Inexperience finally caught up with the Mira Costa High girls volleyball team Thursday night.
The two-time defending CIF 5-A champions were denied a third straight appearance in the finals by an experienced Corona del Mar team, which took a little more than an hour to post a 15-4, 15-4, 15-11 semifinal-round victory at Redondo High.
Mira Costa (14-2), which started two sophomores and returned only one regular from last year, proved no match against a quick Corona del Mar team that dominated with a strong net game. The efficient defense and serving that got Mira Costa through the first two rounds of playoffs was not effective Thursday. Not even senior Karen Greiner, the Ocean League most valuable player, could help the Mustangs with her strong serving.
"It was our inability to get the ball back quickly and poor passing that really hurt us," said Mira Costa Coach Dae Lea Aldrich. "And their speed really took a toll on my middle blockers."
Second-seeded Corona del Mar (17-2) will face top-seeded Newport Harbor (19-0) for the title at 8:45 p.m. Saturday at Marina High in Huntington Beach.