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Morrison Lights Oxnard's Fire in Three-Game Victory

High school volleyball: Senior's 22 kills help Yellowjackets turn back Quartz Hill to open playoffs, 15-4, 15-1, 15-5.


OXNARD — Sarah Morrison of Oxnard High never had it so easy as she did Tuesday night in a first-round match of the Southern Section Division I-AA girls' volleyball playoffs at Oxnard.

Virtually unblocked all match, Morrison pounded 22 kills and Sara Naumann added 12 as the fifth-seeded Yellowjackets needed barely over an hour to dispatch Quartz Hill, 15-4, 15-1, 15-5.

Though Morrison is one of the best hitters in the region, Quartz Hill apparently didn't get the memo. The Rebels (14-5) made no attempt to double-team Oxnard's top gun and paid the price. Morrison also had eight blocks.

"I was really surprised that they didn't at least force us to attack the wings," Oxnard Coach Lori Rice said. "Every team we've played has put up three blockers on her, and they were trying to stop her with one. Nobody can do that."

Morrison, a 5-foot-11 senior middle blocker who has committed to Cal State Fullerton, had nine kills in the first game, which Oxnard (18-4) closed out on back-to-back aces by Sara Grassi.

"They really weren't much better than the teams in our league," said Naumann, a 5-foot-9 senior middle blocker. "I think they got discouraged that they couldn't stop Sarah and forgot about what they were trying to do."

Said Morrison: "Once we have the momentum, we're pretty hard to beat. We seized the momentum right away."

Setter Ashleigh Hamilton had 39 assists and Jennifer Fix served six aces for three-time Pacific View League champion Oxnard, which has a 9-0 record on its own floor.

"We expected them to be a lot better than they were, but we never let our guard down no matter who we're playing," Hamilton said.

Quartz Hill, which finished second behind Highland in the Golden League, managed only five sideouts in the second game and never held a lead.

"The only benefit of a match like this is that it enables us to play most of our team," Rice said. "That's important, because you never know when you will need your players to contribute down the line."

Jen Houseman led the Rebels with 12 kills and Randi Cooper had 17 assists.

Oxnard raced to an 8-0 lead in the third game. Morrison ended the match by blocking Houseman.

"This season is all about taking little baby steps," Morrison said. "Right now our goal is to make it past the second round because we haven't been able to do that the last couple of years."

Oxnard will face 12th-seeded San Gabriel on Thursday night.

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