Loara storms into Div. 4AA semifinals


ANAHEIM – Cilla and Lauga Gauta combined for 18 kills as Loara kept its magical run alive by sweeping Connelly, 25-17, 25-21, 25-23, Saturday night in the CIF-SS Division 4AA girls vollebayll quarterfinals at Loara High.

Cierra Boaz had 16 assists, and Cilla Gauta provided three solo blocks. Connelly’s Haylie Butler had a game-high 30 assists.

Loara had not been to the quarterfinals in 26 years, according to Coach Allison Somers.

“It’s pretty amazing,” said Somers. “For these girls to be undefeated is just unheard of.”

The Saxons (22-0) used a powerful front court to oust the Koalas (21-11), last year’s Division 4A finalist. Connelly lost to Hemet in the championship match last season.

The Saxons will be host to Hemet, the defending 4AA champions, in the semifinals on Tuesday. Hemet defeated Colony of Ontario, 23-25, 25-15, 25-17, 25-16, in their quarterfinal match.

Loara took the first set without much trouble. The Koalas led, 8-7, but the Saxons erased that lead with a 4-0 run on their way to claiming the one-set advantage.

Connelly jumped out to a three-point lead in the second set. The lead stood up until the Saxons put together a six-point swing to go up 16-13. Cilla Gauta was the key player in the set, using her serve to set up the extended run and providing the decisive kill to end the set.

Loara wrapped up the match by pulling out a close third set. Connelly led by as many as 5, but the Saxons chipped away at the lead. A three-point run gave the Saxons their first lead of the game at 22-21, and Boaz delivered the final kill to send Loara to the semifinals.


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