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Edison's Taylor Gray celebrates her team's victory over Menlo-Atherton. Edison defeated Menlo-Atherton in the CIF State Division I championship at Santiago Canyon College. in Orange on Friday, December 2, 2016. (Photo by bill alkofer,, orange county register/SCNG)

Edison excited to put first state title on its highlight reel

STAFF WRITER

ORANGE – For a season that saw the Edison girls volleyball team venture into new territory for the program, the Chargers had the perfect ending Friday.

Playing in their first CIF State final, the Chargers swept Menlo-Atherton of Atherton, 25-20, 25-20, 25-18, in the Division I final at Santiago Canyon College.

“It is a great way to end the season,” Edison senior outside hitter Hannah Phair said. “It has been so much fun playing with all of these girls, I’m going to miss them so much, but it was great to go out with a bang.

“Coach always told us during the whole season, ‘don’t let this be the highlight of your season,’ and now we’re finally allowed to have something be the highlight of our season.”

The Chargers relied on a balanced attack to lead defeat Menlo-Atherton (30-6), making its second consecutive in the state final. Phair led the way with 13 kills. Cassidy Dennison and Taylor Gray had 10 apiece, and Kristen Austin added seven.

Lindsey Sparks finished with 37 assists and Dani Dennison had 19 digs.

The only real moment of danger the Chargers (36-8) faced came in the third set. The Bears, who were fighting to extend the match, had a 16-12 lead, but the Chargers responded with an 11-0 run. Moments later, they were celebrating their victory after Phair’s 13th kill fell to the floor.

A sign of Edison’s dominance in the first two sets was that there were only two lead changes combined for both sets.

Edison’s performance followed a three-set sweep of Huntington Beach in the SoCal Regional final, which Coach Matt Skolnik said was one of their best matches of the year.

“I’m so proud of all of the girls,” Skolnik said. “They battled all year, and culminating it with playing our best volleyball at the end of the year. I’m excited to bring home our first state championship.”

The Chargers were eliminated in the quarterfinals of the CIF-SS Division 1 playoffs, but received new life with the SoCal regional tournament, in which they were seeded second.

Edison opened the regional with consecutive sweeps and then had to survive a five-set thriller against Lakewood.

Those were the only two sets they lost during their second chance at playoff glory.

“This game is not only a physical game, but it is also a mental game,” senior outside hitter Cassidy Dennison said. “We could have taken that loss (in the CIF-SS quarterfinals) two different ways. One way we could have been, ‘you know what, that’s it, that’s the end of our season.’ But we’re a pretty motivated team and we wanted to just get in there, work hard and this was our new goal.

“We weren’t looking back at what happened, we were looking at what was forward.”

Contact the writer: dcalhoun@scng.com


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