STUDIO CITY — It wasn't exactly the breakfast of champions--cupcakes and chips--but Harvard-Westlake High had reason to celebrate after Tuesday night's girls' volleyball match.
Other than Melissa Goldstein's birthday, of course.
By posting a 15-12, 15-10, 13-15, 15-13 victory over Notre Dame, the Wolverines basically locked up their fifth consecutive Mission League title.
Harvard-Westlake has a two-game lead over Flintridge Sacred Heart with three games left.
Although they won't be showing clips of this one at the year-end banquet, the Wolverines (12-1, 7-0 in league) played well when they had to, especially during a fourth-game rally.
Notre Dame (9-4, 4-3) failed to accomplish much in the first two games, but captured an inspired third game, as Harvard-Westlake starters Anne Jakle and Allison Rintala sat out.
"We felt they were totally underestimating us by playing their bench people," said Notre Dame outside hitter Kathryn Martin. "We stepped it up."
And closed the gap.
The Wolverines' starters returned for the fourth game, but nothing changed as Notre Dame took an 11-4 lead.
Then came the magic words: Feed the middle.
Rintala exclusively set up Malaika Naulls and Michelle Wong, the Wolverines' talented middle blockers.
Wong delivered five kills, Naulls added two and the Wolverines had figured it all out. Sort of.
"I really don't know what it was that drove us to win," said Wong, who had 17 kills but said she wants no part of being labeled a go-to player.
"I don't think so," she said. "That sounds kind of egotistical."
Martin had 27 kills, 14 in the fourth game.
Harvard-Westlake, which lost only its third game in the past two years of league play, could get a boost Thursday when standout swing hitter Christine Bohle is expected to return after missing eight matches with a hernia.