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ORANGE COUNTY SOUTHERN SECTION VOLLEYBALL CHAMPIONSHIPS

Jackrabbits Catch Up to Tritons

Division I-AA: San Clemente easily wins first two games, but Long Beach Poly storms back to win final three and the championship.

November 19, 2000|MICHAEL ITAGAKI | TIMES STAFF WRITER

The showdown between the top two ranked teams in the state turned out to be two matches in one Saturday at the Southern Section girls' volleyball Division I-AA final at Cypress College.

San Clemente dominated top-ranked Long Beach Poly in the first two games and appeared on the way to its first title.

But then the Jackrabbits hit their stride and won the final three, just as convincingly, to claim their school's first section girls' volleyball title with an 11-15, 5-15, 15-10, 15-7, 15-10 victory.

Setter Drew Robertson, a 5-foot-11 senior who will play at Northwestern next season, had 45 assists, 13 kills, 21 digs and four blocks and junior Jennifer Randall had 22 kills and 17 digs to help Long Beach Poly rally.

"I was just waiting for them to show up," Long Beach Poly Coach Jeff Eyanson said. "And they did. Every single one of our players stepped up their game big time."

The Jackrabbits, who don't have a player taller than 5-11, still had more blocks than San Clemente, 11-7. Middle blockers Monique Lui (nine kills, five blocks) and Amy Kiel (six kills, six blocks) made San Clemente (18-1) pay when it cheated too much toward Randall.

San Clemente looked like it would turn the match into a laugher, especially after it won the second game, 15-5.

San Clemente junior Katy Daly had 11 of her 20 kills in the first two games and Christina Vick (14 kills), a 6-1 middle blocker who will play at Santa Clara next season, had 13 of her 24 digs in the first game to help the Tritons take control.

"We had all the momentum," San Clemente Coach Rob O'Rear said. "But in Game 3 they tightened up their passing and they started getting all of the breaks, balls off the tape, off the net.

"When they started playing their ball control . . . that's a great defensive team."

The Jackrabbits (24-1) scored the first eight points of the third game and built an 11-2 lead before closing it out. San Clemente pulled even at 7-7 in the fourth game, but Robertson served for five consecutive points to give Long Beach Poly control again before it forced a fifth game with a 15-7 win.

In the fifth game, San Clemente was even at 9-9, and stayed within 12-10 after a tip for a kill by junior Lauren Boissevain, who had 45 assists, three blocks and 25 digs.

But a kill by Randall, a San Clemente hitting error and a kill from Long Beach Poly's Lui on match point started the Jackrabbits' celebration.

It was the second championship victory for Long Beach Poly over San Clemente this season. The Jackrabbits handed the Tritons their only best-of-three loss, winning their meeting in the Dave Mohs Memorial tournament final on Sept. 18, 15-8, 16-14.

The only team to defeat Poly this season in a best-of-five match was Lakewood St. Joseph, the Division II-A runner-up.

"It was a five-game barnburner and it has to be heartbreaking, especially for our seniors," O'Rear said. "I told our team that they were the first San Clemente girls' team to make a [Southern Section] final and no one can ever take that away from them."

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