As they were introduced before the game Saturday, Calvary Chapel players stepped forward, one by one, and waved to the crowd.

And soon thereafter, they were waving goodby to Santa Ynez.

The top-seeded Eagles, for the second match in a row in the Southern California Regional tournament, needed only three games to advance toward their first State title match. Calvary Chapel scored a 15-9, 15-10, 15-2 victory over Santa Ynez in the Division IV semifinals.

The Eagles (20-1) play host to Bakersfield Centennial, which beat Cerritos Valley Christian, Tuesday, and a victory there would move them to the title match.

But first things first.

Courtney Owens, Calvary Chapel's best hitter, did not play on the front line for the second consecutive match because of a strained abdominal muscle. The injury has plagued her all month. She only played in the back row.

Stepping to the forefront in Owens' place was Lynn Lovingier, a 5-foot-10 junior, who responded with 13 kills against the Pirates.

"She was the equal of anyone we've seen so far," Santa Ynez Coach Kit Myers said of Lovingier. "We've been very fortunate this year with our block. We've got good height and a good block and (Calvary Chapel) worked it pretty well.

"If that's their backup, they're incredibly talented."

Lovingier also had three blocks and two aces in the 67-minute match.

"I was a little bit nervous, but that goes away when I start to play," she said. "I have to fill a big spot, but there's not a lot of pressure when I have such good teammates."

Sara Roberts had at team-high 14 kills and sophomore Jenny Roberts had 10.

"Jenny Roberts really elevated her game tonight," Calvary Chapel Coach Jim Downey said. "She had a great match."

Santa Ynez, which had never gone beyond the Southern Section quarterfinals before this year, finished at 21-6. Kristi Rohr led the Pirates with eight kills.

Calvary Chapel served the Pirates tough, getting 11 aces, and trailed only four times: 7-6 in Game 1; 8-7 and 9-8 in Game 2; and 1-0 in Game 3.

Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World