San Juan Hills survives battle with Foothill


SANTA ANA - San Juan Hills came to Foothill for a girls volleyball first-round CIF-SS playoff game and turned it into a home game.

Feeding off the energy of the pro-Stallions crowd, they beat the Knights in five sets, 27-25, 20-25, 25-20, 19-25, 15-11, in the Division 1A contest.

In the fifth set, the teams went back and forth, but a big kill by outside hitter Chandler Ciernia helped San Juan Hills rally and build a three point lead. The Knights tried to keep the set going, but on a Stallions match point, Foothill hit the ball out of bounds and San Juan Hills held on for the victory.

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“We played solid, consistent volleyball,” San Juan Hills coach Mitzi Kincaid said. “We kept cool and pulled out the win.”

The match seemed destined to go five sets from the first serve, as both teams dove on the ground, ran into one another, battled in long rallies and put up numerous blocks.

Foothill captain and outside hitter Payton Deeds had a big match, leading the team with 20 kills, 10 digs and one ace. Carina Perez had 14 digs and Mia Merino had 16 digs for the Knights.

“We could have been more aggressive,” Deeds said. “It’s definitely bittersweet to go out this way. We did what we could, but it didn’t turn out how we wanted it to.”

“That’s a good team over there,” Foothill coach Josh Ko said. “We were able to slow them down, but we weren’t able to stop them.”

The Knights finish the season with an overall record of 13-13. 

San Juan Hills moves on to a second-round match on Thursday.

“If we run our system, we’ll be fine,” Kincaid said. “We’re ready to grind against whoever comes our way.”

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