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HIGH SCHOOL VOLLEYBALL : Mira Costa Girls Win Southern Section Title

The Mira Costa girls’ volleyball team fended off two game points before winning the critical third game and riding that momentum to a 15-7, 5-15, 16-14, 15-5, victory over Laguna Beach on Saturday in the Southern Section Division I final at Cypress College.

The Mustangs, who won their ninth Southern Section title, remained calm when the Artists took a 14-10 lead in the third game.

With Erika Hansen serving game point for the Artists, Leilani Nunes sent a kill down the middle to get the ball back and Rochelle Esparza sent another cross-court to make it 14-11.

Leslie Christen had a kill for Laguna Beach for a sideout, bringing up the second game point, but Nunes answered with another kill for a sideout. That brought Kristen Sigel and her wicked jump serve to the line. Sigel served two aces to lead the Mustangs on a 5-0 run to win the game.

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"[Mira Costa] is super balanced, more balanced than anybody we have seen, and that’s what makes it so hard to beat them,” said Laguna Beach Coach Bill Christiansen.

Esparza led Mira Costa (22-2) with 22 kills and Christen led Laguna Beach (15-3) with nine.

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In the Division II final, Christine Boble had 22 kills to lead Harvard-Westlake (22-1) to a 12-15, 15-11, 15-5, 16-14 victory over Bishop Montgomery (17-2).

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Jenni Kristi, a senior setter, had 48 assists to help the second-seeded Wolverines to a victory in their first appearance in a Southern Section final.

Bishop Montgomery, which won three titles in the past four years, was led by Heidi Illustre, a senior outside hitter who had 20 kills, and Danielle Graham and Dana Coffey, who each had 16.

In Division III, Redlands (21-1) defeated Rim of the World (16-1), 19-17, 15-13, 15-13. Rim of the World was the 1994 Southern Section champion, and top-seeded Redlands endured two five-game matches en route to the final.

In Division IV, Paso Robles (20-0) defeated Cerritos (17-4), 15-3, 15-11, 6-15, 15-5 to win its first title since 1988.

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In Division V, Mission Prep (18-1) upset two-time defending state champion Brentwood (15-4), 15-11, 15-8, 15-9.

In Division VI, Hesperia Christian (19-1) defeated defending champion Windward (18-1), 15-11, 15-8, 4-15, 15-10.


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