STATE DIVISION I VOLLEYBALL PLAYOFFS : Corona del Mar Pushed to Limit but Advances


For the second consecutive time, the Corona del Mar High School girls' volleyball team flirted with disaster in the Southern California Division I regional tournament.

And for the second consecutive time, the Sea Kings found a way to win.

Middle blocker Tahlia Wagner had 16 kills, and outside hitter Tracy Schriber added 12 as the top-seeded Sea Kings rallied in the final two games for a 15-12, 10-15, 13-15, 15-3, 15-6 victory over unseeded Poway in a second-round regional game Saturday at Corona del Mar.

Corona del Mar (26-1) advanced to Tuesday night's regional final, where it will play host to San Jose Lynbrook, which defeated the Sea Kings in last year's regional final. Finalists in the Northern and Southern regionals are cross-matched.

Heather Burke and Shana Purvis each had 10 kills for Poway (23-6).

The Sea Kings, who struggled in a four-game victory over Notre Dame Academy in the first round, extended their winning streak to 24 despite 36 hitting errors.

It was only the third time this season Corona del Mar has been pushed to five games. The others were a victory over El Toro and a loss to La Habra in the semifinals of the Orange County championships.

"We weren't on tonight," Corona del Mar Coach Dale Flickinger said. "But we came right back and found a way to win."

Trailing two games to one, Corona del Mar built a 12-2 lead in the fourth game behind two aces by outside hitter Stacy Petersen and four kills by outside hitter Charmayne Conley, who had come off the bench.

Wagner and setter Prentice Perkins added two kills apiece, and middle blocker Lara Carlsen had one to give the Sea Kings a 15-3 victory.

"We have a lot of faith in Conley," Flickinger said. "She helped us get through (the Southern Section) semifinals last week. She played well tonight."

Wagner, a transfer from Rim of the World High, continued her strong play in the fifth game. She had two kills, two aces and a block, and Schriber added four kills as Corona del Mar raced to a 10-2 lead and was never challenged.

"When we were down two games to one, I felt we would reach back," Flickinger said. "We played much better than we did (in the first round).

"Poway has the best offense we have seen this year. They have strong hitters outside and in the middle."

Carlsen had 12 kills, Petersen 10 and Perkins eight kills and three aces to lead a balanced Corona del Mar attack.

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