The Las Lomas High girls volleyball team refuses to go away quietly. Or go away at all, for that matter.
On the verge of going down two games to none on Tuesday, the Knights instead turned things around and eliminated Gregori-Modesto 19-25, 25-23, 25-14, 25-21 in the first round of the Northern California playoffs.
Las Lomas (37-7) had faced elimination twice in last week's North Coast Section playoffs, but beat both Redwood-Larkspur in the semifinals and Maria Carrillo-Santa Rosa in the finals in five games.
"We really wanted to come to practice on Wednesday," Las Lomas senior middle Maddie Borch said. "We didn't want it to end, because we knew we could beat them and you never want to go out like that."
Borch, Rachel Nieto and Geneva Duffy all finished with 12 kills for No. 4 Las Lomas, which advances to play top-seed Archbishop Mitty-San Jose.
After dropping the first game, the Knights trailed 23-21 in the second game, but rallied to score the final four points and turn the match around. They parlayed that into an 18-7 lead in game three, scoring 22 of 29 points during a stretch to go up 2-1.
"We have a chance in every game," Borch said. "They're really good, but we're really good too."
Gregori-Modesto finishes 33-4.
California d. Homestead-Cupertino: In a spellbinder, the host Grizzlies beat Homestead 26-28, 25-22, 25-11, 23-25, 18-16 in the first round of the Northern California Division I playoffs.
The No. 3 seeded Grizzlies, fresh off their first North Coast Section Division I title in 30 years, prevailed over the No. 6 Mustangs when senior stalwart Sabrina Clayton hit her 26th kill, to go along with 12 digs.
The clutch shot came off Caitlyn Quindoy's 31st assist overall, deciding a tense fifth game.
The Grizzlies faced deficits of 3-0, 4-1, 5-2 and 7-3 in the final game but would not be denied.
What made the difference in the end?
"Probably our defense and never giving up," said Clayton, who is headed to Santa Clara. "We were down in the end, and we just pushed through it. We were going all out."
Cal tied it at 13 after Clayton won a joust at the net in game five. The teams exchanged points before Homestead star outside hitter Casey Carroll's ace made it 15-14. Clayton tipped one over to tie it before Emily Reed, who had a match-high 32 kills, had a kill off the block. The Grizzlies' Jennifer Gill had a block to tie it at 16-16, Homestead then hit wide, and Clayton put the outcome to rest.
-- Matt Schwab
Menlo-Atherton d. San Ramon Valley: Host Menlo-Atherton extended its season with a 25-23, 25-22, 25-22 win over San Ramon Valley in the first round of the Division I Northern California playoffs.
The Bears will play at No. 1 seed St. Francis-Sacramento on Saturday in the NorCal semifinals.
All three games with North Coast Section runner-up San Ramon Valley were extremely close throughout with Menlo-Atherton getting a small lead and holding on. The Bears built their biggest lead of the third game at 24-18 before SRV, with sophomore Rachel Braunschweig serving, drew to within 24-22. But a kill by senior outside hitter Ali Spindt closed it out and gave Menlo-Atherton (28-7) the sweep.
"We were in the match, it was what we expected,'' San Ramon Valley coach Brian Fujinaga said. "But their outside hitters are fantastic.''
Emily Reder had 18 kills and 20 digs for San Ramon Valley (31-11). Katherine Claybaugh contributed 14 kills and 21 digs while setter Nicole Powers had 29 assists and 12 digs.
-- Glenn Reeves
St. Joseph Notre Dame d. Hamilton-Hamilton City: Phoebe Grunt had 13 kills and 10 blocks and Rebecca Langowski added 12 kills to lead the host Pilots (27-11) past the sixth-seeded Braves 25-15, 25-20, 25-20 in the first round of the Division V playoffs.
Grunt, Langowski and Emma Doud combined for 10 aces in the win, which put No. 3 St. Joseph Notre Dame into the second round of the state playoffs for the first time in the program's history. The Pilots will play at No. 2 Woodside-Priory on Saturday. Hamilton finishes 23-10.