Sports

Pleasanton Preps: After tough opening schedule, Foothill football eyes new start in division play

Also: Falcons win five-set thrillers in girls' volleyball

There are two ways to approach non-league high school football scheduling.

One, schedule tough games where winning and losing is not as important as is getting the team ready for the league season.

Foothill v. San Ramon Valley game action. (Photo by Bruce Baesemann)

Two, play an easier schedule, get the wins and give the team confidence heading into league action.

There is no concrete answer as to which is best, as it is more of a personal preference.

For Foothill, it's the former. This year the Falcons won their first two games, then dropped four straight contests against pretty good programs, and entered East Bay Athletic League division play 2-4.

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In addition, the Falcons have been hit hard by the injury bug, losing big-time players for the season.

"Our injury situation has been ridiculous," Foothill coach Greg Haubner said. "It is tough to overcome significant injuries. But the kids have been getting more consistent, and they are certainly not lacking effort."

The perseverance was rewarded with a 41-0 win over previously unbeaten Dougherty Valley to open EBAL Valley Division play last week.

"It sends confidence to the kids," Haubner said of the big win. "Those were some darn tough teams on the front end of the schedule."

The Falcons find themselves heading into the second week of Valley play taking on another unbeaten team in Livermore.

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The Cowboys appear to be the biggest threat to dethrone Foothill, the defending Valley champs. They are also coming off a bye, giving them two weeks to focus on the Falcons.

"Every team we play the rest of the way out, we are playing a team that is coming off a bye week, giving them two weeks to prepare for us," Haubner said, almost laughing.

Livermore has been flawless this year, scoring points and playing big defense. In addition, the Cowboys are in their first season with their new athletic facilities, an emotional boost for sure.

"Facilities don't get you wins, but they bring enthusiasm, and you can see it with them," Haubner said.

If the Falcons can get the job done against an unbeaten team for the second straight week, they will sit 2-0 at the halfway point of division play.

"If we can get over this week, it will put us in a good position," Haubner said. "But Livermore is a very solid team."

Foothill girls' water polo

I love it when I see high school athletic teams get involved in community events that take place outside of their sport.

Foothill varsity coach Mark Williams, his varsity and junior varsity staff, as well as the players, spent some time working with Kids Against Hunger, a nonprofit group located in Pleasanton.

Everyone involved donated money to cover the cost of the food items, then spent time packing, weighing and sealing the food bags for delivery. In all, the group packaged enough to feed over 7,400 people.

"They had a great time bonding as a team while working side-by-side to help those in need," Williams said. "There was a short video during the break that provided the backstory on the program and where the food goes."

Girls' volleyball

The Foothill girls' volleyball team had a monster week of Oct. 3, going on the road to win a pair of five-set thrillers.

The week started with a 20-25, 22-25, 25-18, 25-18, 15-7 comeback over California where the Falcons rallied from a 2-0 set deficit.

The highlights came from Paige Bennett (23 kills, 19 digs), Kaycie Burdick (18 kills, 18 digs), Tehya Willamson (19 digs, 15 service points), and Helena Greene (4 kills, 4 blocks).

The second match saw the Falcons drop the first set, then rally for another winner, beating Dublin 16-25, 25-18, 25-19, 26-28, 15-9.

This time it was the play of Katie Salonga (62 assists - season high; 12 digs), Bennett (37 kills - season high; 19 digs, 11 service points), Burdick (27 kills - season high; 9 digs) and Ema Okuhara (15 digs, 12 service points, 5 kills).

Across town, the entire Amador Valley volleyball program turned pink on Oct. 4 for their annual Dig Pink fundraising event in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

The program came together to raise funds for HERS Breast Cancer Foundation, a local nonprofit whose mission is to support all individuals healing from breast cancer by providing post-surgical products and services.

Amador dusted Granada 25-19, 25-9, 25-10 to complete the big night. Sophomore middle blockers, Charlotte Kelly and Sydney Goldstein led the team with nine and six kills respectively.

The Dons ended the week beating Livermore 25-17, 25-3, 25-18.

Editor's note: Dennis Miller is a contributing sports writer for the Pleasanton Weekly. To contact him about his Pleasanton Preps column, email [email protected]

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Pleasanton Preps: After tough opening schedule, Foothill football eyes new start in division play

Also: Falcons win five-set thrillers in girls' volleyball

by Dennis Miller / Pleasanton Weekly

Uploaded: Tue, Oct 11, 2022, 2:35 pm

There are two ways to approach non-league high school football scheduling.

One, schedule tough games where winning and losing is not as important as is getting the team ready for the league season.

Two, play an easier schedule, get the wins and give the team confidence heading into league action.

There is no concrete answer as to which is best, as it is more of a personal preference.

For Foothill, it's the former. This year the Falcons won their first two games, then dropped four straight contests against pretty good programs, and entered East Bay Athletic League division play 2-4.

In addition, the Falcons have been hit hard by the injury bug, losing big-time players for the season.

"Our injury situation has been ridiculous," Foothill coach Greg Haubner said. "It is tough to overcome significant injuries. But the kids have been getting more consistent, and they are certainly not lacking effort."

The perseverance was rewarded with a 41-0 win over previously unbeaten Dougherty Valley to open EBAL Valley Division play last week.

"It sends confidence to the kids," Haubner said of the big win. "Those were some darn tough teams on the front end of the schedule."

The Falcons find themselves heading into the second week of Valley play taking on another unbeaten team in Livermore.

The Cowboys appear to be the biggest threat to dethrone Foothill, the defending Valley champs. They are also coming off a bye, giving them two weeks to focus on the Falcons.

"Every team we play the rest of the way out, we are playing a team that is coming off a bye week, giving them two weeks to prepare for us," Haubner said, almost laughing.

Livermore has been flawless this year, scoring points and playing big defense. In addition, the Cowboys are in their first season with their new athletic facilities, an emotional boost for sure.

"Facilities don't get you wins, but they bring enthusiasm, and you can see it with them," Haubner said.

If the Falcons can get the job done against an unbeaten team for the second straight week, they will sit 2-0 at the halfway point of division play.

"If we can get over this week, it will put us in a good position," Haubner said. "But Livermore is a very solid team."

Foothill girls' water polo

I love it when I see high school athletic teams get involved in community events that take place outside of their sport.

Foothill varsity coach Mark Williams, his varsity and junior varsity staff, as well as the players, spent some time working with Kids Against Hunger, a nonprofit group located in Pleasanton.

Everyone involved donated money to cover the cost of the food items, then spent time packing, weighing and sealing the food bags for delivery. In all, the group packaged enough to feed over 7,400 people.

"They had a great time bonding as a team while working side-by-side to help those in need," Williams said. "There was a short video during the break that provided the backstory on the program and where the food goes."

Girls' volleyball

The Foothill girls' volleyball team had a monster week of Oct. 3, going on the road to win a pair of five-set thrillers.

The week started with a 20-25, 22-25, 25-18, 25-18, 15-7 comeback over California where the Falcons rallied from a 2-0 set deficit.

The highlights came from Paige Bennett (23 kills, 19 digs), Kaycie Burdick (18 kills, 18 digs), Tehya Willamson (19 digs, 15 service points), and Helena Greene (4 kills, 4 blocks).

The second match saw the Falcons drop the first set, then rally for another winner, beating Dublin 16-25, 25-18, 25-19, 26-28, 15-9.

This time it was the play of Katie Salonga (62 assists - season high; 12 digs), Bennett (37 kills - season high; 19 digs, 11 service points), Burdick (27 kills - season high; 9 digs) and Ema Okuhara (15 digs, 12 service points, 5 kills).

Across town, the entire Amador Valley volleyball program turned pink on Oct. 4 for their annual Dig Pink fundraising event in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

The program came together to raise funds for HERS Breast Cancer Foundation, a local nonprofit whose mission is to support all individuals healing from breast cancer by providing post-surgical products and services.

Amador dusted Granada 25-19, 25-9, 25-10 to complete the big night. Sophomore middle blockers, Charlotte Kelly and Sydney Goldstein led the team with nine and six kills respectively.

The Dons ended the week beating Livermore 25-17, 25-3, 25-18.

Editor's note: Dennis Miller is a contributing sports writer for the Pleasanton Weekly. To contact him about his Pleasanton Preps column, email [email protected]

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