Los Alamitos' Jojo Schnabl spikes the ball over Newport Harbor players.
Go to the "OCVarsity Hot Shots: Championship Saturday" slide show to see all of the photos from this match.

Los Alamitos sweeps 1AA final for perfect playoff run


CYPRESS - The best response the Los Alamitos girls volleyball team could have offered after being swept by Edison in the final match of the regular season was to be perfect.

That’s just what the second-seeded Griffins did.

Los Alamitos completed a sweep through the CIF-SS Division 1AA playoffs with its 25-17, 26-24, 25-23 victory over Sunset League rival Newport Harbor on Saturday night at Cypress College.


OCVarsity Hot Shots: Championship Saturday

Updated CIF-SS girls volleyball playoff brackets


“I wasn’t quite sure how we would respond,” Los Alamitos coach Dave Huber said about the loss to Edison. “They said the right things, but saying we’re going to bounce back and using it for motivation and actually getting in the gym and doing it are two different things.”

The lost to Edison cost Los Alamitos (35-3) the top seed in the 1AA playoffs and the outright Sunset League title.

“I was proud of how they responded,” Huber said. “Having a week off after that loss to get ready (for the playoffs) helped us because slowly each day got a little bit more toward the point where we needed to be when the playoffs started.”

The Griffins didn’t lose a game in the playoffs and won their first CIF title since 2005 and the first under Huber. The victory was the third this season for the Los Alamitos over Newport Harbor. The Griffins lost just one game to the Sailors.

JoJo Schnabl led Los Alamitos with 14 kills. Alijah Gunsaulus had 12, Chrissy Jones had 10 and Jaylen Villanueva eight.

“We’ve been close, at least in the semis, the last four years, so to get over the top and get this, feels great,” Huber said.

In the second game, the Sailors (25-9) rallied from 24-20 to tie at 24-24. After that, the Griffins put the game away on kills from Gunsaulus and Schnabl.

After trailing, 18-8, in the third game, Newport Harbor rallied for a 20-18 lead. But the Griffins hung around and take a 23-22 lead and go on for the victory, putting the finishing touches on the CIF-SS playoffs.

“We took that Edison loss as there are teams out there that can beat us, so we came back and refocused,” Gunsaulus said. “We settled down and played as a family and it worked for us.

“I wanted to be in the CIF finals for my senior year and I knew we could do it, but I just didn’t know if the girls wanted it as bad as some of the others did and it showed tonight and throughout the playoffs.”

Cinnamon Sary led Newport Harbor with 13 kills. Kasey Thompson and Carolyn Bockrath both had eight.

The Sailors and the Griffins will now turn their attention to the CIF State playoffs, which begin Tuesday. Both teams have won state titles. Los Alamitos won in 2006 and Newport Harbor won in 2009.

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