The article below originally appeared in the San Mateo Daily Journal and is being reprinted with permission.
College of San Mateo volleyball didn’t finish the regular season where it wanted but is still on the verge of a little postseason history.
Despite settling for second place in the Coast Conference North, the Lady Bulldogs have a good chance of hosting next Tuesday’s California Community College Athletic Association volleyball postseason opener. CSM has not hosted a playoff match since the team was re-established in 2016. Playoff seedings will be announced Thursday.
“I think it’s just another step in where we’re trying to establish this program,” CSM head coach Katie Goldhahn said. “That becoming our norm, where you get a homecourt advantage, is huge.”
The Bulldogs wrapped up the regular season Tuesday at home with a four-set victory over Hartnell. But it was last Friday’s loss at Cabrillo that spoiled CSM’s chances of winning the Coast Conference North championship. Cabrillo and CSM entered the match with identical records, but Cabrillo avenged its only conference loss to the Bulldogs earlier in the season to take over outright control of first place for the first time in 2021.
“We were all just really quiet, disappointed, because of how close we came,” Goldhahn said, “and we knew what was on the line and what was riding on this match. So, disappointment, a little bit of frustration. And then coming into the gym and the next practice after that match, it was like, let’s use that and be productive.”
The All-Coast Conference team was announced Wednesday, with CSM earning four first-team honors: setter Eyriana Eatmon; outside hitter Naomie Cremoux; outside hitter Alister Borabo; and libero Angelina Estrada. Middle blocker Lolo Folau earned second-team honors.
Eatmon, Borabo and Folau were honored at Tuesday’s sophomore night.
“It’s just special for them to be on the court,” Goldhahn said. “And they played the entire match. … Really, what I applaud the sophomores is just for their commitment to the program, and to the sport, and to the school, with just such a hard time through COVID.”
Heading into last Friday’s showdown with Cabrillo, the Bulldogs had to recalibrate their sights in competing for the conference title. Because of a change in the format regarding interconference play between the Coast Conference North and South, Goldhahn didn’t know CSM’s Oct. 20 loss to Coast Conference South champion West Valley counted toward the conference record.
“Which we didn’t know,” Goldhahn said. “We weren’t aware of that.”
In seasons past, interconference results did not count toward conference records. Due to the round-robin interconference scheduling this season, with all North and South teams playing each other once, the format was changed, Goldhahn said.
“We were so close to — one, winning conference, and — two, being co-conference champions with Cabrillo,” Goldhahn said. “But they beat West Valley on Wednesday.”
So, instead of a CSM loss to Cabrillo resulting in a Coast North championship, the match turned out to be a winner-take-all showdown for the outright conference title.
CSM and Cabrillo split the first two sets of the eventual 25-20, 21-25, 25-18, 25-23. The Bulldogs committed 32 attacking errors in the match, compared to 21 by Cabrillo.
“We lost in the fourth set 23-25, so we were tasting it,” Goldhahn said. “Set 3, we were just a little bit off and in fourth set we were just battling.”