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Ryan Slides, Won't Let La Reina Slip

November 22, 2000|JOHN KLIMA

The first round of the state playoffs can be the easiest step. It can also be the most dangerous.

Led by Jennifer Ryan's 17 kills, No. 1-seeded La Reina High overcame inconsistent play in the first game to post a 15-8, 15-3, 15-3 victory over San Diego Horizon in the first round of the Division IV Southern Regional girls' volleyball playoffs Tuesday at La Reina.

The Regents (27-0) play Chowchilla (20-4) on Saturday at La Reina.

La Reina, which captured its first Southern Section title last week, played a stagnant first game before revealing the team that has been invincible this season.

"There was a letdown that I expected early," La Reina Coach Don Hyatt said. "Coming off such an emotional [championship] win, it was like starting the season all over again. There's no question this was a dangerous game."

La Reina slipped behind, 8-4, in the first game before rallying.

Ryan's specialty, the slide play, sparked the Regents and overwhelmed Horizon.

"We were intimidated once we saw [Ryan] start running her slide," Horizon Coach Bil Pascua said. "That's something we just don't see."

La Reina's swift transition game clicked after the Regents fell behind.

"There wasn't much fire early in the [first] game," Ryan said. "Then we were down 8-4, looked at each other and said, 'We're not gonna be beat.' "

La Reina's offensive balance proved too much for Horizon (7-20).

Christine Werner had seven kills and two aces. She started in place of Sara Toon, who had the flu. Lacy Ertel had eight kills and two aces. Setter Ashlie Hain had 18 assists and six kills.

"We passed really well and started running the real fast transition," said Ryan, who has 416 kills this season. "We had them a little flustered."

Hyatt said he's seen better from his team.

"I'd say we ran on three of eight cylinders," he said.

Pascua said that makes a frightening prospect for La Reina opponents.

"If that team was soft [Tuesday], when they're running on all cylinders, they're going to be very difficult to beat," Pascua said.

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