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Huntington Beach digs deep for playoff win
After losing the second and third sets, the Huntington Beach girls volleyball team needed something to turn around Thursday’s CIF-SS Division 1 match against Rancho Cucamonga or the end of the season would come early.
“I think the seniors came together and were just like, this can’t be our last game,” senior outside hitter Cami Sanchez said. “We came from there, then to the whole team, getting the bench up and talking and we pulled it out.”
The rest of the Oilers took the cue from their senior leader and rallied for a 25-14, 23-25, 22-25, 25-21, 15-8 home victory.
Huntington Beach (30-3) will be on the road Saturday to face Long Beach Poly in the quarterfinals.
“The serving got way better in the fourth and fifth set and we came out on fire in the first set,” Huntington Beach coach Craig Pazanti said. “Tribute to them, they played a great match and I’m just happy we got to see that from this group. Being down and not giving up and just pushing hard and it has been the same thing the whole year.”
Sanchez led the Oilers with 22 kills. Anna Carroll had 18. Maggie Baker, who played just the final three sets of the match, finished with 11 and Julia Jackson chipped in with 10.
Pazanti also credited the play of senior libero Ashley Stevens’ play that helped turned the match around.
The teams were locked in a side-out battle in the fourth set, until 13-13. The Oilers then secured the lead for good, scoring three consecutive points and never relinquished the lead.
In the fifth set, Sanchez helped the Oilers jump out to a 6-3 lead, recording four kills. Rancho Cucamonga coach Aaron Flores took his second and final timeout following a Mahina Williamson block that gave the Oilers a 9-4 lead.
“They played better and Cami caught fire late in the match,” Flores said. “I thought we did a pretty good job of neutralizing her in the first part of the match, but she’s a great player. She caught fire in the fifth.
“We had the defensive advantage through the first three sets and I feel like they took the advantage defensively. They out-dug us and out-defended us in the fourth and fifth set. That’s really what that match was about and their big players made some big plays late in the match.”
Also in Division 1:
Santa Margarita 3, Corona del Mar 0: The top-seeded Eagles (32-4) were led by Meghan McClure’s 18 kills, with Sarah Ciszek and Haley Carmo adding eight and seven, respectively in the 25-23, 25-8, 25-23 home victory.
The Eagles will visit Great Oak of Temecula in the quarterfinals.
Mater Dei 3, Los Alamitos 0: Shannon Scully led the Monarchs with 13 kills and Mia Tuaniga had seven and 17 assists in the 25-14, 25-18, 25-16 road victory.
The seond-seeded Monarchs will host Lakewood in the quarterfinals, Saturday.
Edison 3, Valencia of Valencia 0: Cassidy Dennison led the visiting Chargers with 14 kills in the 25-15, 25-17, 25-15 victory.
In Division 2
Orange Lutheran 3, Yucaipa 1: The Lancers were led by Kaylie Milton's 22 kills in the 25-19, 21-25, 25-12, 25-9 home victory.
The Lancers will visit Chino Hills in the quarterfinals.
Esperanza 3, Westlake 1: Gina Lipscomb and Avery Stowell had 22 kills apiece as the visiting Aztecs (26-7) came away with the 20-25, 25-20, 25-17, 26-24 victory.
Allana Cecillo had 24 digs. Lipscomb had 22.
Beckman 3, Notre Dame/SO 0: The Patriots advanced to the quarterfinals behing Jill Schneggenburger's 22 kills in the 28-26, 25-22, 25-14 home victory.
Hannah Schneggenburger and Hannah Graves had nine and seven kills, respectively.
The Patriots will host El Dorado in the quarterfinals.
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