The Gregori High volleyball team's magical season is over, but its future flickers with promise.
The No. 5 Jaguars bowed out of the CIF Northern California Division 2 Championship on Tuesday, succumbing to No. 4 Las Lomas 3-1.
Gregori the two-time Modesto Metro Conference champion and the Sac-Joaquin Section's runner-up delivered the first blow with a Game 1 victory.
Las Lomas responded with victories in the next three games into a 19-25, 25-23, 25-14, 25-21 victory.
Las Lomas moved on to play top-seeded Archbishop Mitty, while Gregori pointed its team bus back toward Modesto.
The loss does little to diminish what was a banner season by the city of Modesto's youngest school. Gregori won 33 of its 37 games, outclassed every one of its city rivals and clinched the school's first Sac-Joaquin Section finals appearance.
Their ledger will show that they've closed the season with consecutive defeats Gregori lost to El Camino in the D2 section final, 3-1 but the postseason experience should prove invaluable for junior Maycie LaBass and a roster that features just one senior.
The Jaguars (33-4) were one of three Stanislaus District teams competing in a first-round NorCal game on Tuesday evening and all three suffered season-ending losses.
Eighth-seeded Ripon Christian (27-8) was defeated by No. 1 Sacred Heart Prep, 25-20, 25-22, 25-14.
Shellshocked by its first appearance in a section final, No. 7 Le Grand (21-10), the district's southernmost school, put up a game effort in its loss to Priory.
The Bulldogs went down swinging, 25-23, 25-13, 27-25.
Junior Kinsey Haas led Le Grand with 21 digs.
"We played three times better than we did at UC Davis," Le Grand coach Gia Pridell said. "If we would have played like this last week we would have been section champions. I'm very proud of my girls. We had a great season. We got a taste of it. Look out next year."
Gregori's sentiments exactly.