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Aztecs Push Title to Limit

Esperanza needs three games to win Division I of Orange County volleyball tournament. Brea Olinda takes the Division II crown.

September 23, 2003|Paul McLeod | Times Staff Writer

Anaheim Esperanza High's volleyball team didn't get the rotation it wanted, but the Aztecs found a way to pull out a victory over Los Gatos on Monday night in the third and deciding game of the Division I championship match at the Dave Mohs Memorial Orange County Championships.

The 23-25, 25-21, 15-13 victory at Huntington Beach Edison High marked the first time in school history that Esperanza, ranked No. 5 by The Times, has won the tournament title.

Brea Olinda, which crept into the rankings this week at No. 10, overcame an uneven effort against San Diego Francis Parker and took the Division II title with a 25-19, 26-28, 15-11 victory.

Esperanza, which had to rally from behind time and time again throughout the three-day tournament, took a 6-3 lead in the third and final game against Los Gatos, only to have the score tied at 10-10. A kill by sophomore Ashley Engle, the tournament's most valuable player, put the Aztecs on top for good, 11-10.

But shortly after Engle rotated into the back row and took her firepower with her.

Los Gatos drew within 14-13, but handed Esperanza the final point of the match on a hitting error.

"I kept thinking we were playing the old rules and we could side out and get her into the front row," Aztec Coach Kurt Kersten said. "But we're not playing those rules anymore. It's rally scoring."

This is the first year in which high schools have used rally scoring in which a point is scored on every serve.

Brea ran off the final nine points to win the first game against Francis Parker, but too many unforced errors cost it the second.

The Wildcats got off to an 8-4 lead in the third game and after Francis Parker closed to within 10-9, Brea got a kill from Rachel Lumsden and another from her sister, Brittani Lumsden, and that put the Wildcats back in control.

The Lumsdens were selected to the all-tournament team.

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