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Inexperienced Glendale Adventist Academy volleyball swept by Archer

GLENDALE — A season after winning the program’s first CIF Southern Section championship, it’s likely the Glendale Adventist Academy girls’ volleyball team will not be a part of the playoff picture this season.

After losing the bulk of its starters to graduation and its coach following an historic run that culminated with a Division IX championship and a an appearance in the CIF Division V Southern California Regional title match, Glendale Adventist moved to Division VII after the CIF Southern Section office realigned the nine divisions last summer.

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Inexperience proved to be a problem for Glendale Adventist, which saw powerhouse Archer register a 25-9, 25-7, 25-13 Liberty League win Wednesday at Glendale Adventist..

“We lost a lot of starters, but it’s something we can’t dwell on,” said Glendale Adventist coach Sabrina Shahbandeh, who took over for Gared Luquet. “The older players stayed positive throughout the season and did everything they could to help the younger players.

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“There was pressure coming into the season because everybody now knows us after what we did last year. We just needed to play better. We have a lot of players who can get better, and they will.”

Glendale Adventist (10-11, 1-7 in league) will close out the regular season Thursday with a nonleague home match versus San Gabriel Academy. The CIF playoff pairings will be unveiled Saturday, though Glendale Adventist will finish last in a difficult league that includes Archer and Buckley. Archer won the Division VIiI championship and Buckley took the Division VIII crown last season and the two went neck-and-neck to vie for the league title this season.

Archer, ranked second in Division V behind Grace Brethren, wrapped up at least a share for the league title Wednesday after recording 18 aces against Glendale Adventist. The Panthers received a match-high five aces from Lily Moro. Moro had five straight aces in the second set to frustrate the Cougars, who were swept by the Panthers on Sept. 25.

“It was an off-day for our serve-receive,” said Shahbandeh, who was Luquet’s assistant the previous three seasons. “That’s usually been one of our strengths, but we were off on that and with our passing.”

Glendale Adventist took a 4-1 lead in the first set, only to see Archer counter with a 11-0 run to take a 12-4 advantage. Archer’s Alizeh Jarrahy had four aces during the run.The Panthers capped the set by finishing on a 5-1 run, spearheaded by a kill from Vaughan Anao’i.

Archer began the second game with a 15-2 run and extended the lead to 20-6. The Panthers ended on a 5-0 run to take a 2-0 lead.

Glendale Adventist led briefly at 1-0 in the third set before Archer raced to an 11-4 advantage. The Cougars couldn’t get any closer than 17-10, and some steady serving and hitting helped the Panthers complete the sweep.

Cydney Johnson finished with a match-best 20 kills for Archer.

Glendale Adventist was led by sophomore outside hitter Elyse Knipschild, a reigning All-Area pick, who had seven kills.

“We only had two starters from last year’s team in Liana {Salvador] and myself,” Knipschild said. “We had some new players this year who didn’tt have much experience and didn’t have a lot of playing time coming into the season.

“I think we’ll be better next year and we just need to continue to grow as a team.”

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