Clovis West High ran into a buzz saw at the Central Section girls volleyball championships.
A year after getting swept as a top seed, Liberty-Bakersfield High was nearly flawless in its return to the Division I girls volleyball final, sweeping Clovis West 25-17, 31-29, 25-19 on Saturday night at West Hills College-Lemoore.
It was the program’s third section title and first in D-I, according to historian Bob Barnett, and capped a daylong coronation of champions across five divisions at Golden Eagle Arena.
The No. 1 Patriots lost to second-seeded Clovis East 25-18, 25-20, 25-22 in last year’s final.
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“It’s a great feeling. We were in it last year and didn’t get the outcome we wanted,” Liberty coach Amy Parker said. “Clovis East played a great match against us and we didn’t play well. So my kids were super ready tonight.”
Liberty (25-7) committed nine unforced errors – four in the first set, one in the marathon second and four in the third.
“Liberty played amazing, no doubt about it,” Clovis West coach Rhonda DeRuiter said. “They are probably going to look back at their stats and have maybe six, seven unforced errors in the entire match, which is really phenomenal. Especially to show up and do that here.”
After eight lead changes early, Liberty took the lead for good on a Elsie Ferreira kill to make it 16-15. Ferreira would hammer home two more kills, including the set-clincher.
Liberty played amazing, no doubt about it. They gave us very few points on unforced errors. They just absolutely played clean and made us earn all of our points.
Clovis West coach Rhonda DeRuiter on Liberty-Bakersfield, which made nine unforced errors in a 25-17, 31-29, 25-19 victory for the Central Section Division I girls volleyball title
The second set had 20 lead changes and seven set points.
Clovis West (34-10) had three chances to finish out the set, but couldn’t put it away.
In the third set, the Golden Eagles committed errors on three straight points to see a 9-7 lead turn to a 10-9 deficit.
Clovis West, seeking its sixth section title, wouldn’t take the lead again.
The Patriots (who got 17 kills and 10 digs from Ferreira) and Golden Eagles (who received 14 kills and five digs from Micah Hebert and nine kills and 21 assists from Sarah Armendariz) are both headed to the CIF State Playoffs. Pairings will be announced Sunday.
Division I championship
LIBERTY-BAKERSFIELD 3, CLOVIS WEST 0
25-17, 31-29, 25-19. CW, Micah Hebert 14 kills, 5 digs; Tiersa Bailey 9 kills; Aubrey Olson 7 kills, 23 digs; Sarah Armendariz 9 kills, 21 assists. L, Elsie Ferreira 17 kills, 10 digs; Brooklynn Cheney 13 kills, 12 digs. Records: Clovis West 34-10; Liberty 25-9)