The match was played at night, a near-extinct concept within the parameters of City Section volleyball.
Adding to the playoff-like atmosphere were flyers posted all around the Kennedy High campus, citing date and time.
And, of course, a pair of teams that are shoo-ins for the playoffs, Kennedy and Chatsworth, completed the postseason simulation in their Northwest Valley Conference match Thursday.
The winner and still champion was Chatsworth by a 15-8, 15-11, 15-2 decision.
The Chancellors, who won the conference title last season and became the first area City team to win the 4-A championship, looked like contenders again, particularly in the third game, which lasted less than 15 minutes.
"This feels like the playoffs," said Jennifer Joseph, who had 20 kills for Chatsworth. "It was a night game and there was intensity."
Especially in the final game, when Chatsworth (16-1, 7-0 in conference play) dominated the Golden Cougars (5-3, 5-2).
Joseph scored the first five points on a block and four kills, and the Chancellors' height advantage--middle blockers Tynitra Wilson and Shea Carson are each 6-foot-1--provided a double whammy.
"If we play like that, consistently, there's a very good chance we will be contenders for the [4-A] championship," Chatsworth Coach Bud Dow said.
Chatsworth, which likes to attack quickly and precisely, didn't always dictate the pace of the match.
Kennedy's scrappy, digging defense forced several sideouts in a 40-minute first game.
The Golden Cougars also had their moments in the second game, even taking a 10-9 lead, before Chatsworth regained control.
Kennedy was stung when captain Christine Thach (eight kills, four blocks) sprained her right ankle early in the second game.
"That hurt her jumping," said Kennedy Coach Mike Stanton, who received a strong effort from Melissa Kuhn (12 kills). "We were going pretty well, but a few things and a few calls didn't go our way."
Chatsworth, which got seven kills and five blocks from Wilson and five blocks from Carson, has many things going its way.
Experience (seven seniors), height, balance (Michelle George added five kills and five blocks) and the knowledge that they won the City title last season could spell a solid postseason for Chatsworth.
"They definitely look as good as last year," Stanton said.