Saturday, Dec. 4
Southern California Regional Championships
Mira Costa d. Grass Valley Nevada Union, 25-12, 22-25, 25-19, 25-19
The future, it turns out, is now.
At least it is for the Manhattan Beach Mira Costa girls’ volleyball team, which scored a 25-12, 22-25, 25-19, 25-19 victory over Grass Valley Nevada Union to win the Division I state title Saturday at Cypress College.
Mira Costa (29-3) entered the season with enough to be ranked among the state’s top teams, but a roster filled with sophomores and juniors left questions about whether it had the experience to win big matches.
The fourth state championship in school history - the first since 1989 - provided a resounding answer.
“We wanted to do this now because you can’t count on anything down the road,” Coach DaeLea Aldrich said. “Our senior class isn’t the most talented we have had, but we knew we could have something special with our juniors and sophomores.”
Aldrich has coached all four Mira Costa state championship teams in her 22-year career, but acknowledged she has discussed handing over the reins to assistant Lisa Arce, even though the team, with only one senior in the regular rotation, would be an odds-on favorite to repeat next season.
“Lisa and I are talking about it,” she said. “But we haven’t made a decision.”
Sophomore Alix Klineman, named Division I championship game most valuable player, had 20 kills, 11 digs and unleashed a devastating jump serve to record five aces.
She served seven consecutive points in the fourth game that turned a 7-6 deficit into a 13-7 lead that the Mustangs did not relinquish.
Junior setter Taylor Carico also caused fits for Nevada Union (37-3). She effectively used a dump - hitting the ball over on the second hit - to record 12 kills. She also had 42 assists.
Junior Jessica Hardy added 12 kills and 14 digs and sophomore Lauren Bledsoe had 11 kills and three blocks for Mira Costa.
The Mustangs, who won prestigious tournament titles at Las Vegas Durango and Santa Barbara, ended the season with a 22-match win streak and were forced into a fourth game only twice during the playoffs.
“Something clicked for us when [the playoffs] started,” said junior Lindsay Gardner, who had five kills and three blocks. “It’s like we were unstoppable.”
San Jose Mitty d. Mater Dei, 16-25, 25-22, 25-23, 25-27, 15-13
Loyola Marymount-bound senior Erin Downey had 21 kills and nine blocks and Amanda Gil had eight kills and 10 blocks as Mitty (36-2) defended its title in a rematch of the 2003 Division II title match.
Mater Dei (28-5) saved seven game points in the second game before dropping it, then fell behind, 24-20, in the fourth game and held off four consecutive match points before winning.
In the fifth game, Mitty jumped to a 12-8 lead, but again the Monarchs fought back, only to lose when Gil, a 6-foot-5 freshman, ended an intense rally with a kill to the middle of the floor.
Mallorie Croal had 17 kills and 22 digs and Chelsea Pavlik had 15 kills and 15 digs for Mater Dei.It is the sixth state title for Mitty - the second most all time - and its third in the last four years.
Rim of the World d. San Francisco Sacred Heart Cathedral, 25-18, 25-13, 25-19
Sonja Newcombe had 13 kills, Cassie Engelgau had 11 and Cassie Ells had 10 for Rim of the World, which won the Division III title, it’s first state championship since 1983.
The Fighting Scots (29-1) used a decisive size advantage to dominate the net against the defensive-minded Fighting Irish (38-7), who were making their first appearance in a state title match.
“We knew we were bigger so I told them to just go play their game,” Rim of the World Coach Linda Pattison said. “We knew they were scrappy so we had to just keep coming and coming and coming at them.”
The victory atones for a loss to Santa Margarita in the Southern Section Division III-AA final, and caps one of the best seasons in Rim of the World’s history.
Newcombe was named Division III most valuable player.
“I expected a lot from them,” Pattison said. “And they got the job done. They came really far this season. Really far.”
San Diego Parker d. Garden Valley Golden Sierra, 25-18, 25-16, 25-9
San Rafael Marin Academy d. Solana Beach Santa Fe Christian, 19-25, 25-19, 16-26, 25-23, 15-11
Tuesday, Nov. 30
Southern California Regional Championships
Mira Costa d. Chaparral, 25-21, 25-8, 18-25, 25-22
Secretly, as the Mira Costa girls’ volleyball team paved a path of destruction through the playoffs, Coach DaeLea Aldrich had dreaded the moment that finally arrived Tuesday night.
The Mustangs lost a game, something they hadn’t done since Nov. 5. With only one senior starter, Aldrich was concerned how her team would respond uder the playoff pressure.
Turns out, there wasn’t much to worry about. Mira Costa showed the mettle required of a champion and rallied to win the next game, the match and a spot in the Division I state final with a 25-21, 25-7, 18-25, 25-22 victory over Temecula Chaparral in the Southern California Regional final at Mira Costa.
“I think the things around their necks got a little tighter,” Aldrich said. “I was worried because this is a young team and we haven’t been in that situation for a while, but they certainly came back with confidence.”
Mira Costa (28-3) will play returning finalist Grass Valley Nevada Union in the state final Saturday at Cypress College at 5 p.m. Mira Costa, which has four Southern Section titles in the last five years, has not won a state title since 1989.
The Mustangs waltzed through the second game, needing only one service rotation to finish it off, and appeared headed for their eighth consecutive playoff sweep before Chaparral (30-6) took the third game. Jessica Hardy, a junior outside hitter, then took over.
She had seven of her 13 kills in the final game and also had a crucial block on Chaparral star hitter Kelly Tennant that made the score 20-17. Hardy had two more kills in the game, which ended when Tennant hit a ball long.
“I was pretty angry after we lost that third game,” said Hardy, who also had 13 digs. “I was feeling it so I got a few calls and wanted to prove that I could step it up.”
Hardy was only part of the attack for Mira Costa, which in the end, simply had too many weapons for Chaparral.
Alix Klineman had 15 kills and 12 digs, Lauren Bledsoe had eight kills and six blocks and Taylor Carico had 35 assists and 10 digs for Mira Costa, which swept Chaparral in the Southern Section Division I-A final Nov. 20.
Megan Haas had 12 kills and Tennant had 11 to lead Chaparral.
Mater Dei d. Edison, 25-22, 25-23, 25-23
Chelsea Pavlik didn’t have to wait long for her luck to change.
Pavlik had one of her best matches of the season Tuesday night for the Santa Ana Mater Dei girls’ volleyball team, tallying 17 kills to lead the Monarchs to victory over top-seeded Huntington Beach Edison in the Southern California Regional Division II championship match at Edison.
The victory advanced the second-seeded Monarchs (28-4) to the state finals for the second consecutive season, where they will try for their first title.
As for Pavlik, a junior outside hitter, the victory helped erase the memory of a dreadful performance in the Division II-AA final 10 days earlier. That day began with Pavlik breaking a mirror in her home and ended with third-seeded Edison upsetting the top-seeded Monarchs in four games.
“She thought she was going to have bad luck for the next seven years,” Mater Dei Coach Karin Thomsen said.
Pavlik accounted for three of Mater Dei’s final four points in the opening game Tuesday, sealing the victory with an off-speed kill over Edison blockers. She helped the Monarchs rally from 8-2 and 21-19 deficits in the second game, again scoring the final point on a flat-footed spike that ricocheted off two blockers.
Edison hurt itself with 14 service errors, the last giving the Monarchs match point. Mallorie Croal, who finished with nine kills for the Monarchs, then teamed with Jessica Hoffmann to block Colleen Burke for the final point.
Ashley Collier had 14 kills and Burke added 11 to lead the Chargers (25-7). Allie Kincheloe had 31 assists and 20 digs and Mallorie Croal and Taylor Carroll each had 9 kills for Mater Dei.
Rim of the World d. University of San Diego, 25-17, 15-25, 27-25, 32-30
Sonja Newcombe had 15 kills, 10 blocks and 18 digs for Rim of the World. Shannon Moody added eight kills and 27 digs, while Sarah Hanson had eight kills and five blocks. Rim of the World setter Nique Fradella had 45 assists, three kills, six blocks and ten digs.
San Diego Parker d. Marymount, 25-20, 25-19, 29-27
The host Sailors were denied an opportunity to play for a fifth consecutive state Division IV title but the biggest loss came the night before when freshman starting setter Sam Selsky injured her right knee in practice.
Marymount (31-9) was clearly affected by the loss of Selsky, who hurt the knee colliding with a teammate and was on crutches Tuesday night. Senior Kaitlin O’Reilly, normally a defensive specialist, took over at setter and played admirably but the Sailors never recovered.
“Losing your setter at 5 o’clock hurts as you can imagine,” Marymount Coach Cari Klein said. “Young girls just don’t adjust to change very well. I think had we had a senior group, they might have been able to handle that better.”
Parker (28-2), which lost to Marymount in the regional semifinals last season, seemed to be in control throughout. Despite a game-high 15 kills from senior Sue Carls, Marymount held the lead only six times in the entire match.
The Sailors fought back from a 17-10 deficit in game three. Kelly Irvin’s block gave them their first game point at 25-24 and Megan Tryon’s kill gave them another at 26-25 but Parker responded each time.
Cassidy Lichtman and Megan Prior teamed for a block on Marymount’s Carls for a 28-27 lead and Carls hit long on the next point to end the match. Lichtman, a sophomore outside hitter, had 13 kills while junior middle blocker Alexis Crusey led the Lancers with 14 kills.
“Hopefully, it’s our time,” said Parker Coach Eric Sato, a two-time U.S. Olympian. “We knew it was going to be tough on the road, especially at Marymount. It’s unfortunate that their setter got injured and I wish they had her out there.”
Solana Beach Santa Fe Christian d. Visalia Central Valley Christian, 25-21, 27-25, 25-19
Northern California Regional Championships
Grass Valley Nevada Union d. Stockton Lincoln, 25-15, 13-25, 25-17, 25-15
San Jose Mitty d. Los Gatos, 25-13, 25-13, 25-10
San Francisco Sacred Heart Cathedral d. Moraga Campolindo 25-20, 20-25, 25-18, 23-25, 15-11
Garden Valley Golden Sierra d. Salinas Notre Dame, 25-22, 26-24, 23-25, 19-25, 15-11
San Rafael Marin Academy d. San Francisco University, 25-21, 25-22, 25-15
at Cypress College (Saturday)
Division I: Mira Costa (28-3) vs. Grass Valley Nevada Union (37-2), 5 p.m.
Division II: Mater Dei (28-4) vs. San Jose Mitty (35-2), 7 p.m.
Division III: Rim of the World (28-1) vs. San Francisco Sacred Heart Cathedral (38-6), 2 p.m.
Division IV: San Diego Parker (28-2) vs. Garden Valley Golden Sierra (34-7), noon
Division V: Solana Beach Santa Fe Christian (31-6) vs. San Rafael Marin Academy (34-7), 10 a.m.