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Awash in Kills, Royal Swept by Marina Payback

Girls' state volleyball: Highlanders caught looking past Vikings, whom they defeated twice before.


SIMI VALLEY — In uncharted territory, the Royal High girls' volleyball team got lost.

Blinded by a flurry of kills by outside hitter Chanda McLeod of Marina and a slew of service and hitting errors by themselves, the Highlanders fell to Marina, 15-3, 15-5, 15-6, in a quarterfinal match of the state playoffs Saturday night at Royal.

"It was just an off night for us, and Marina played so good," said Teresa Russell, Royal middle blocker. "They were awesome."

The best of the Vikings, seeded sixth among Southern California teams, was McLeod, a left-handed senior who is being recruited by Arkansas, Pepperdine and Texas A&M.

She collected seven kills in the first game, nine in the second and finished with 24 kills.

Her efforts, coupled with 12 service errors by second-seeded Royal, had the Highlanders down throughout the match.

The Vikings made up for two earlier losses to Royal, including one in the Southern Section Division I-A championship match last weekend.

"We knew we could beat them," McLeod said. "Everything was just perfect. We've been waiting to play like this all season."

Royal (32-5) also didn't played the way it had all season. The Highlanders won their first state playoff match Tuesday and were seeking a matchup with Newport Harbor in the state semifinals Tuesday.

It wasn't to be, however, as the Vikings (21-2) dug up nearly everything Royal threw down at them. Courtney Guerra had 14 kills and 12 digs and Russell finished with nine kills, but the Highlanders were otherwise stymied.

Royal dug holes for itself in each game.

The Highlanders took their only lead of the match, 3-2, in the third game, but Marina scored eight of the next nine points. McLeod had eight kills in the game and aces by Karly Burnier and Shannon Yarbrough helped the Vikings regain control.

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