Laguna Beach High School swept to a surprisingly easy 15-4, 15-7, 15-9 victory over Capistrano Valley Tuesday night to advance to the semifinals of the Southern Section 5-A girls' volleyball tournament.
The Artists' (19-1) superior serving game and balanced attack was more than a match for the Cougars (17-4), who were coming off their first South Coast League championship. The victory sets up Thursday's semifinal match with Mira Costa.
Mira Costa is the tournament's No. 1 seed and is rated the top high school girls' volleyball team in the nation by USA Today. The Artists are the tournament's No. 4 seed.
"I thought we had the capability to win three straight," Artists Coach Lance Stewart said. "When we're on top of our game, we can do it, and this was our night."
Senior outside hitter Kit Spath's ace serve gave the Artists a 10-3 advantage en route to their 15-4 first-set victory, and the Cougars could never recover after that. "The girls seemed to get frustrated," Cougar Coach John Gipe said. "We were our own worst enemies."
Outside hitters Sara Nelson and Spath led the balanced Laguna scoring with nine kills apiece. Kealy Clark had eight. Setter Angie Rush contributed 12 assists. Becky Linhart (12 kills, five blocks, six assists) and Christina Grady (10 kills) led Capistrano Valley's scoring.
In Southern Section 5-A girls' volleyball quarterfinals:
Corona del Mar 3, St. Joseph 0--Krista Hartling had 10 kills and seven digs and Lara Carlsen had 11 kills and eight blocks as the Sea Kings (23-1) advanced to the semifinals with a 15-10, 15-8, 15-13 victory at home. Setter Prentice Perkins had 27 assists for the Sea Kings, who will play Santa Barbara Thursday in the semifinals.
In 4-A girls' volleyball quarterfinals:
Esperanza 3, Edison 1--Sharman Grant had 18 kills and Jonnie Jung had 10 to lead the Aztecs (16-1), 15-12, 15-9, 12-15, 15-10, at Esperanza. Esperanza will play Arcadia in the semifinals Thursday.
In 1-A girls' volleyball quarterfinals:
Santa Margarita 3, LA Baptist 2--Adine Powloski had 17 kills and Megan Morse had 12 kills and four blocks as Santa Margarita (19-2) won, 15-12, 13-15, 15-12, 9-15, 15-9, at home. Santa Margarita will play St. Anthony in the semifinals Thursday.