By Zach Cavanagh
IRVINE – The postseason run for the Dana Hills girls volleyball was over nearly before it began, but the Dolphins put in a lot of work to be on the court on Thursday.
Beckman was efficient in every aspect and even got the home-court bounces to keep Dana Hills off-balance in a sweep, 25-15, 25-15, 25-17, in a CIF-SS Division 2 first-round match at Beckman High School.
“(Beckman) played nice and consistent,” Dana Hills coach Tom Hoff said, “and we needed to play a lot better volleyball to beat them. We just never found that pace of the game.”
Beckman will play the Lakewood-Alemany of Mission Hills winner in the second round on Saturday, Oct. 26.
Dana Hills (18-14) took the first two points of all three sets, but Beckman (22-10) was strong on its serves, blocks and quick attacks to take advantage of the out-of-sync Dolphins.
“When we play well, we can control the ball a little bit better,” Hoff said. “Serve, pass, offense. (Beckman) played well. Hats off, they kept the ball on us. They controlled the ball, and when they didn’t pass, the ball came back over the net.”
Beckman pushed out with a 13-3 run in the first set and a 12-3 run in the second set and closed the match with the final seven points of the third set.
Dana Hills has now been swept in its last three playoff matches.
FINAL: Beckman closes the third set with 7 straight points to take the set over Dana Hills, 25-17, and sweep the Dolphins. Dana Hills’ season ends in the CIF-SS Division 2 First Round. @dhhs_athletics @DanaHSPrincipal @BHSPatriots @DanaPointTimes pic.twitter.com/B0NlEMGayh
— SouthOCsports (@SouthOCsports) October 25, 2019
This season, the Dolphins dealt with change from the start with the loss of star players to graduation and a new coaching staff headed by Hoff. Dana Hills battled through that learning curve to establish a strong unit and a respectable season.
“I don’t look at it as mine,” Hoff said of his first season at the helm, “I look at it as theirs, especially our seniors. They came in with a brand new staff. I’m just immensely proud of the work they did from the first moment. It’s not easy coming in with a whole staff that hasn’t done this before. I appreciate all their leadership and all that they’ve done to get us to this point.”
Dana Hills competed well in the tough South Coast League. The Dolphins pushed league champion Aliso Niguel to five sets, split their two meetings with four-time reigning champion San Juan Hills and finished tied for second in the league standings. The Dolphins also earned podium finishes in several tournaments.
The Dolphins will have to deal with change going forward again, as Dana Hills loses another group of impact seniors in Avery Allemann, Maura Hayes, Kianna Keeling, Hunter Riedl and Vani Topalian.
“We’re going to lose a lot of seniors,” Hoff said, “a lot of leadership, a lot of people who took a lot of swings, and did a lot during matches when the lights are on. We’re going to have to find people who are ready for that, and that’s going to be a lot of work for some other people.”
Zach Cavanagh is the sports editor for Picket Fence Media. Zach is a California Journalism Award winner and has covered sports in Orange County since 2013. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @ZachCav and follow our sports coverage on Twitter @SouthOCSports.