GVB: Pacifica Christian takes CIF title from Laguna Blanca

CERRITOS – Laguna Blanca came into the CIF Southern Section Division 4-A volleyball championship game as the team to beat. Pacifica Christian was in that same position a year ago when they were upset by Rolling Hills Prep in the title game.

One team came into the matchup seeking redemption. The other was merely looking for validation for a great season. Something had to give. And it did. Pacifica Christian jumped Laguna Blanca by getting out to early leads in the first two sets to take a 2-0 lead. The Owls dropped the first two sets 25-23 and 25-20, and couldn’t recover, falling to the Seawolves 3-1 at Cerritos College.

STORY BY DENNIS FREEMAN

“I thought we played a little bit tight,” said Laguna Blanca coach Jim Alzina. “We really didn’t play our game. I don’t know why but we never got going it seemed like. Every time we were about to make a run we ended up making an error. I thought Pacifica (Christian) played well. They made some really good digs right at key points in the match. They got a couple of breaks, but they earned it. They played a better brand of volleyball today.”

Right from the beginning of the first set, Pacifica Christian was the most aggressive and animated team. For most of the afternoon, the Owls couldn’t match the energy that the Seawolves were putting out. More or less, that turned out to be the difference between winning and losing. Phoebe Madsen and Olivia Pickett played brilliantly for the Owls.

Hannah White also had a stellar game for Laguna Blanca. However, Pacifica Christian stars Maile Lane and Grace Minchin came up big for the Seawolves every time their team needed a big play. That was evident in the first set.

The second set gave further credence that the Pacifica Christian’s intensity overmatched the Owls. With the score tied at 7-7 in the second set, Pacifica Christian got up on Laguna Blanca by a couple of points and never looked back.

Danielle Abrams Kept the Owls going with her play at the net, but the Seawolves eventually won the set with a 25-20 score. Down 2-0, and desperate, Laguna Blanca played like the top-ranked in the division. During the first two sets, the Owls looked out of sync and a bit taken back by the strong play of the Seawolves.

That didn’t happen in the third set as Laguna Blanca played with poise and a focus they didn’t have during the first two games. Laguna Blanca got out the gate quickly and won the set 25-18. That put pressure on Pacifica Christian to try to win the fourth set, which turned out to be a yo-yo match as both teams traded points for a while.

But Pacifica Christian eventually pulled away with some keys plays by Minchin and Lane. White, who nine digs and 13 kills, kept the Owls in it for a while. Pacifica Christian gradually pulled away from the Owls. Grace Woolf led the Owls with 13 kills. White and Madsen led the team in digs with nine apiece. Alzina said his team didn’t have its normal punch in this matchup.

“Being down 2-0 didn’t bother us,” Alzina said. “That really fired us up. But we just couldn’t get working on all cylinders today.”

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