Never let it be said that Ken Shaw is afraid to mix things up.
The Stone Ridge Christian boys volleyball coach wanted to add a little more punch to the offense that posted an 18-7 regular-season record. He switched from the team’s traditional 5-1 offense to a 6-2 to allow setter Davis Greenwood to get involved in the offense when he was in the front row.
Greenwood responded to the opportunity, turning in a season- and match-high 13 kills. The senior added a team-high 15 assists and three aces to help the Knights capture their first playoff victory in school history with a 25-15, 25-10, 25-14 victory over Los Banos on on Tuesday night.
Seventh-seeded Stone Ridge will travel to No. 2 Christian Brothers for a Sac-Joaquin Section Division III quarterfinal on Thursday.
“We ran kind of an interesting offense,” Shaw said. “When Davis was in the back row, he was setting as usual. And then when Davis came into the front row, we would let (Jackson) De Jager set. It worked really well, except one serve-receive where they caught us. We’ve got two great middle blockers. They’re not great middle hitters, yet. So Davis gave us a nice second option to complement what (Jonathan) Collazo does.”
Greenwood and Collazo (12 kills) proved a potent 1-2 punch that the Tigers (11-8) couldn’t match.
Collazo had the hot hand early, recording five kills in the opening set. The senior was the focal point of the Stone Ridge (19-7) attack as it broke the set open with a 13-3 run to take build an 18-8 lead.
Big runs proved Los Banos’ downfall on Tuesday as the Knights ran off eight straight points to close out the second set and take a commanding 2-0 lead. Greenwood led the charge in that one, dumping ball after ball into the left back corner of the Tigers each time they got out of position.
“They’re just bigger and stronger than us,” Tigers coach Greg Soliz said. “It’s nothing new. All season long we’ve been small. We didn’t do the things we needed to do to beat a team like this, particularly playing defense. We didn’t play defense tonight and they took full advantage.
“I don’t know if it was playoff nerves or what. The good news is we’re young and we have everyone coming back next year. I’ve got to go out and recruit some basketball players or something to get another hitter to complement Camron (Franco).”
Franco did his best to keep the Tigers in the match, pouring in a team-high eight kills. Devyn Soliz chipped in 11 assists and four aces. The rest of the Los Banos offense struggled, however.
Stone Ridge jumped out to an 8-3 lead in set three and never looked back. Bryce Louters finished off the match with a block and then an ace.
“We’ve been working towards this for three years now and we’re just so happy to win,” Greenwood said. “We learned a lot (from last year). We kind of went in thinking we were the best because we won our league. It turns out there’s so many different types of volleyball teams out there. Losing in the playoffs humbled us a lot and we learned a lot.
“We have a completely different game plan for Christian Brothers. We know they’re very good, so we’re going in prepared to go as hard as we can. We haven’t had a game where we’ve played more than three sets in a while, so we’re not completely prepared, but I think we can handle it.”