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There's No Island Fever for Harvard-Westlake

High school volleyball: Wolverines back up championship of Iolani tournament with three-game victory over Royal.


SIMI VALLEY — Looks like Harvard-Westlake High can play on the mainland, too.

Three weeks after winning the Iolani tournament in Hawaii, the Wolverines defeated Royal, 15-9, 15-10, 15-6, in a nonleague girls' volleyball match Tuesday at Royal.

There wasn't any post-match snorkeling in Hanauma Bay, but Harvard-Westlake will take its third consecutive victory in the annual match between two of the region's top teams.

Courtney Schultz had nine kills and Karalyn Kuchenbecker added six for Harvard-Westlake (1-0), which hadn't played a match since defeating Mira Costa in the Iolani championship match Aug. 19.

"We were off for a while," Coach Jess Quiroz of Harvard-Westlake said. "My feeling was, they knew they were going to beat them and the intensity wasn't there."

It was when it had to be.

Harvard-Westlake went on an 8-0 run to end the first game and used another 8-0 run in the third game for a 12-3 lead.

Schultz, a 6-foot-1 junior middle blocker, was the steadiest player on the court.

She helped the Wolverines finish the first game with two late kills and she highlighted their third-game run with a block, a kill and an ace.

"She's awesome," Quiroz said. "Very seldom does she not terminate. She is a bona-fide [NCAA Division I] player. She can do it all."

Royal (0-2), which suffered a similar fate in a three-game loss to Santa Barbara on Thursday, had trouble with consistency.

The match marked a tough home debut for Coach Travis Ferguson of Royal, who took over the girls' program when his father, Bob, retired after 15 years.

"We weren't able to put three good plays together in a row," said Travis, who served as an assistant for two years under his father.

"If we got a good pass, it was tough to get a good set. If we got a good set and pass, there would be a hitting error."

Carly Huffman, who had 10 kills, and Dyana Thompson, who had eight, were the only viable options for the Highlanders, who open Marmonte League play Tuesday against Thousand Oaks.

Harvard-Westlake (1-0), ranked No. 1 in the region by The Times, has a trying few days ahead.

The Wolverines play a nonleague match at Huntington Beach Marina on Thursday and begin the Orange County tournament Friday.

"We'll get our edge back," Quiroz said. "I'm not worried."


* COLLEGE PREVIEW: Recruiting paying off for No. 8 Pepperdine women's volleyball team. Page 14

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