Year wiser, Whittier Christian delivers title
ORANGE – Whittier Christian girls volleyball coach Shawn Hunter found his team Saturday on the same stage as a year ago.
Only this time, the Heralds came up with a different ending.
After losing to Downy in five sets in last year's finals, the Heralds stayed calm under pressure to beat Chadwick of Rolling Hills Estates, 22-25, 25-20, 25-23, 25-22, for the CIF-SS Division 2A title at Santiago Canyon College.
Kylee Wolfe led all players with 20 kills, and Jennifer Washle contributed 40 assists for the Heralds (35-3).
Abbe Holtze had 19 kills for the Dolphins (24-3), and Sarah Lucenti added 26 assists.
Whittier Christian never trailed in the final set, but the scrappy Dolphins made the Heralds work for every point down the stretch. Chadwick rallied from a 10-5 deficit, tying the score at 17, 19, and 21 before Kylie Cooke and Meghan Buchanan teamed up on the winning block.
Despite the closeness of the match, Hunter said he had faith his team would solve its problems without his intervention.
"I'm not one to call timeouts and stop the momentum, even if it's negative," said Hunter, expressing confidence in the composure of his team. "I just feel like they will find a way, and I think they found a way today."
Whittier Christian led 22-19 in the first set, but Chadwick went on a six-point run to end the set, assisted by a pair of aces from Kristen Parks.
A five-point stretch midway through the second set gave the Heralds an 18-10 lead and allowed them to tie the match at a set apiece.
The last two sets were tightly contested. Chadwick jumped out to a 13-6 lead in the third, but the Heralds responded with an extended run to trim the lead to 13-11. Whittier Christian moved in front at 18-17, and Wolfe's set-ending kill put the Heralds on top for good.