BELLARMINE-JEFFERSON HIGH — It didn't particularly pass well, its intensity was a bit lackluster and it definitely made its share of mistakes.
The Bellarmine-Jefferson High girls' volleyball team didn't look like squad gunning for a league title when it took on visiting St. Anthony Thursday.
However, the Guards had enough talent, and just enough motivation, to earn a 25-19, 20-25, 25-18, 25-23 victory, as they keep their dynasty in the Santa Cruz League intact.
The win gives Bell-Jeff its fifth-straight league championship. In addition, the Guards have won 36 league matches in a row and are 39-1 since joining the league five years ago.
"We take pride in keeping our league-title streak going," Bell-Jeff Coach Miguel Segura said. "We have been building up the program the past few years and we are still going strong."
Although content with the eventual outcome, Segura — who led his team to the CIF Southern Section Division IVA championship match in 2009 — wasn't pleased with his team's play at times against the Saints.
"We didn't pass well at all," he said. "And we had our share of problems in other areas. We have to play better than that in the playoffs. If we do play like we played [Thursday], it's going to be a very short playoff run for us."
The playoffs begin next week, with the postseason parings being released Sunday.
The Guards (14-6, 8-0 in league) received a solid performance from junior outside hitter Jocelyn Cervantes, who had 19 kills and 10 digs. Taryn Nelson added 11 kills and nine digs and Breanna Padone had 27 assists.
After leading the entire way in the first game, the Saints (6-2 in league) battled back to win the second game.
Undaunted, Bell-Jeff came back and played better in the third game, and looked to have the momentum.
However, St. Anthony wouldn't go away in the fourth game. The Saints came back to get within one point late, 24-23. But Cervantes came up with a booming kill to close out the game, and the match.
"[The match] was a lot closer than I would have liked," Segura said.