CIF state volleyball: Valley Christian, Crystal Springs Uplands win championships

ORANGE — Undersized but unfazed and undaunted, Valley Christian upended powerful Palos Verdes 25-20, 23-25, 25-22, 25-23 to win the CIF Division I state championship at Santiago Canyon College on Friday night.

Charley Staats led the Warriors (26-10) with 26 kills and Addison Carbonara belted 21 kills, with freshman opposite Whitney Fleming contributing 12 kills.

The CIF crown came in the Warriors’ first appearance since 2016, which capped a four-year run of three appearances with two titles. Both the 5-foot-7 Staats and 5-foot-9 Carbonara play libero in club volleyball, yet had success against a much taller SoCal powerhouse.

“The key is being able to move the ball around and set the ball fast so as to not let the block set up,” Valley Christian setter Hailey Newell said.

Palos Verdes (25-12) was led by Kendall Beshear with 30 kills and a .311 attack percentage. Beshear is a Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo commit whose club team won the 17s Open Division at Junior Nationals.

Middle Daniela Rusich ripped 14 kills. The Sea Kings were competitive in the Southern Section’s prestigious eight-team Open Division and then won the SoCal Division I title. They also feature setter Mallory Labreche, a UCLA beach commit and sister Molly Labreche, an LSU beach commit.

“The difference was our serving and our passing,” Valley Christian coach Ron Whitmill said. “We kept service pressure on them all game. If we allow them to get in system, we’re in trouble.”

The Warriors finished fifth in the seven-team West Catholic Athletic League but the experience hardened them and they played fearlessly and with strong defense, led by libero Michael Torkaman.

Valley Christian rolled in the first set, but the Sea Kings got untracked in the second.

In the third set, Valley Christian broke a 19-19 tie with two Carbonara kills and the final three points from Staats on a tip and two kills through the block.

That formula was repeated in the fourth set. With a 23-23 tie, Staats belted the final two points off the Sea Kings’ block.

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Crystal Springs Uplands won its first CIF State volleyball championship by defeating Oceanside 17-25, 25-23, 25-13, 16-25, 15-11. …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment


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