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Ocean View girls’ volleyball sweeps Bolsa Grande in playoff opener

Ocean View's Jade Auger kills a ball between Bolsa Grande blockers Sammi Tran (2) and Allyson Ninh (11).
Ocean View’s Jade Auger kills a ball between Bolsa Grande blockers Sammi Tran (2) and Allyson Ninh (11) in the first round of the CIF Division 6 girls’ volleyball playoffs on Wednesday.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

It’s a new season for Ocean View High School’s girls’ volleyball team, which this week put aside a challenging and unsatisfying regular season and made it clear that something more was coming as the CIF Southern Section Division 6 playoffs kicked off.

Confirmation arrived Wednesday evening as the Seahawks, feeding off strong service, excellent defense, and Paige Bledsoe’s play at the net, swept Garden Grove League champion Bolsa Grande 25-13, 25-19, 25-21.

The victory wasn’t perfect, and the Matadors’ inefficiency provided invaluable help, but the first-round effort offered great promise for the coming rounds, starting Saturday at home against Barstow (20-5) or Jurupa Valley Patriot (10-9), which face off Thursday.

Ocean View's Emma Santy spikes an overpass for a point in the first round of the Division 6 playoffs against Bolsa Grande.
Ocean View’s Emma Santy spikes an overpass for a point in the first round of the Division 6 playoffs against Bolsa Grande on Wednesday.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

“I think it was a spectacular performance by the girls today, something I haven’t seen them do in a long time,” Ocean View head coach Daniel Lozada said. “They decided to step up in the last two practices, preparing for CIF, and today they really executed as a team.”

Lozada took charge of the girls’ program just before the season began and hasn’t had the time to implement everything he wants in the program. His team took its lumps against a tough schedule, edging out Godinez for the Golden West League’s third postseason berth. Now there’s something to play for.

“I think we understand that we’re in the playoffs and we really have a chance of winning,” said Bledsoe, a junior middle blocker who led Ocean View with six kills, four blocks and two of its eight aces. “We’ve just locked in as we’ve seen that we can actually get somewhere with this team.”

Ocean View's Paula Bledsoe (16) kills a ball past the block of Bolsa Grande blocker Allyson Ninh (11) for a point.
Ocean View’s Paula Bledsoe (16) kills a ball past the block of Bolsa Grande blocker Allyson Ninh (11) for a point in the first round of the Division 6 playoffs on Wednesday.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

Kaitlyn Conklin added five kills and an ace for Ocean View (8-16). Emma Santy had four kills, two blocks and an ace. Ava Arce added four kills and an ace, and Natalia Christensen dished out 10 assists for the Seahawks, who streaked to a big lead early in the first set, pulled away late to win the second set, then survived the finale after a seven-point lead slipped away down the stretch.

Strong service was key — Denise Arteaga and Jade Auger delivered two aces apiece, and Isabel Escuro added another — as was the defensive play, especially by Escuro, the libero, and Auger.

“Defense is something we’ve struggled with throughout the season,” Lozada said. “But the last two practices, we’ve solidified that aspect of our game, and it showed today.”

Ocean View's Isabel Escuro digs a ball in the first round of the Division 6 playoffs against Bolsa Grande on Wednesday.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

Bolsa Grande (16-6) struggled to dig, pass and serve, and its errors sank its chances. The Matadors had eight service errors (and just two aces), 14 technical errors (half of them double-hits), and gave away points with hitting errors.

Fourteen of the Seahawks’ first 21 points came from Bolsa Grande errors.

“We’re a Jekyll and Hyde team,” Matadors head coach Rebecca Wagner said. “During our good games, it was — Jekyll’s the good one, right? It’s Hyde a lot now.”

Ocean View celebrates a point in the first round of the Division 6 playoffs against Bolsa Grande on Wednesday.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

Senior setter and opposite Fernanda Cueva, who had five kills and 10 assists, was everywhere for Bolsa Grande, which kept the second set tight. There were 14 ties, the last at 18, before Ocean View put away the last five points with help from an Arteaga ace and a Bledsoe kill.

The third set was a battle of momentum. The Seahawks scored eight straight, with Conklin delivering back-to-back kills, to take a 10-3 lead, then were outscored 10-4. Bledsoe scored both of her aces in a 6-0 run that restored the lead to seven, then watched Bolsa Grande pull within two points twice before holding on for the win.

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