HIGH SCHOOL VOLLEYBALL : Torrey Pines Knocks Off Mira Costa

You won't find nicknames such as "Killer Bees" or "The Iron Curtain" here, but on Saturday night Torrey Pines girls' volleyball team looked like both.

"Defense wins points," said Torrey Pines Coach Jim Harrah, words his team backed up by building a wall around Mira Costa (Manhattan Beach) and knocking them out of the Division I Southern California Regional playoffs with a 15-17, 15-12, 15-5, 15-9 semifinal victory.

In case there's some confusion, that's defending state champion Mira Costa, a school that has won three state titles and finished runner-up twice since 1982.

Torrey Pines will meet the winner of the Northern regional semifinal, either Mountain View St. Francis or Concord Carondelet Tuesday night at the winner's site. This is the first time a San Diego section team has reached the Division I semifinals.

The Falcons (31-2) and Mira Costa split the first two games.

But as if to spare the anxiety another night of five-game matches might cause, the Falcons came up with impossible digs, picture-perfect passes and kills that hit all the lines, and iced the third game, 15-5.

"It helped," Peters said of the third game. "We really controlled the momentum. And tonight, we did really well on our defense."

Said Dae Lea Aldrich, Mira Costa coach: "Torrey Pines played well, really, really well. In that third game, we lost our hitting, they blocked us well, and we made mistake after mistake."

Mira Costa is a team that the Falcons see a lot of themselves in--tall, strong outside hitting and relentless defense.

The difference was that the Falcons were able to shut down the cruel hitting power of Cindy De Garceau and the blocking of Jennifer Smith.

"We went for the juggler," Harrah said. "We blocked aggressively, we stopped their outside hitting and we never backed down."

Torrey Pines was given a extra push when a rotation error by Mira Costa cost them a 3-1 lead in the fourth game. The score was changed to 1-0, and the Falcons jumped out of a 6-1 lead they never relinquished.

Brett Hensel led Torrey Pines with 15 kills. Peters added 11.

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