El Dorado coach Shelly Bishop stressed to her team how vital serving is entering the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III playoffs.
Hosting No. 9 seed Lincoln Tuesday, the Cougars (No. 8 seed) took that to heart — resulting in the 25-19, 25-18, 25-14 victory.
The win advanced El Dorado to last night’s match at No. 1 seed Christian Brothers.
Against the Zebras, the Cougars led most of the first set. Trailing 16-15, El Dorado rallied behind two aces from Kylie Haverson (11 kills) and combined with kills from Makayla Hoyt and MacKenzie Niemann (10 kills), the Cougars went on a 9-4 run for the win.
“I thought serving was absolutely critical,” Bishop said. “We have been working on it the last two weeks.”
El Dorado jumped out to a 7-0 lead in the second set behind the serving of Sabrina Tate (20 assists).
“We have been working hard, making sure our serves are real hard,” said Cougar defensive specialist Kristen Van Gilder. “We were competitive off our serving.”
Lincoln went on a 7-1 run to trim El Dorado’s lead and later tied the match at 16-all. After the Cougars went back up, Joy Martin, Abby Bennett and Riley Weinhold served five of the last eight points to secure the win.
Leading 9-5 in the third set, El Dorado continued its dominance on serve behind Weinhold’s two aces and closed the evening on a 12-4 run.
Weinhold had 12 assists; Haverson 11 kills, Serena Franz, seven kills and Julia Kirk, six. Martin finished with seven digs while Franz and Niemann had two blocked shots each.