Girls’ volleyball moves on to state championship match

In the south-east corner of Taper Gym, there is an empty space on the wall next to three black banners. The girls’ varsity volleyball team hopes to fill this void on Saturday when they compete against Sacred Heart Cathedral of San Francisco in the Div. III state finals.

To make it to this point, the team overcame Laguna Beach last night in the Southern California regional championship. The Wolverines defeated the Breakers in three straight games, with scores of 25-15, 25-15 and 25-23.

The squad was led by outside hitter Meg Norton ’10, who had a match-high 16 kills.

“I think we came out with a lot of energy and we practiced our defense a lot the day before,” Norton said. “We were very mentally prepared.”

Both head coach Adam Black and middle blocker Krystle Higgins ’09 agreed that the team’s blocking was a major factor in their victory.

“I think our blocking has been a momentum-swinger and an intimidating factor out there. In girls’ volleyball, teams don’t necessarily expect that there will be a lot of blocks going on,” Black said.

“We worked especially hard on blocking in practice… we made sure that we knew the hitters well and that we were prepared fully for this game,” Higgins added.

Middle blocker Cathryn Quinn ’08 contributed with 13 kills and four blocks on the night. She was accompanied by outside hitter Emily Waterhouse ’09, who had eight kills, and Marin Dennis ’08, who had three kills, four blocks and 11 digs. Setter Katherine Sebastian ’08 finished with 33 assists and nine digs.

Although players soaked up their victory over Laguna Beach after the contest, there was an anticipation of Saturday’s state championship match in the air. After the victory, the Fanatics chanted “San Jose,” the location of Saturday’s match, looking ahead to a possible fourth state championship for the program. The Wolverines won girls’ volleyball state championships in 1995, 2000 and 2001.

“I don’t want to jinx us, but I think we have a great shot of winning a championship,” Kasey Kissick ’08 said.

“I don’t think we expected getting this far [at the beginning of the season,] but as the season went on we definitely saw ourselves winning state and reaching higher heights,” Higgins said.

Black did not dwell on the victory either. Within minutes after the win, he said, “It feels good… right now I’m just thinking about tomorrow’s practice.” As for adding a fourth state championship banner on the wall, he said, “We’ll see what we can do about getting another one.”