GVB: Cate sweeps Azusa in CIF opener



Cate’s top-seeded girls volleyball team delivered a 25-14, 25-20, 25-9 victory over Azusa on Thursday night in the second round of the CIF-ss Division 4A playoffs.

Despite a little trouble in the second set, Cate (20-1) dominated most of the match.

“I think we definitely picked it up at different parts of the game,” said Cate’s Sumner Matthews. “I think our hitting could have been a lot better but overall I think we were really strong. And I was really happy with how everyone kept up the energy and worked really well together.”

Cate advances to the quarterfinals to be played on Saturday.

Peyton Shelburne and Delaney Mayfield led the attack with 13 and 12 kills, respectively. Both added seven digs each and combined for seven aces. The Cate team collected 14 aces total and committed just five service errors on 73 attempts.

Cate's Xandrine Griffin and Delaney Mayfield get up in front of Azusa's Brianna Gomez.

Cate’s Xandrine Griffin and Delaney Mayfield get up in front of Azusa’s Brianna Gomez.

Maddie Becker had a team-high 15 digs to go with six kills and Matthews reached double digits in kills with 10.

Cate was never threatened in the first and third sets, but Azusa hung around in the second set. The Rams led 10-9 before a seven-point run pushed the lead to 17-9. It got to 18-10 when Azusa rallied again and cut the lead to 21-17.

Azusa was a senior-heavy team that had reached the second round of CIF for the fourth straight season.

“I know it’s a bum for them the last game of the season going out like this, but they did try to play hard and they did try to put everything they could into it,” said Azusa head coach Tim Bazyouros.

Bazyouros credited Brianna Gomez, Danielle Castillo and setter Daniela Raygoza for having quality performances.

The Rams are the No. 1 seed in the division after finishing the regular season without a loss outside of a tournament. The Frontier League champions haven’t lost a set since September.

Rams head coach Greg Novak used practice to maintain his team’s sharpness.

“We intensified the practices and made heavier consequences and put a lot of pressure on serve-receive and being able to sideout.”

The pace of the drills were intense.

“Just put the pressure on them in practice so that they felt that anxiety and pressure to perform,” Novak explained.

A noisy crowd inside the gym gave the match a playoff feeling.

“We tried to just go into it like we do most of our games and stay calm, and not get rattled by the fans and the big atmosphere and sort of the craziness of our first CIF game,” Becker said.

Novak said it helped being able to get video on Azusa before playing.

“We actually got a little video of Azusa from their win the other night, so we kind of saw their defense which was really important tonight.”

Rams head coach Greg Novak talks to the Rams during a timeout.

Rams head coach Greg Novak talks to the Rams during a timeout.