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No Stopping Wolverines

Girls' volleyball: Harvard-Westlake makes it back to Division III state final with sweep of Lakewood St. Joseph.

November 28, 2001|MIKE BRESNAHAN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Courtney Schultz and Terbrie Taylor have had The Talk several times.

It can take place after practice or during a match, and it inevitably involves the same vision, that this is North Hollywood Harvard-Westlake High's year and nobody else's.

The senior middle blockers backed up their bravado with stellar play against Lakewood St. Joseph in the Southern Regional championship of the state Division III girls' volleyball playoffs Tuesday at Harvard-Westlake.

Schultz delivered 21 kills and Taylor had 15 kills for Harvard-Westlake in a 15-11, 16-14, 15-4 victory that sent the Wolverines to their third state final since 1995.

"We've been talking all season, Terbrie and me," Schultz said. "We know this is our last year. We wanted to get to the state finals and then see what happens after that."

Karalyn Kuchenbecker, also a senior, had 12 kills and 10 digs for the Wolverines, who took a 9-1 lead in the third game en route to a sweep.

The Wolverines' largest deficit was 4-1 in the first game. They quickly overcame it by scoring 10 of the next 12 points.

Taylor and Schultz were a study in symmetry, Taylor collecting seven kills in the first game and Schultz tallying seven in the third.

"As seniors, we wanted to step forward and dominate," Taylor said. "We knew what we had to do."

The Wolverines (20-2) won the state Division III championship last season and 1995, and will play Northern Regional champion Forestville El Molino (29-4) for the title Saturday at Cypress College.

"I'm not going to lie about it," Harvard-Westlake Coach Jess Quiroz said. "It feels good [to advance to another state final]."

St. Joseph (23-11) wasn't as successful trying to return to a state final for the first time since 1991.

The Jesters played well in the second game, turning a 7-2 deficit into a 10-9 lead before losing a well-played game that ended on a block by Schultz.

In the third game, the Jesters seemed spent.

"If we play at a fast tempo, we can get the job done," St. Joseph Coach Mike Hinton said. "In the third game, our emotion and tempo left us. We couldn't get that feeling back again."

Jennifer Daniels had 13 kills and Jamie Blomgren had nine kills for St. Joseph.

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