Southern Section

Saturday, Nov. 20



Los Alamitos d. Esperanza, 25-22, 25-23, 20-25, 25-15
Geena Urango had 14 kills, 15 blocks and four aces to lead the top-seeded Griffins in the Division I-AA championship match at Cypress College.

Los Alamitos (27-4) won its second title in three years and avenged a loss to Esperanza (28-5) in last year’s title game. Three of Esperanza’s losses have come against Los Alamitos, including two in Sunset League play that helped the Griffins clinch the league title.

Urango, a sophomore, broke open a close match with her wicked jump serve in the fourth game, when she served seven consecutive points to give Los Alamitos a 21-7 lead.

Alex Filkins had 14 kills, Rachel Moss added 12 and Taylor Sell finished with 45 assists for Los Alamitos.

Ashley Engle had 16 kills and 12 digs for second-seeded Esperanza, which had a 15-12 lead in Game 2, but couldn’t hold on.

Brittany Lowe added nine kills and 10 blocks and Christy Hudson had six blocks for the Aztecs.

--Peter Yoon


Mira Costa d. Chaparral, 25-12, 25-15, 25-19
Dae Lea Aldrich had to bite her tongue when the question came up, cautious not to provide bulletin board material for potential opponents in the state playoffs.

Her team, however, spoke loud and clear with its dominant performance Saturday in the Southern Section Division I-A girls’ volleyball final.

Mira Costa played a near-perfect match, defeating Temecula Chaparral, 25-12, 25-15, 25-19, and won its 13th Southern Section title and, whether Aldrich would say it or not, staked a claim to the title of best team in the state.

“Our team is peaking at the right time,” Aldrich said, choosing her words carefully. “We have to play well to win state. Anyone can be on fire.”

Saturday, that was top-seeded Mira Costa (25-3), which used a balanced offense, solid defense and pinpoint passing from setter Taylor Carico to defeat Chaparral (28-4), the defending Division I-A champion.

Jessica Hardy had 12 kills, Alix Klineman had nine kills and seven aces, Rachel Short had 15 digs and Carico had 23 assists for the Mustangs, which won the Division II-AA title last season.

“We made it look easy because we played well,” Aldrich said. “I don’t think it was a matter of them not being prepared.”

Aldrich said the next task is to refocus on winning a state title, something that Mira Costa hasn’t done since 1989.

“There’s a big empty spot on the wall in our gym that we need to fill,” she said.

--Peter Yoon


Edison d. Mater Dei, 25-23, 14-25, 25-15, 25-21
Huntington Beach Edison Coach Trent Jackson likened Santa Ana Mater Dei’s girls’ volleyball team to the Soviet Union hockey team of 1980.

“They’re like the big red giants,” he said.

So his team had to take on the role of the U.S.

Inspired by a team viewing of the movie “Miracle,” third-seeded Edison upset top-seeded Mater Dei, 25-23, 14-25, 25-15, 25-21, in the Southern Section Division II-AA final Saturday at Cypress College.

It was the first section title for Edison, which last made it to the finals in 1984. Mater Dei was making its sixth consecutive appearance in a section final and had won three in a row.

“Being the first team from Edison to win was a big motivation for us,” said San Jose State-bound middle blocker Colleen Burke, who had 15 kills. “This was a great opportunity for us to come in and show what we could do.”

Mater Dei swept Edison, 25-17, 25-19, 25-14, in a nonleague match on Oct. 30. Edison senior setter Kelly Keating did not play that match, but finished Saturday with 23 assists.

“She’s a great all-around player,” Burke said. “Her experience made a big difference.”

Kelly Hyder added 10 kills and Kari Pestolesi and Ashley Collier each had eight for Edison. Mallorie Croal had 23 kills for Mater Dei, which fell behind, 20-13, in the final game before pulling to within three at 23-20.

“For some reason we play better when we’re mad,” said Mater Dei Coach Karin Thomsen. “Hopefully this will be the heat that gets us fired up and we’ll make a run at state.”

--Peter Yoon


South Torrance d. San Marcos, 23-25, 25-21, 13-25, 25-15, 15-7
Annie Meyers had 21 kills and 10 digs, Lauren McLaughlin had 18 kills and 14 digs and Julie Wilson had nine blocks and six aces as the second-seeded Spartans (22-8) won the Division II-A title -- their first section title in five finals appearances.

“I can’t even explain how good it feels,” said senior setter Kacey Martinez, who had 50 assists. “It’s better than any feeling I’ve ever felt.”

Fourth-seeded San Marcos (17-9) appeared to have momentum after the third game, but South Torrance regrouped and played near flawlessly for the remainder of the match.

South Torrance, which lost section finals in 2000 and 2002, cruised to an 11-6 lead in the final game before Julie Wilson served out the match. She had two aces in the final three points, including match point.

“We’ve been so close for so long,” South Torrance Coach Robert Kutsch said. “I guess this gives our program a little validation.”

--Peter Yoon


Santa Margarita d. Rim of the World, 25-23, 28-26, 13-25, 25-16
Senior outside hitter Blair Socci had 14 kills, 26 digs and three aces and freshman setter Elizabeth Wildermuth had 38 assists and four aces for the second-seeded Eagles, who came from behind in each of the first two games to win its second consecutive III-AA championships at Cypress College.

Santa Margarita (22-13), making its third appearance in a row in the division final, neutralized Rim of the World’s height advantage and put away the fourth-seeded Fighting Scots in the fourth game with better serving and superior depth.

“We knew we should win but it feels really nice to pull it out like that,” Socci said of the Eagles’ comebacks. “We’re young but it’s good that we’re determined.”

Rim of the World (25-1) was making its fourth appearance in a division final but its first since 1996.

Santa Margarita benefitted from the clutch play from Socci, Dicey McGraw, Dana Crary and Brianna Bowman. McGraw had 13 kills, Crary 11 and Bowman six.

Socci served for six consecutive points after Rim of the World pulled to within 11-10 in the fourth game and she ended the match with a kill over the block attempt of Fighting Scots’ Nique Fradella. McGraw and Crary each had three kills in the last game.

Rim of the World held the lead in each of the first three games but struggled whenever 6-1 senior middle blocker Sonja Newcombe rotated out of the front row. Newcombe finished with 18 kills and 14 blocks, and 5-11 junior middle blocker Cassie Ells had nine kills and 10 blocks.

--Lauren Peterson

Division IV-AA

Marymount d. Note Dame Academy, 19-25, 11-25, 25-23, 25-18, 15-8
The reign hasn’t stopped yet.

Alex Ayers, a 6-foot freshman opposite hitter, racked up 27 kills and 17 digs to help top-seeded Los Angeles Marymount rally to win its fourth consecutive Southern Section Division IV-AA championship, this time turning back Sunshine League rival and second-seeded L.A. Notre Dame Academy.

“I got kind of scared after the first two games,” Ayers said. “They’re like our biggest rivals and we could not lose this match.”

Notre Dame Academy (23-7), which had endured three-game sweeps at the hands of the Sailors (30-8) in two league matches, nevertheless made Marymount worry that they would lose.

The Regals, who were led by left-handed freshman middle blocker Bridget Hearst with 11 kills and senior outside hitter Taylor O’Brien with 10, tasted victory in Game 3 when leading 21-17. It turned out to be sour.

“We thought if we could play well the first two games, maybe we could get them thinking,” Regal Coach Tom Brenner said. “But with a team as experienced and talented and confident as Marymount, you have to stay cognizant that they can always come back.”

Ayers had four kills near the end of the third game to rally the Sailors, who won a see-saw fourth game and then capitalized on Notre Dame Academy’s frequent hitting errors in the fifth game to complete the comeback.

“Oh gosh, it was amazing. This is so great and I’m so proud of my team,” said Marymount outside hitter Sue Carls, a four-time section champion who is bound for Duke. Carls finished with 12 kills, 25 digs and three aces, and Jamie Sabol had 12 blocks for Marymount.

--Lauren Peterson


Western Christian d. St. Margaret’s, 25-20, 25-19, 25-23
Senior middle blocker Traci Weamer had 16 kills and three blocks, and senior opposite hitter Melissa Gomez added nine kills and five blocks to lead the Lancers (30-1), who claimed their first Southern Section title.

Western Christian, which didn’t drop a game in four playoff matches, has a 19-match winning streak since their loss to San Diego Francis Parker on Oct. 2.

To close out the sweep of St. Margaret’s (22-7), the Lancers had to fight off 10 ties in the third game, when Weamer had five kills, including a smash to the middle on match point, and Gomez had four kills.

Sophomore outside hitter Courtney Kent had nine kills and 12 digs and junior outside hitter Jena Brion had eight kills and nine digs for St. Margaret’s, which returned to the finals after a one-year absence. The Tartans won Division IV-A titles in 2001 and 2002 and won Division V-AA titles in 1999 and 2000.

--Lauren Peterson


Hesperia Christian d. Bermuda Dunes Desert Christian, 23-25, 25-23, 25-20, 22-25, 15-13
Senior outside hitter Laura Gustin had five of her match-high 32 kills down the stretch as Hesperia Christian rallied from a 13-7 defecit in the decisive fifth game and won its third Division V-AA title in four seasons.

Gustin also had 23 digs, including eight in the second game after the Patriots had dropped the first game.

Senior setter Sarah Lewis had 41 assists and 10 digs, Liv Howard had seven kills and nine aces and Brittany Moser had six aces for the Patriots (16-3), who ended the season on a 14-match winning streak.

Whitney Henderson had 12 kills, Candice Clark added seven kills and Taylor Manning had six kills to lead Desert Christian (14-6).

--Lauren Peterson

Friday, Nov. 19



Corona del Mar d. Nipomo, 25-20, 25-23, 25-17
Lindsey Ensign had 12 kills and 16 digs and Jordan Smith had nine kills and 16 digs for top-seeded Corona del Mar, which won the Division III-A final for its first section title since 1997, at Cypress College.

Corona del Mar (26-5) redeemed itself for a loss to Torrance Bishop Montgomery in the section final last year. Its front line, which averages six-feet, dominated a scrappy defensive team that has only one player taller than 5-9. Corona del Mar had 14 team blocks.

Setter Traci Lawson had 17 assists for Corona del Mar, which broke open a tight third game with an 8-0 run to make the score 24-16. Corona del Mar apparently won on a rotation violation, but the teams replayed the final point. Kelly Christian ended the match with a kill down the left line.

--Peter Yoon



Santa Monica Lighthouse Christian d. Santa Maria Valley Christian, 25-17, 25-12, 25-21
Stephanie Sommer had 10 kills, Jaymie Jimenez had six kills and eight digs and Emily Hamilton had 30 assists for Lighthouse Christian, which won the Division V-A title for its first section volleyball title, at Cypress College.

It was the second appearance in a final for Lighthouse Christian (21-3), which lost to Hemet Baptist Christian in the 2001 Division V-A final. The unseeded Saints did not lose a game in four playoff matches. Unseeded Valley Christian (14-5) was making its first section final appearance.

--Peter Yoon

Tuesday, Nov. 16



Esperanza d. Long Beach Wilson, 25-19, 25-23, 25-20
Junior Ashley Engle of Esperanza (28-4), the No. 2 seeded team, had 21 kills and teammate Brittany Lowe added 17 kills and four aces at Long Beach Wilson, which was seeded No. 3.

Nicole Berberet of Wilson had 22 assits and 10 digs.

Los Alamitos d. Lakewood, 22-25, 25-23, 25-17, 26-24
Outside hitters Rachael Moss and Geena Urango of Los Alamitos (26-4), the No. 1-seeded team, each had 12 kills and teammate Taylor Sell added 43 assists at Lakewood (22-12), which was seeded No. 4.



Chaparral d. Buena, 25-13, 25-20, 25-23
Kelli Tennant had ten kills and Sabel Moffett added nine blocks to lead host Chaparral (24-3), the third-seeded team. Buena, the second-seeded team, finished the year 21-2.

Mira Costa d. San Clemente, 25-11, 25-22, 15-16



Edison d. Newport Harbor, 25-19, 25-17, 25-21
Colleen Burke had 15 kills, five aces and three digs and Ashley Collier added eight kills for Edison (22-6) in a victory over visiting Newport Harbor, which defeated the Chargers in last year’s semifinals.

Kelly Hyder and Kari Pestolesi each added seven kills and nine digs for Edison, which also got 35 assists from setter Kelly Keating.

Kiley Hall had 14 kills and Coco Yokoyama had seven kills for Newport Harbor.

Mater Dei d. Huntington Beach, 17-25, 25-20, 25-15, 25-17
Mallorie Croal had 30 kills, including nine in the second game and 10 in the third, with three blocks, Chelsea Pavlik had 19 kills and 40 digs and Allison Kincheloe had 59 assists to lead visiting Mater Dei (25-3), which has made it to the division finals six straight years and won the last three championships.

Jessica Hoffman had six blocks to lead the Monarchs, which will play Edison on Saturday at Cypress College, a team Mater Dei beat in Nov. 1 in three games.



South Torrance d. Woodbridge, 25-20, 25-15, 26-24
Annie Meyers had 19 kills and Laura McLaughlin had 14 kills for second-seeded and host South Torrance (21-8) who will play the Santa Barbara and San Marcos winner in the finals. The third-seeded Warriors finished 23-7.

San Marcos d. Redondo, 25-13, 25-23, 25-23



Rim of the World d. Lakewood St. Joseph, 16-25, 28-26, 25-23, 26-28, 15-11
Sonja Newcombe had 22 kills, 15 blocks and 13 digs and Cassie Ells added nine kills and 15 blocks for fourth-seeded Rim of the World (25-0) in an upset of top-seeded Lakewood St. Joseph.

Rim of the World setter Nique Fredella had 45 assists, nine blocks and five digs.

Santa Margarita d. Northwood, 25-18, 21-25, 25-11, 25-23
Dana Crary of Santa Margarita (22-12), the No. 2-seeded team, had 16 kills and teammate Beth Wildermuth added 40 assists against visiting Northwood.



Corona del Mar d. Sherman Oaks Notre Dame, 25-19, 25-16, 22-25, 25-19
Lindsey Ensign had 21 kills, 18 digs and one ace and Jordan Smith added 17 kills, 23 digs and a block for Corona del Mar. Traci Lawson had 25 assists and Kelly Christian had 24 assists, 28 digs and two aces for the Sea Kings.

Meredith Rice had 16 kills and Ester Azcueta had 36 assists and eight digs for visiting Sherman Oaks Notre Dame (12-6).

Nipomo d. Louisville, 25-26, 23-25, 25-21, 25-17, 15-13
Sarah Clark had 18 kills, Michelle Jost had 14 kills and Lee Stevenson had 55 assists to lead visiting fourth-seeded Nipomo (17-2).



Marymount d. Laguna Beach, 25-17, 25-14, 25-21
Alezandra Ayers had 14 kills and 13 digs and Sue Carls added 11 kills and ten blocks to lead visiting and top-seeded Marymount (28-8).

Notre Dame Academy d. Flintridge Sacred Heart, 25-13, 25-23, 25-15
Megan Nash had 16 kills and Casey Cressman added 16 digs to lead host Notre Dame Academy (23-6), the second-seeded team. No. 3-seeded Flintridge Sacred Heart finishes the year 25-4.



St. Margaret’s d. Brentwood, 25-12, 25-17, 25-13
Courtney Kent had 16 kills and 14 digs and setter Jaclyn Mason had 35 assists for St. Margaret’s (22-5), a semifinalist last year that will be making its fifth appearance in a championship match in six years.

The Tartans were V-AA finalists in 1999, and have been in Division IV-A since then. Jessica Fishburn had nine kills to lead Brentwood (23-4).

Western Christian d. Sage Hill, 25-13, 25-15, 25-15
Traci Weamer had 23 kills and 10 digs and Kassandra McInteer had 34 assists and Paige Molina had seven kills to lead top-seeded Western Christian (29-1), which reaches the finals for the first time in school history.

Vista Murphy had 11 kills and two aces and Cat Dailey had 11 kills and four aces in the loss for host Sage Hill (17-7).



Bermuda Dunes Desert Christian d. Grace Brethren, 19-25, 25-21, 25-22, 25-20, 15-12
Candice Clark had 15 kills and Courtney Collings had 12 kills and Katie Collins had four blocks and Whitney Henderson added two blocks for visiting Desert Christian (14-5). Lizzi Orona had 13 kills for Grace Brethren.

Hesperia Christian d. Baptist Christian, 25-17, 25-16, 19-25, 25-13
Laura Gustin had 14 kills and 18 digs and Sarah Lewis had 30 assists, 12 digs and five kills to lead host and top-seeded Hesperia Christian (14-3) over fourth seeded Baptist Christian.

Kellie DeKiewiet had 17 kills, 12 digs, four blocks and Sarah LeBorgne had 12 asssits and 14 digs for Baptist Christian (11-7).



Lighthouse Christian d. Bethel Christian, 25-23, 26-24, 25-14
Stephanie Sommer had 10 kills and setter Emily Hamilton had 25 assists to lead visiting Lighthouse Christian (20-3).

Santa Maria Valley Christian d. Redlands Calvary Chapel, 25-5, 25-21, 20-25, 25-15
Junior Lara Hertzog of Santa Maria Valley Christian (14-4), the No. 2 seeded team, had 21 kills and 11 digs and teammate Brittani Datu added 21 digs and eight kills against visiting Redlands Calvary Chapel, which was the No. 3-seeded team.