By Lucy JacksonKasey Kissick â08 prepared to serve the final point of Saturdayâs CIF Division III State Championship match in San Jose as the severely outnumbered Wolverine fans held up one finger. She served an ace, and the girlsâ volleyball team celebrated in a huddle at mid court, much like the previous 19 games of their undefeated streak through league, regional and state competition. After just 59 minutes of play, the team captured the state title, sweeping Sacred Heart Cathedral of San Francisco in straight sets, 25-12, 25-12, 25-20.
âIt feels good, really good,â Head Coach Adam Black said. âPart of me is just relieved because I can finally get some sleep, but yeah, itâs definitely awesome.â
The Wolverines got off to a quick start, gaining a 3-0 lead in the first set on three consecutive kills from middle blocker Cathryn Quinn â08. Quinn and sophomore outside hitter Meg Norton combined for 11 of the Wolverines 29 total kills in the set, and a 16-6 final run propelled the team to a one set lead over the Irish.
âWe came out attacking and got it going right away,â Quinn said. âVolleyball is momentum-driven, and we took it right off the bat.â
After the Wolverines resoundingly won the second set, the Irish took its first lead of the match. Down 8-10, Norton shifted the momentum as she dove to reach Sacred Heartâs return on her own serve, setting up a Wolverine point. The team won the next point, tying the game 10-10, and maintained the lead for the remainder of the game. Kissickâs ace sealed the victory, and gave the Wolverines their first state title since 2001.
âEven when we got down, we knew that we could pull through and get it done,â Norton said. âItâs such a surreal moment. This is the state title, and we finished it off. We won it in three sets.â
As a first year starter on varsity, Nortonâs final game this season is a far cry from the one she played in last year. Now the championship MVP with a match-high 16 kills, Norton was called up for the 2006 postseason, only to play three points in which she committed two errors.
âI never thought it could happen,â Norton said. âThis is my first full year on varsity, and to win state and get MVP, itâs indescribable.â
Norton isnât the only one whom Black thinks has matured.
âIâm impressed by how hard the girls have trained and how much theyâve improved,â he said. âQuinn and [Katherine Sebastian â08] matured into real leaders, and others matured by learning how to be for a team, win or lose.â Jokingly, Black added, âItâs easier when youâre winning, of course.â
For the teamâs 10 seniors, the win ensures that their legacy will be left on the walls of Taper Gym, something Quinn has been looking forward to ever since seeing her sisterâs name enshrined on the banner from 2001 state champions.
âItâs been a dream of mine since before I came to Harvard-Westlake,â she said. âThe last three seasons were great, but to have my name up there forever, this year really made it all for me.â