Teams set for playoffs

By David Witte / sports@losbanosenterprise.comNovember 3, 2012 

After Los Banos and Pacheco ended their regular season with wins on Tuesday, both teams are headed to the playoffs -- Pacheco to Division III and LB to Division IV.

The Sac-Joaquin Section released its playoff brackets on Thursday, sending 12th-seeded Pacheco to play at No. 5 Rio Americano in Div-III, while in Division IV, No. 6 Los Banos will host 11th-seeded Hilmar. Both games are at 7 p.m. on Tuesday.

But first, there was Monday's matter of the cross-town rivalry in Los Banos' 3-0 sweep.

"What I'm trying to do is to get the girls to keep up the intensity all the way through," Los Banos coach Greg Soliz said. "It makes it hard."

The Tigers swept the league with a 12-0 record, and didn't lose a single game inside of those matches, sweeping them all 3-0.

But after Los Banos won the first two easily, Pacheco fought back to tie the third game 19-19. A Pacheco serve into the net gave Los Banos the lead back for good, and kills by Jade Fachin and Michelle Gutierrez finished it.

"I think we think we can just walk through these teams sometimes, and we can get just lackadaisical," Soliz said. "And all of a sudden they make a couple of plays, and all of a sudden we're going to try to pick it back up, we can't do that. That's something we're trying to work on is keeping the energy up."

The next night it was Pacheco needing to pick it back up, needing a win to get back to .500 in league play and qualify for the section playoffs, per a new rule that teams reaching .500 in league qualify.

Pacheco beat Patterson in the first two games, 25-16 and 25-21, before Patterson took a 24-16 lead in the third.

"When the third game looked out of reach, Claudia served 8 points in a row and that gave us the momentum," Pacheco coach Cory Henwood said. "We were up 25-24, and some kid yelled at Claudia, 'You're going to mess up!' and sure enough she did. The ref kicked him out."

Patterson took the third game 28-26, but the momentum was on Pacheco's side, and the Panthers took Game 4, 25-17.

"The girls were really excited last night, and nervous too," Henwood said on Wednesday. "Part of our performance was overcoming nerves. We had beat Patterson in three straight before, and I don't want to say people expected us to put it way. They pushed through and performed and dug it out.

"They had a lot of people there, it was their senior night, and it was a really loud crowd. They were excited, and they deserve it."

Henwood pointed to two turning points in the match -- Garcia's service in the third game, and a few blocks by Jasmine Garcia and Keana Lee-Mamea that energized the Panthers.

Los Banos swept through Livingston the same night to seal the WAC title.

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