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Fountain Valley girls’ volleyball sweeps Marina, earns second place in Wave League

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Fountain Valley’s Phoebe Minch, center, puts the ball past Marina blockers Jane Paden, left, and Paige Phillips in a Wave League match in Huntington Beach on Tuesday.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

The potential for mayhem in the Wave League was there going into league finale night for girls’ volleyball.

Two different scenarios would have resulted in tiebreaker matches for second place in the league — one involving Fountain Valley High and Newport Harbor, and the other including a third team in the possible deadlock in Marina.

For the record:
12:45 PM, Oct. 16, 2019 In the Oct. 15 Sports section, the first photo misidentified the Marina player on the left. The player is Jane Paden, not Taryn Akins.

In the end, neither of those scenarios came into play.

Senior outside hitter Phoebe Minch had 11 kills, two service aces and 1½ blocks to lead the Barons to a 25-13, 25-20, 25-15 sweep at Marina on Tuesday, sending Fountain Valley to the CIF Southern Section playoffs for the first time in three years.

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Fountain Valley (17-9, 3-3 in league) finished in second place, while Marina (8-18, 1-5) ended up in last place.

Laguna Beach (27-9, 6-0) completed an undefeated run through Wave League play with a 25-19, 25-13, 25-22 win at Newport Harbor (11-19, 2-4), helping the Barons secure the league’s second automatic berth.

Minch, who has committed to Westmont College, played for the Barons as a freshman the last time the program appeared in the postseason.

“It’s a lot more special this time, I think,” Minch said. “I feel like we’ll have a better chance this year. Last time, we were in Division 2, and this year, we’re in Division 3.”

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Fountain Valley was knocked out of the playoffs by host Laguna Beach in the first round in 2016.

The Barons know that they can put together a run. They won the Rosary Tournament in September.

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Fountain Valley’s Juliette Bokor (3) blocks a shot with the help from Jenna Peterson in a Wave League match at Marina on Tuesday.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

Junior middle blocker Juliette Bokor had nine kills and two blocks for the Barons. Sophomore middle blocker Zoe Ziegler added 5½ blocks.

Ziegler said that the team has worked well together. The 6-foot-4 sophomore has made an impact in her first year on varsity.

“Blocking-wise, I’ve been able to get up and get good touches on the ball,” Ziegler added.

Lauren Mena handed out 24 assists to go with two aces for Fountain Valley. Sadie Templin added seven kills, and Jenna Peterson chipped in with four kills.

Barons coach Taylor Packer said she knew before the season that this group could be special.

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“In the summer, just watching them, how they play with each other [and] their level of intensity,” Packer said. “They want to win. This is Phoebe’s last year. She really wanted to win. [Senior libero] Rachel [Lucie] really wanted to win, and they were going to do whatever it was to get it done.”

Packer also coached against her sister, Jordan. The Vikings freshman setter had four assists and an ace.

“It’s fun to see her play and [coach] against her,” the older Packer said.

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Marina’s Abby Magnusen (8) taps the ball over for a point past Zoe Ziegler (19) and Jenna Peterson in a Wave League match against Fountain Valley on Tuesday.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

Marina snapped a 69-match losing streak in league matches on Sept. 24 with a backdoor sweep of visiting Newport Harbor, giving the Vikings the chance to extend their season on their senior night.

Senior middle blocker Helen McMullin received the loudest ovation during the pre-match ceremony. She had three kills, three blocks and two aces.

Abby Magnusen had a team-high five kills for the Vikings. Kaelyn Arnold had four kills, while Jane Paden and Taryn Akins each had two kills. Brooke Earwood distributed 11 assists.

Vikings coach Jake Nuneviller was unquestionably his team’s biggest cheerleader.

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“I think that they wanted it,” Nuneviller said. “One of my biggest things as a coach is fighting until the last second, until the ball drops. That’s something that I preach to my players. My biggest pet peeve in the world is watching a coach sit down in a match that means something when the game’s not over.

“If you’re expecting your players to fight until the ball drops, you have to fight with them the entire match. I don’t think there is any doubt in my mind that we wanted it, and I think we fought until the last minute.”

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Fountain Valley’s Phoebe Minch (4) and Lauren Mena (14) celebrate after winning the first set of a Wave League match at Marina on Tuesday.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

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