (others') expectations anymore."On Monday, she entered Ashe with her usual first-round Slam jitters, but not because of any sense of pressure to win, Osaka said afterward. Instead, it was based on a desire to play well, especially for the loud and appreciative full house that was there a year after she won the title in a nearly empty arena because spectators were banned then amid the coronavirus pandemic. "I tell people that I'm a perfectionist. I think for me, something that's less than perfection, even though it might be something great, is a disappointment. I don't really think that's a healthy way of thinking, so something that I really wanted to change," said the third-seeded Osaka, who next faces 145th-ranked Olga Danilovic."In this tournament I just want to be happy with knowing that I did my best and knowing that even though I didn't play perfect, I was able to win a match in two sets. ... It's more like a life thing," she continued. "Like, I hope I can keep this mindset throughout my life going forward."Maybe she wasn't perfect against Bouzkova, who is now 1-11 in Slam matches. After all, the score was 4-all in the early going. From there, though, Osaka reeled off eight of the last nine games.Helped by a serve that reached 120 mph, she saved all eight break points she faced and accumulated a 34-10 edge in total winners. "Last year, when we didn't have a crowd, I know it felt quite lonely for me," she said with a smile during her on-court interview. "I'm glad to see little kids in the audience and, of course, grown-ups, too."Osaka improved to 55-14 in matches at the majors, including 22-3 at the U.S. Open as she tries to become the first woman with consecutive trophies in New York since Serena Williams collected her third in a row in 2014.Osaka beat Williams in the chaotic 2018 final in Ashe. She also has won hard-court major titles at the Australian Open in 2019 and this February."I've played a lot of matches on this court," Osaka told the Ashe fans. "Definitely, I feel really comfortable here."Additional reporting by The Associated Press.

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