ALAMEDA -- The St. Joseph Notre Dame High girls volleyball team advanced to the California Interscholastic Federation Northern Regional Division V championship match with an epic 24-26, 25-21, 24-26, 25-14, 15-12 win over visiting Vacaville Christian on Saturday.
The Pilots (32-9) will play Branson-Ross in the Northern California finals on Tuesday at the College of Marin in a rematch of the North Coast Section championship match that was won by Branson.
Branson defeated Bradshaw Christian-Sacramento in three games in the other Division V regional semifinal.
Emma Doud had a monster match for the Pilots with 14 kills and 18 digs. She also made the play of the match in the fifth set.
With the Pilots leading 11-9 in the final set, Doud chased down the ball in the corner and lofted it perfectly just over the net in front of three Falcons players for a pivotal point. Rebecca Langowski, who had a game-high 27 kills, nailed the game-winner with a spike between two Falcons players.
Dana Pineda and Allie Oilar did a tremendous job spreading the ball around for the Pilots. Pineda had 24 assists and Oilar added 20 for St. Joseph Notre Dame.
With the set tied one set apiece, the Pilots looked as if they would take a 2-1 lead as they had a 23-19 advantage in the third set. But Vacaville Christian scored seven of the next eight points.
St. Joseph came out strong in the fourth set by jumping out to a 9-1 lead and was never threatened to force a winner-take-all final set.
Ari Bio led the Falcons (27-10) with 24 kills.
Valley Christian-San Jose d. Bishop O'Dowd: The visiting Dragons took the first set off the top-seeded Warriors but couldn't hold off the Central Coast Section champions, who went on to a 21-25, 25-13, 25-20, 25-18 in a Division III second round match.
Bishop O'Dowd, the NCS Division III champion, finishes the season with a 27-10 record.
Valley Christian advances to the regional championship game on Tuesday against Sacred Heart Cathedral-San Francisco. Valley Christian beat the Irish in four games in the CCS section title match on Nov. 23.