Branson falls short in road loss to Monte Vista


Shun Graves

Elena Fisher faces Monte Vista players in Danville, Sept. 2. Branson’s first loss this season highlighted points for improvement, coach Michelle Brazil said.

By Shun Graves

DANVILLE — It came down to the fourth set, but this time the opponent defeated Branson’s girls varsity volleyball team.

Danville’s Monte Vista (7-1) mounted an attack Friday night that tested the defense by Branson (2-1). The tight game began late after a bus snafu pushed back the hour-long drive to the San Ramon Valley.

The game also started slowly, with the Bulls dropping the first set, 25-10. Some balls hit the low ceiling of the Monte Vista court as the team struggled to counter a strong attack.

We need to work on not giving points away,” coach Michelle Brazil said. “Last night it wasn’t as detrimental to the final result, but against a better team, some things aren’t going to work.”

And as with the first two games, Branson’s offense picked up in the second set, which remained tight. Logan Tusher had eight kills and Elena Fisher had three, leading to a 25-20 set win. Yet the strenuous back-and-forth at the net continued.

We need to work on not giving points away.

— Michelle Brazil

The final two sets proved similarly tight, but Monte Vista’s middle attack won out. Despite kills and aces from Fisher and Tusher, several defensive errors meant the opponent clinched the third set, 25-21, and the fourth set, 25-18.

“I feel that we can only get better from here,” Cayman Stein said. “I feel like we’re a really strong team, but we just need to mesh together over time.”

Non-league play continues after the Bulls’ first defeat. Branson will face Archbishop Mitty, last year’s Open Division nemesis, and Saint Francis in a home double-header Sept. 10.

“If we want to play in the mix, we need to play those two teams and see how we stack up and see where we need to get better,” Brazil said. “I think, either way, whatever happens, it’s going to be positive.”

In the intervening week, Branson will work on reducing lost points. Brazil said the team must build on what it has already practiced.

“There have been a lot of things that I’ve been talking about in practice in terms of getting better that we’ve been subtly doing, but not fast enough,” she added. “I think this is a great kick in the pants that I feel was needed.”