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CIF volleyball championship previews
SATURDAY'S CIF-SS GIRLS VOLLEYBALL CHAMPIONSHIPS
Tickets: $5 for student w/current high school ID; $9 general admission
EL DORADO (Century League champion, 20-13) vs. LA SALLE of PASADENA (Del Rey champion, 33-2)
Where, When: Santiago Canyon College, 5 p.m.
Outlook: One of these teams will win its first CIF title. The Golden Hawks are on a 13-match winning streak dating back to Sept. 25. This is the first finals appearance for El Dorado, which has defeated Chino, Hart, top-seeded St. Lucy's of Glendora and Capistrano Valley to advance. Kelly Claes has figured prominently in this run by the Golden Hawks. The junior is averaging 15 kills, 25 assists and 10 digs a match in the playoffs. Rebecca Bonaker, Tess Hirschler and Tess Hultgren combined for 26 kills in the semifinal victory over Capistrano Valley. La Salle is the second seed in the division. Aside from two five-set victories in the playoffs (Redlands East Valley and Bishop Montgomery), the Lancers have swept 12 of their last 15 matches. Sophomore outside hitter Haley DeSales had 26 kills and 13 digs in the semifinal victory over Bishop Montgomery.
WHITTIER CHRISTIAN (Olympic League champion, 34-3) vs. CHADWICK of PALOS VERDES (Prep League champion, 28-2)
Where, when: Santiago Canyon College, 11:30 a.m.
Outlook: This is a meeting of league champions. The top-seeded Heralds are back for their second consecutive CIF finals appearance. They're hopeful of a better ending than last year. Whittier Christian lost to Downey in five sets in last year's final. The Dolphins, the second seed, won consecutive titles at 3AA before moving up this year. Whittier Christian has lost only one set in the playoffs. In the semifinal victory over Yorba Linda, junior libero Nicole Santos had 18 digs and setter Jennifer Washle had 29 assists and 11 digs. The Dolphins have won 18 consecutive matches coming into the finals. In the semifinal victory over Pasadena Poly, Emily Newton and Abbe Holtze led Chadwick with 10 kills apiece.
ST. MARGARET'S (Academy League champion, 25-3) vs. SAGE HILL (Academy League, 2, 19-7)
Where, when: Cypress College, 7:30 p.m.
Outlook: It shouldn't be a surprise that these two teams are meeting in the finals again. This is the third time that the Academy League rivals have met in the finals, including last year. Sage Hill has won both matches, the first was in 2005. St. Margaret's won both league matches between the teams, Oct. 2 in five sets and Oct. 19 in a sweep. Sage Hill finished tied for second in the Academy League, three games behind St. Margaret's. After two sweeps, the Lightning has had to survive two five-set thrillers. In the quarterfinals, Sage Hills won the first two sets against La Sierra of Riverside, only to lose the next two. Sage Hill won the fifth set 15-10. In the semifinals against Ontario Christian, the Lightning split the first four sets, before winning the fifth, 15-6. Maggie Danner led Sage Hill with 21 kills. Kekai Whitford and Halland McKenna had 15 and 12 kills, respectively.
SADDLEBACK VALLEY CHRISTIAN (San Joaquin League champion, 28-4) vs. HEMET (Mountain Pass League champion, 22-5)
Where, when: Cypress College, 9 a.m.
Outlook: The top two seeds are left standing in this division. The Bulldogs, who are the defending 4A champions, are the second seed. The Mountain Pass League champions defeated Loara in the semifinals, 25-14, 25-16, 25-17. The Bulldogs have only lost one set in their past seven matches. This is the third finals appearance for Saddleback Valley Christian. The Warriors lost in the 5A final in 2006 and in the 5AA final in 2009, both to Connelly. After a first-round bye, SVC has swept its first three playoff opponents (Don Lugo, Ocean View and San Jacinto). Middle blocker Chelsea Duhs signed with Mississippi State earlier this week.
ST. MONICA ACADEMY of PASADENA (International League champion, 24-5-1) vs. ORANGEWOOD ACADEMY (Express League champion, 21-4)
Where, when: Cypress College, 5:30 p.m.
Outlook: The Spartans are the third-seed and enter the finals coming off of their upset victory over second-seeded Temecula Prep, 17-25, 25-15, 28-26, 25-13. This is the second CIF-SS finals appearance for a sport at Orangewood Academy. Last year, the girls basketball team won the Division 6 title. The school of fewer than 100 students swept Baker Valley, Nuview Bridge of Nuevo to open the playoffs. Celeste Rivero had 11 kills in the quarterfinals and 15 against Temecula Prep in the semifinals. The match was moved from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. because, as a Seventh Day Adventist school, Orangewood Academy can't participate in sports between sundown Friday and sundown Saturday. Top-seeded St. Monica swept Riverside Christian, 25-20, 25-8, 25-21 in the semifinals.