A CIF Southern Section championship appearance was an unknown commodity for Glendale Adventist Academy entering the 2017 fall season.
But the Cougars' girls' volleyball team changed all that, garnering the No. 1 seed in the CIF Southern Section Division IX playoffs and claiming the school's first CIF plaque on Friday morning with a 3-1 championship win over Santa Clarita Christian School at Cerritos College.
Before the Cougars' championship triumph was a reality, however, they had already secured another first: a berth in the CIF State Division V playoffs.
On Sunday afternoon, the CIF State office released its pairings and Glendale Adventist is once again a No. 1 seed, this time in the Division V Southern California Regional playoffs and received a bye for Wednesday's first round.
The Cougars (22-5) will host the winner of a first-round matchup between No. 8 seed Maywood CES and No. 9 Excelsior Charter.
"I think we're just going to go out and have fun," GAA coach Gared Luquet said Friday following his team's Southern Section championship win. "We're going to enjoy state, have fun and not worry. Today was what our sights were on and we got what we wanted out of this season. We're just going to go enjoy ourselves, relax and go out and have fun."
The Wolfpack of Maywood CES is 18-9 and defeated Vaughn, 3-1, in Thursday's City Section Division IV championship.
Excelsior is 24-7-1 and lost in the Southern Section Division X final to Carnegie Schools Riverside on Friday.
The higher seed dictates the host school in the state playoffs, so the Cougars will host Saturday's match and every other other SoCal regional as long as their season continues.
"We won what we wanted. For me, the state playoffs is a chance to get our name out there outside our area," GAA freshman standout Elyse Knipschild said Friday. "We won't have the same pressure to win like CIF, but we still want to do well."
Regional semifinals are on Tuesday, Nov. 21 and the regional final is Friday, Nov. 25. All matches are originally set for a 7 p.m. state. The Division V State Final will be Dec. 1 at 4 p.m. at Santiago Canyon College in Orange.
"Half this team is seniors, so it will be fun to have a few more games," GAA senior Paige Singleton said Friday. "We enjoyed ending our season with a [Southern Section championship] win. Everything else is a bonus."