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ORANGE COUNTY SOUTHERN SECTION VOLLEYBALL CHAMPIONSHIPS
| DIVISION IV-A

Whittier Christian Rebounds to Beat Familiar Rival

November 19, 2000|PAUL SAITOWITZ | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Whittier Christian defeated Olympic League rival Sierra Madre Maranatha in the Southern Section Division IV-AA girls' volleyball final Saturday night at Cypress College.

The Heralds lost the first game, 9-15, then won the next three, 16-14, 15-12, 16-14.

The teams split in their two meetings during the regular season.

Maranatha served well in the first game, and took a 9-2 advantage after Judith Ball served for five consecutive points. Whittier Christian trailed, 13-3, before rallying behind the serving of Mallory Guitierrez to close the gap.

"We came out really flat in that first game, but we started to play well near the end," Whittier Christian Coach Lisa Bloom said. "I told them that we had to carry that momentum into the second game if we wanted to have a chance of winning."

The Heralds picked up the intensity in the second game behind the powerful hitting of outside hitter Joelle Sagehorn, who had a team-high 21 kills.

They took a 14-11 advantage before giving up three points to the Minutemen on a succession of blocks and kills by middle blocker Adrienne Pepe.

Whittier Christian eventually won the game on a block by middle blocker Melissa Carlisle.

"It was very close," Maranatha Coach Kristin Pinard said. "That second game was one that could gave gone either way. Our games were just like this during the regular season, they were just more focused than us tonight."

The Minutemen took a 3-0 lead in the third game, but the Heralds battled back and took a 9-4 advantage behind the Sagehorn's strong serving. Whittier Christian extended the lead to 12-6, but Maranatha refused to quit and cut the lead to 13-12 thanks to several game-saving digs by Heather Travis and Amanda Laruw.

The Heralds won the last two points on Andrea Abeanu's serve to take a two-games-to-one advantage.

The fourth game was close all the way, with neither team leading by more than three points. With the score tied, 14-14, Whittier Christian took the lead on the serve of Megan Kimes, and eventually won the game on a kill by Carlisle.

"We showed a lot of heart as a team tonight," Bloom said. "We could have folded after losing that first game, but this team didn't quit."

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