Women's Volleyball Regional Round 2 winners feature seven high seed, conference champions

Feather River was one of eight winners in Round 2 Regionals on Saturday night.
Feather River was one of eight winners in Round 2 Regionals on Saturday night.

The field is set for the CCCAA State Women's Volleyball Championships as seven of the eight highest seeds won their regional Round 2 playoff matches Saturday night.

The North is represented by four conference champions in #1 Feather River, #2 Fresno City, #3 Cabrillo, and #4 American River, the defending state champs. The South features three conference winners in undefeated and #1 Irvine Valley, #2 Grossmont, #4 El Camino and the only wildcard in the group in #6 MiraCosta. The Spartans won a Pacific Coast Athletic Conferece rubber match against #3 San Diego Mesa in five sets. MC was the third place team in the PCAC this season and won for the second time v. the Olympians in three meetings.

The quarterfinals matchups for the state tournament to be played at Southwestern College in Chula Vista are as follows for Friday, Dec. 6: 10 a.m.--N1-Feather River v. S4-MiraCosta; 1 p.m.--S2 Grossmont v. N3 Cabrillo; 4 p.m.--N2 Fresno City v. S3-El Camino, and 7 p.m.--S1 Irvine Valley v. N4 American River. The semifinals are set for 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 7 and then the championship match is 2 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 8.

Here are capsules on the eight Round 2 Regional matches:

NORTH

#1 Feather River d. #8 West Valley, 30-28, 25-19, 25-10: The 10-time Golden Valley Conference champion Golden Eagles (32-2) have a 33-set win streak after being tested in the opening game v. the Vikings. West Valley reached set point at 24-22 but Feather River rallied for the 5-extra point triumph. The change in momentum was too much for WVC as Feather River had an easier time in completing the sweep. For Feather River, All-American setter Mere Nagase delivered eight kills, eight digs and 20 assists while Sydney Gott scored 10 kills and four blocks. FRC makes its second trip to the state tourney in the last three years. West Valley's season ends at 20-9.

#2 Fresno City d. #7 San Joaquin Delta, 25-20, 25-16, 25-18: The 13-time Central Valley Conference champion Rams (30-2) won the state title in 2016 and lost a 5-set heartbreaker in the state finals last year v. American River, so it's not surprising Fresno played at its best in sweeping the Mustangs for the second time this season. Fresno takes a 19-match win streak into the state tourney after fine performances by Julie Castleman (11 kills, hit .321, five blocks), Taylor Dilley (10 kills, hit .300, 11 digs), Rylee Kenitzer (eight kills, hit .412), and setters Julie Pagani and Brooke Gonsalves (combined 33 assists, 16 digs). For Delta, Kaitlyn Morenzone made 17 digs, Angel Lambert made five kills and three blocks, and Angelique Stepanoff scored six kills. Delta's season ends at 21-9.

#3 Cabrillo d. #6 Sierra, 25-15, 22-25, 25-11, 24-26, 15-5: The 13-time Coast Conference (North Division this season) champion Seahawks (23-5) were battled by the co-Big 8 champ Wolverines but controlled the fifth set to reach their sixth state tournament in the past seven seasons. All-American Ellie Cary was all-world in this match with 25 kills (hit .327), 20 digs and four aces. Tied 3-3 in the final set, Cary ripped two kills and an ace during a 9-1 Cabrillo run to put away the victory. Kendra Lis and Isabella Bush combined for 20 kills and were strong at blocking all evening while Hailey Naccarato contributed 18 digs. Sierra twice came back from 1-set deficits but peaked after a 2-point win in set 4. The Wolverines were led by Ashley Almond with nine kills and three blocks and Alyssa Orteza with 24 digs. Sierra had an impressive 10-match win streak stopped and ends it season at 22-8. 

#4 American River d. #5 Folsom Lake, 20-25, 25-19, 25-21, 25-15: The co-Big 8 Conference champion Beavers (24-7) had twice gone five sets in their conference matchups v. the Falcons and fell behind after losing the opening set in the regional. But ARC built its reputation on coming back in matches as it rallied to win the next three games, winning by a combined 20 points margin. The Beavers were paced by Allison Linder and Andreia Keane. Folsom Lake had a big performance by Julin Kenison who totaled 15 kills, 20 digs and five blocks while Caitlin Dillon added 15 kills and 25 digs. Folsom's season ends at 22-6. 

SOUTH

#1 Irvine Valley d. #9 Orange Coast, 25-18, 25-16, 25-12: The 3-time Orange Empire Conference champion Lasers remained undefeated at 25-0 with their 21st sweep of the season as they advanced to their third straight state tournament. IVC is 75-4 in sets this season and look like a juggernaut after hitting .314 as a team v. the Pirates. All-American Kristin Austin helped her team distance itself from a slim 19-18 advantage in the opening set as she finished with 11 kills (hit .556) while Lea Kruse scored 12 kills and 13 digs. Truth Hafey dished out 37 assists and spun four aces and Gabriela Griego added 11 kills (hit .391). Orange Coast, swept in all three meetings v. Irvine Valley, saw its season end at 19-7.

#2 Grossmont d. #7 Bakersfield, 23-25, 25-16, 25-22, 25-22: The Pacific Coast Athletic Conference co-champion Griffins (26-3) overcame a 1-0 set deficit, defeating the Western State South champ Renegades in four sets to advance to its first state tourney in three years. Grossmont setter Haley Morton was a big factor with 48 assists as she set often to Shaney Lipscomb (15 kills) and Naomi Talisa Leilua (12 kills). Bakersfield had a 13-match win streak stopped despite Lanie Camarillo scoring 14 kills, Penelope Zepeda tallying 12 kills and 12 digs, and Jessica Merante defending well with 18 digs. Bakersfield's season ends at 21-3.

#6 MiraCosta d. #3 San Diego Mesa, 27-25, 20-25, 25-21, 14-25, 15-13: There was no way of knowing what way this match would go after the first two meetings between the PCAC squads after the Olympians won in a sweep in the first encounter, then the Spartans turned the tables to record a sweep of their own in the second conference matchup. Fittingly, the teams went to war in this regional with MC taking a 1-0, and 2-1 set leads only to see Mesa roar back. In the fifth, it was the lower-seeded Spartans (21-5) taking the deciding set by just two points. For Mesa, Lizzie Wilson recorded 30 kills, Rachel Wilkocz 55 assists, and Maddie Harris 16 kills. On now a 10-match win streak, MC makes its second trip to the state tourney in three years. SD Mesa ends its season at 24-6.

#4 El Camino d. #5 Moorpark, 26-24, 17-25, 25-23, 25-23: The 10-time South Coast Conference champion Warriors (23-5) won all three of their sets by the slim 2-point margins in downing a very tough Raiders team in four sets. ECC advanced to the state tourney for the second straight year and third time in the last four seasons. Mikayla Clark came up large again for El Camino as she broke a 24-24 tie in the opening set with a kill and an ace. In set 2, Cassidy Crosby twirled four consecutive aces and El Camino ran out to a 10-3 lead, but Moorpark climbed back on five kills by Lily Karamanukyan and tied the match at 1-1. In the third set, the teams were tied at 23-23, but a service error and an attack mistake by the Raiders gave ECC a 2-1 games lead. In the fourth, Moorpark's attack, efficient in the first three sets, struggled with 13 errors or more than half of El Camino's points. Still, Megan Wall landed three kills that cut at one point a 19-11 lead to one at 24-23. However, match point was a set error that sealed the victory for ECC. The Warriors were led by Clark with 19 kills and 17 digs and Kelly Donatucci's superb defense on 26 digs. The Raiders received 18 kills and five blocks by Wall, 15 kills by Janessa Valaoga, and 14 kills (and three aces, three blocks) by Karamanukyan. El Camino avenged a 4-set loss to MC way back in September. Moorpark's season ends at 16-4. 

Release by Robert Lewis, CCCWVCA SID