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MIGUEL VASCONCELLOS, THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
St. Margaret's Shelby Deck, left, Gigi Morally and Alexa Vandenburg react to their team's victory over Sage Hill in the CIF Division 3A championship Saturday at Cypress College. See more photos in the OCVarsity Hot Shots slideshow.

St. Margaret's writes new chapter in 3A final

OCVARSITY.COM

CYPRESS – The championship celebration was delayed a couple of sets, but in the end St. Margaret's finally put the finishing touches on the school's sixth CIF-SS title in girls volleyball.

St. Margaret's regrouped after letting Sage Hill seize momentum to force the match to a fifth and deciding set.

Once there, the Tartans (26-3) took control, winning the set and the match, 25-20, 25-22, 11-25, 17-25, 15-8, over the Lightning (25-7) in the CIF-SS Division 3A final at Cypress College Saturday night.

"We've worked so hard as a team all season, that I knew we could come out and come together and pull out the win," St. Margaret's setter Ashley Torok said. "It was all about trusting each other."

The Tartans also had to fight against history repeating itself.

Last year in the 4AA finals, St. Margaret's won two of the first three sets, but Sage Hill rallied to win the match in five.


OCVarsity Hot Shots: CIF-SS volleyball finals


"This feels so good," Torok said. "So great ... I can't wait for the banner."

This was the third time that the teams had met in the finals with the Lightning winning both times (2005 and 2011). In the regular season, St. Margaret's won both matches, one in five sets and the other in three.

The Lightning got back into the match in the third set, as Maggie Danner connected on seven of her 23 kills. Halland McKenna had 10.

"I knew we had to come back in the fifth game with a lot more energy," St. Margaret's Gigi Morally said. "We had faith in each other. Once the fourth game ended, we had to shake it off and we knew we had to come out strong in the fifth."

Morally led St. Margaret's with 17 kills. Peighton McRobie had 14 kills and 22 digs. Torok had 38 assists.

"Their ball control and their digs, really set the tone for the match," Sage Hill coach Dan Thomassen said. "We didn't come out with that same crispness and that same fire, so I guess we were a little bit flat in that regard.

"As much as we worked on serving, we either weren't serving tough enough or they just weren't falling. So we looked a little bit tentative."

Going five sets was the road that Sage Hill traveled to get to the finals. The Lightning went five against La Sierra in the quarterfinals and against Ontario Christian in the semifinals.

"It is hard to keep up that energy," Thomassen said. "We found a way to get a great start in games three and four and then it was whoever got off to the good start in game 5 ... they definitely had momentum, but we just couldn't grab it back."

The title is the sixth for Coach Susie Maga.

"The senior leadership was great, they stepped up and said we've been fighting for this and let's go get it," Maga said. "Sage Hill came back and fought. But the girls really wanted to get this, they're our rival and we knew we had to play well to beat them."


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