The members of Central Valley High School's varsity volleyball team headed to Placerville at 2:30 p.m.
The expected two-plus-hour drive took much longer.
"We got there at 7," Hawks head coach Kelly Heese said. "We had some bus issues. The girls were worn out before we got there. They weren't mentally ready."
Fifteenth-seeded Central Valley lost 25-12, 25-18, 25-11 at No. 2 El Dorado in the opening-round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-III playoffs on Nov. 10.
"I'm not undermining the other team," Heese said. "We were equally as talented. We didn't play to our potential. It's great that we got to the playoffs. I believe we had the potential to go further."
The Hawks challenged the Cougars during the second game.
"We competed very well," Heese said. "We had a lead at one time."
El Dorado (27-7, 10-0 Sierra Valley Conference) lost by upset, 25-18, 26-24, 26-24, to No. 7 Vanden in the quarterfinals on Nov. 12.
Central Valley compiled a 15-4 overall record and finished second in the Western Athletic Conference (10-3) this year.
The Hawks secured their second straight playoff berth.
"Every single one of the girls improved throughout the season," Heese said. "What they did on the court was impressive. They have a ton of heart. I have a great relationship with each of my girls."
El Capitan (12-0) and Los Banos (9-4) took first and third, respectively, in the conference standings.
Central Valley won two of three matches versus four-time defending WAC-champion Los Banos.
The Hawks reached unprecedented heights under third-year leader Heese.
Central Valley accomplished several firsts in 2014 when it qualified for the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs and compiled a winning record.
The Hawks placed third in the WAC (8-5).
Central Valley had the fourth-best team in conference play (5-7) and just missed advancing to the postseason during Heese's first year as head coach.
"It's very rewarding," Heese said while talking about Central Valley's remarkable turnaround. "But it's not about me."
Central Valley will lose three key players to graduation: Julia Ramsey, Ellysa Widas and Alyssa Costa.
Ramsey was a three-year standout.
Widas and Costa both suited up for the Hawks for two seasons.
"Every school goes through it," said Heese, whose team will face a rebuilding year next fall. "I've already been training girls following under them. We do have a lot of talent."
Sophomore Mariana Garibay will fill a starring role on next season's team.
"My hope is to make her the next Julia," Heese said. "I have a lot of support from her family. She's coachable. She's an amazing young woman."