The Ocean View High girls’ volleyball team is in complete agreement about what has sparked the program’s notable turnaround the last two seasons: team chemistry.
With a 25-14, 25-18, 25-15 sweep of visiting Garden Grove on Tuesday, the Seahawks not only won their 12th match in a row, but also clinched their second straight Golden West League championship.
“The girls all have the same common goal and they show up to practice ready to work for that,” said Ocean View coach Joshua Nehls, in his second year in charge. “These girls had a couple of rough years and winning league championships means a lot to them.”
That common goal coach Nehls alluded to was making a deep CIF Southern Section Division 7 playoff run, and hopefully an appearance in the championship match.
Ocean View (16-3, 8-0 in league) is sitting in a good spot in the rankings at No. 3. Setter Alyson Nguyen said the extra work has paid off for the Seahawks.
“We’ve definitely put in more time and effort during practice,” she said. “We’ve developed a close bond over the last couple of months. We’re putting our full force into practice and really driving toward the championship that we want this year.”
Ocean View took control from the outset in Tuesday’s match. The Seahawks opened the first set with a 10-3 run, capped by three consecutive service aces from Cambria Adams, and they cruised to a comfortable 25-14 victory.
Ocean View ran into some trouble in the second set as the Argonauts (13-10, 5-3) took a quick 7-4 advantage. Two of those Garden Grove points came as a result of Seahawks’ mistakes.
Ocean View righted the ship quickly behind middle blocker Helen Reynolds. She recorded four of her team-high eight kills during a dominant 14-4 run, giving the Seahawks the momentum and an 18-11 lead.
The third and final set was a dominant one for Ocean View and was clinched by the serving of Reynolds. She recorded four aces over the last eight points, bouncing back from some uncharacteristically poor serving in the first two sets, to clinch the league title.
“One of our coaches told me to not jump and to stop float serving,” Reynolds said of the adjustment she made. “I kept it simple and didn’t do anything too flashy.”
The Seahawks had a balanced approach against Garden Grove as four players — Reynolds, Katelyn Taylor (seven kills), Wendie Smith (six) and Jillian Pratt (five) — finished with at least five kills.
Nguyen had 10 assists. Reynolds finished with six aces.
Ocean View has two league matches remaining, at Godinez on Thursday and at home against Westminster on Oct. 9.
Nehls said that in order to close out strong and take momentum into the playoffs, he needs his team to clean up a couple of things.
“We need to stay consistent and stay on those runs we have,” he said. “We also need figure out what we’re doing with some of our rotations.”
DEVIN UGLAND is a contributor to Times Community News. Follow him on Twitter: @Devin_Ugland