The Corona del Mar girls' volleyball players didn't even change expressions Saturday after losing the second game in a Southern California Regional Division I semifinal match against Laguna Beach at Corona del Mar High.
Why worry? The Sea Kings had Jennifer Stroffe, Kimberly Coleman and Kathryn Rice. And they eventually silenced the Artists, 15-7, 9-15, 15-6, 15-9.
Corona del Mar will play host to Los Altos in the State semifinals Tuesday.
Corona del Mar has had its share of volleyball heroes and champions over the years. And Stroffe, Coleman and Rice did not buck that trend Saturday, accounting for 53 of the Sea Kings' 64 kills and all of their five solo blocks.
Stroffe, a 6-foot outside hitter, had eight of her 24 kills in the first game; she had 16 kills--without being blocked, without an error--before Lisa Ravensberg and Megan Garner combined to roof her midway through the third game.
Coleman simply sneered at approaching blockers. Seven of her 15 kills were hit off the block, and she ended the match without being blocked inside.
Laguna Beach (29-8) had the same hitting percentage as Corona del Mar (29-3): 76. And both teams had eight blocks--five solo for the Sea Kings, two solo for the Artists.
But Laguna Beach could not overcome an average three-inch height deficit; Corona del Mar was taller and more composed. The Sea Kings had won both previous matches against Laguna Beach, 3-0 in nonleague play and 3-1 in a Southern Section Division I-A semifinal.
"They serve tough, they're well-coached and they dig a lot of balls," Corona del Mar Coach Lance Stewart said of Laguna Beach. "And at the high school level, if you can do that, you can get a game off people. We're just better than they are."
The Sea Kings are trying to win their third State title in four years.