ATHERTON -- The Sacred Heart Prep girls volleyball team is headed to the state finals for the second time in three years after a 25-13, 25-11, 23-25, 25-22 win Tuesday over Harbor for the Northern California Division IV championship.
The Gators were defeated by La Jolla Country Day 3-0 in the 2010 state final.
"That motivates us a lot,'' said senior Ellie Shannon, a key contributor on the 2010 team as a sophomore. "We wanted to get back to the state finals so we could redeem ourselves. We have much more depth this year, we're an older, more experienced team.''
Sacred Heart Prep (33-5) will play Francis Parker of San Diego (39-2), the No. 1 seed from the Southern California regional, on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. at Concordia University in Irvine for the Division IV state title.
"Last time we played a team that was very, very good,'' SHP coach Damien Hardy said. "It was our first time. This time we'll just play Gator volleyball.''
The NorCal final was a rematch of the Central Coast Section championship match, also won 3-1 by Sacred Heart Prep. But Tuesday's NorCal affair, played on SHP's home court, was much more one-sided. The Gators dominated the first two sets, winning the first set 25-13 and getting out to a 16-3 lead in the second.
"That was probably the best we've played all year long,'' Hardy said.
Harbor (32-7) battled back to take the third set and played a competitive match in the fourth, cutting SHP's lead to
Sonia Abuel Saud led Sacred Heart Prep with 21 kills. Payton Smith had 14 kills and seven blocks. Sophomore Victoria Garrick also had 14 kills. Cammie Merten had 54 assists and Helen Gannon had 23 digs.
Molly Tobin led Harbor with 19 kills. Sydney Hogan had 15 digs, Kelsey Shaver 12 kills and 14 digs and Grace Thompson had 38 assists.
The Valley Christian Warriors' first appearance in the NorCal playoffs in three years ended in a 20-25, 25-22, 25-23, 27-25 loss to two-time defending Division III state champs Campolindo.
Valley Christian (35-9) was led by Madeleine Dilfer, who had 30 assists and 14 kills.
-- Matt Smith,
Woodside Priory's season ended in a 25-17, 25-15, 25-11 loss to Branson-Ross at the College of Marin.