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Los Alamitos claims Division 2 girls' volleyball title

The Los Alamitos High girls’ volleyball team spent its offseason stewing over an early exit from the 2017 postseason.

The Griffins were dispatched by Rancho Santa Margarita Tesoro in a sweep during the first round of the Southern Section Division 1 playoffs last year, something that didn’t sit well with Abby Karich or her returning teammates.

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“Ever since our summer training workouts, we said we wanted a CIF championship and were going to do everything it took to get there,” Karich said. “We had to redeem ourselves because we are not a team that loses in the first round.”

The Los Alamitos redemption tour of 2018 culminated in the Division 2 championship match, a 25-19, 21-25, 25-15, 25-16 victory over Mission Viejo Trabuco Hills Saturday at Cerritos College.

The Griffins (24-13) took home their first section title since 2013 when they upended Mater Dei in the Division 1AA finals.

“We have a group of girls who kept that culture and tradition alive and still had [championship] expectations,” Los Alamitos coach David Huber said. “To be able to give them that feeling is pretty awesome.”

The Griffins’ hitters proved to be a dominant force on the outside as junior Karich and sophomore Starr Williams had 18 and 14 kills, respectively. Williams hit with 35.5% accuracy.

Trabuco Hills (28-12) stole the second set as Jenna Walsh and Kendall Anselmo did the majority of the damage, recording six and five kills, respectively.

Huber said he stressed communication to his team.

“For some reason we looked sluggish in game two,” Huber said. “We didn’t have the same sense of urgency, so we got back to over-communicating and focusing on the next point every time.”

Los Alamitos bounced-back quickly as it has all season long, regaining control in the third set and flying through the remainder of the match.

“This team has been a rollercoaster team,” Karich said. “We’ve had a lot of ups and downs, but the fact that we’ve pushed through injuries and tough losses makes this mean that much more for us.”

Trabuco Hills’ Walsh recorded a match-high 19 kills.

In the Division 3 final, Sun Valley Village Christian breezed by Laguna Beach, 25-19, 25-19, 25-11, in a three set sweep, winning its first CIF-SS championship since 2015 when it defeated Palos Verdes Peninsula Chadwick in the 2AA title match.

Emma Napoleon finished with a match-high 13 kills, while Mackenzie Jensen added eight and Payton Hudspeth contributed seven.

Kendall Jensen dished out a match-high 32 assists for the Crusaders, who closed out the season with a nine-game winning streak and finished with a 36-9 overall record.

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Cambria Hall and Piper Naess paced the Breakers (18-13) with nine kills apiece. Soren Patchell finished with a team-high 23 assists

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