Archbishop Mitty faces a super-talented team on a mission in the CIF State Open Division title match. And the best team in the country, Marymount of Los Angeles, beat the Monarchs 25-11, 25-5, 25-14 to complete an entire 35-0 season.
The sailors, who dropped just eight sets throughout the year, collected championships at two national tournaments, the Durango Fall Classic and Nike TOC Southwest, winning all matches in both. Marymount also won the four-team ESPN-Television Geico Invitational.
Mitty’s state berth was the first since 2017 and a successful 37–8 season that included a West Catholic Athletic League title and a NorCal championship. Kendra Macdonald and Audrey Liddle each committed five murders on Saturday night at Santiago Canyon College in Orange, and Reagan Dryden added four.
Mitty captured the Central Coast Section Open Division title with victories over Salinas, St Francis and Menlo School, and then defeated Branson, Lincoln and St Francis to take the NorCal Open Division crown.
“It’s definitely been a ride,” Macdonald said. “The NorCal trip was awesome. Coming to Mitty was all about tradition and culture. We’ve been waiting three years to get here.”
Marymount was led by Stanford-bound Elia Rubin with 10 kills, Duke-bound Kerry Keef on the right with nine kills, and Pitt-committed Torrey Stafford with nine kills. The sailors made a total of 37 kills, with only 6 hitting errors, on 72 strikes, an impressive .431 percent. Stanford-bound setter Kelly Bellardi had 28 assists.
Mitty coach John Wallace reflected on a good season, in which his team returned to the top rung of Northern California volleyball. And the applause after the 2020 season was canceled due to COVID.
“I am grateful and grateful that this tournament happened this year,” Wallace said. “It’s great to have this opportunity. I’m really proud of these girls. Really proud of Mitty High School and what they produce as athletes and people.”
Marymount took a 5-4 lead in the first set and then took control to take a 10-1 lead. The second set was one sided. The Emperor settled in the third set and gave the sailors a fight. Marymount led just 14-12 in a competitive back-and-forth set, but then went eight straight and rolled.
“We tried to slow down to 11 (Keefe) and 4 (Staffford),” Wallace said. “But they come from all angles. And running is tough; they have pretty good run-stoppers.”
Hillsdale reached new heights with the school’s first NorCal title and state berth, but could not surpass Harvard-Westlake’s blistering front line in the CIF State Division I title match. The Wolverines, from the Bel Air area of Los Angeles, rolled in the first two sets and won the Fightin’ Nights Rally 25-17, 25-15, 23-25, 25-18.
Hillsdale, now an unbeaten Peninsula Athletic League, climbed back into the match with a 27–3 on Bay Division season record, turning the defense and blocks and serving hard to slow the Wolverines’ attack. Hillsdale won the third set, and the fourth set was tied 16–16 when Harvard-Westlake finished with a 9–2 run to avoid an all-or-nothing fifth.
Hillsdale coach Dwight Crump said, “These girls are awesome.” “It’s been a great season. They fight and never give up. After the second set I told them to just play their game.
UC Davis-bound Victoria Vanos led the Fightin’ Nights with 15 kills and Jessica Dean added 15 kills and 13 digs. Rianna Liu made 28 assists and collected six kills when Crump moved to a 6-2 offense, also set by Caitlin Music.
“It’s great to be part of a team that is making a difference and becoming a part of history for Hillsdale,” Dean said.
Harvard-Westlake captured their fifth state title, with the last four coming during 2007. He was led by 6-foot-1 Northwestern-bound middle blocker Kennedy Hill, with 15 kills and .500 attack percentage. Wesleyan-led Sophia Landes added 11 kills. Grace Thrower, a 6-foot-2 outside hitter committed to Duke, made 10 kills. Avery Jones, another 6-foot-1 middle, added 10 kills. Ava-Marie Lang, a 6-foot-2 who would attend Harvard, contributed seven kills and 14 digs.
That firepower hit for attack percentages of .357 and .462 in the first two sets. The third set was different. The teams traded the lead to 23–23 when Hillsdale scored the last two points. Liu scored on the dumps for a 24-23 lead. A tough Vanos serve could barely be returned and as he gently cleared the net, Sahara Daly slid it back down for the win.
The fourth set largely continued the script. Hill ended the Hillsdale rally with three late kills for Harvard-Westlake.
“We switched from base defense to rotational defense,” Crump said. “The teams were the hard hitting lines. Our serve was much better, and we got them out of the system. Our defense increased; most importantly, our blocking got quicker.”
Dean led Hillsdale in the season with 421 kills, with the Vanos winning 397. Libero Gwen Wong battled through injury in the state finals and recorded 13 digs for a total of 396 seasons, as well as receiving 25 serves.
“We were going well in the first two sets,” said Wolverines coach Natalie Morgan. “In the third set, he was hacking the ball out. Salute to Hillsdale. He played an incredible game. He had an incredible season. ,
Carondelet started the season 1–5 and returned to fifth place in the competitive East Bay Athletic League to win the school’s first NorCal title and win their first state title. In the title match, they made a comeback against Chino Hills, but lost, with the Huskies winning 25–15, 25–22, 26–24.
Senior outside hitter Avery Ehrlich led the Cougar with nine kills and a .381 attack percentage. Shelby Santos added five and Corincia Tagaloa added four. As a team, Carondelet struggled on offense, making 18 errors with 30 kills on 97 strikes for .124 percent.
“At the start of the season, we really needed confidence,” Ehrlich said. “Once we had that faith, we did a lot of amazing things.”
Ehrlich and Tagaloa had four blocks each. Libero Elisa Ocampo hit two aces, did six digs and got 29 serves with only one error. The Cougars finished the year 26-13.
“We’re not the biggest in the pin,” said Cougar coach Jerry Mix. “But we are smart, consistent and we know where to put the ball. It’s a wonderful experience. Coming to this championship, for the first time in the history of Carondelet. For being a part of this, I am very proud of (you) women.”
Chino Hills, also in a tough league as they finished 5–5 and finished fourth in the baseline league, won their first state title in their opening appearance and closed at 23–15. Tehya Chadwick led the Husky with 16 kills and Malena D’ added 14.
“Chino Hills are an amazing team,” Mix said. “They don’t make mistakes.”
Chino Hills climbed in the first set as Carondelet struggled. The Cougars regrouped in the second set as Ehrlich led the way with five kills. However, a narrow lead evaporated in a 20–20 tie. The Huskies captured the set with a 5-2 finish as The’ had three goals.
Carondelet came alive after going 13-7 in the third set. Freshman Bella Ehrlich, younger sister of Audrey Ehrlich, entered the middle blocker in her first game time since a shoulder injury against Marin Catholic a few weeks ago, and Tagaloa shifted to the right. Each had three kills as the Cougar overtook the Huskies and took a 24-20 lead. However, three big blocks, all involving 6-foot-1 middle blocker Taryn Saunders, were part of a six-point finishing run for the Husky.
“We knew they were going to attack from the outside,” Mix said. “We kept making adjustments and they will return the adjustments. It’s heartbreaking. We rarely came. He got a run at the worst possible time.”