Girls’ volleyball team begins CIF as 3rd seed in Division IA

Elijah Akhtarzad

After closing out its Mission League season with a victory over the Alemany Warriors Nov. 5, the girls’ varsity volleyball team was able to secure the third seed in the CIF Division IA playoff bracket. The Wolverines notched nine league wins on the season, while only losing one game to Flintridge Sacred Heart Oct. 24.
“Our bracket is looking pretty manageable, but we have to avoid falling into that trap we fell into last year, which is stepping onto the court thinking that we are going to roll the team, but we didn’t,” outside hitter Rachel Savage ’15 said. “This year, I think especially with our bracket, it’s easy to get relaxed in the middle of a game, but we can’t. We have to stay focused, keep pushing, end the game and move on to the next game without taking a breath.”
Although the squad ended the season with the same record as Flintridge Sacred Heart, the squad finished atop the Mission League by winning the tiebreaker against the Tologs by defeating them in fewer sets than when they beat the Wolverines in their second matchup. FSHA was defeated in three sets this year compared to the four it took for them to beat the Wolverines.
Outside of season play, the Wolverines competed in the Cali Challenge, the Durango Tournament in Las Vegas, and the Redondo Union High School tournament where the team took home a quarterfinal finish in a loss to San Diego’s Scripps Ranch. The squad was able to go 3-4 overall in the Durango Tournament and was placed in the silver bracket after matching up against Assumption, the fifth ranked team in the nation and the 1st ranked team in Kentucky.

Preceding its silver bracket finish in the Durango tournament, the squad went 4-0 in pool play in the Cali Challenge and defeated the 2013 CIF Division I State Champions Marymount for the second time this year. The team went on to lose in the semifinals to top-ranked Torrey Pines in two sets.
“The Durango tournament in Vegas provides a competitive environment that allows us to deal with adversity, become even closer as a group and continue to ascend as a team,” Head Coach Adam Black said.
After missing a majority of the season due to shin splints, Savage returned to the rotation as an outside hitter just in time for CIF playoffs. Savage was also available in the squad’s last game against Alemany, where the team defeated the Warriors in three sets.
“I’m looking forward to playing with the girls again, and helping contribute to the team and helping them win,” Savage said.
The squad lost one league match the entire league season to FSHA, putting them in first place with a 9-1 record, while notching an overall record of 22-9.
Team captains Josephine Kremer ’14, Nicole Elattrache ’14 and Marielle Bagnard ’14 will lead the team in playoffs this year, as all players have helped the team in a different ways; either defensively or offensively with hitting. The squad will face the winner of the wild card game between El Toro and Godinez in the first round of the bracket. The Wolverines were placed on the different side of the CIF bracket opposite top ranked La Salle, FSHA and St. Lucy’s.
The La Salle Lancers are currently the first seed in the bracket and are ranked fifth in the state.