With its seventh straight postseason victory, Immanuel High has punched its ticket to the CIF State Volleyball Championships.
And Immanuel will attempt to add a third state volleyball to the trophy case when it plays in the Division V final against Head-Royce (Oakland) at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 2 at Santiago Canyon College in Orange.
Fifth-seeded Immanuel completed an improbable run through the CIF Southern California Regionals on Saturday, riding a team-leading 15 kills from Danielle Jefferies to a 25-23, 25-13, 25-13 sweep of No. 2 Capistrano Valley Christian in San Juan Capistrano. Head-Royce beat Marin Academy in the NorCal Regional final.
“I am just beyond proud of them,” Immanuel coach Janell Gonsalves said. “I feel overwhelmed with their willingness to trust me and the program. All season they relentlessly pursued the game at a higher level.”
Immanuel (27-15) also received 12 kills and 12 digs from Lindsay Unruh, 33 assists and 10 digs from Brooke Gonsalves, six kills and three blocks from Ava Galpin and three aces from Bailey Price.
I feel overwhelmed with their willingness to trust me and the program. All season they relentlessly pursued the game at a higher level.
Immanuel volleyball coach Janell Gonsalves on her team reaching the CIF State girls volleyball final in Division V
Janell Gonsalves said Galpin played a key role early with two first-set blocks that helped shut down Capistrano Valley Christian’s middle attack. Capistrano Valley Christian (30-4) rarely tried the middle the rest of the match, Gonsalves said.
“The first set we were just working out some jitters and nerves of the match, and getting a feel for how Capistrano Valley played,” Janell Gonsalves said. “In the second and third sets, they relaxed a lot more. We talked about playing controlled volleyball and playing level, and they really did that.
“They played a great game. They pursued like crazy. They didn’t let the ball die on our side and it kept momentum on our side and kept Capistrano Valley from getting it.”
Immanuel’s journey through the Regional also included a 25-13, 25-9, 25-17 sweep of Polly-Sun Valley at home on Nov. 16, and road victories at No. 4 Tarbut V’ Torah-Irvine (25-19, 25-13, 17-25, 25-18) on Nov. 19 and over top-seeded San Gabriel Academy-San Gabriel (25-18, 25-18, 25-22) on Nov. 22. That followed a 3-0 run through the Central Section playoffs, capped by a 25-13, 28-26, 25-23 win over defending champion and top-seeded Frazier Mountain in the final.
“I really didn’t think about state,” Janell Gonsalves said. “It wasn’t on my radar or the girls’ radar. They just wanted to extend the season as long as possible and play with each other as friends for as long as possible, and they have. They keep loving the game and each other.”
Immanuel also won state D-V titles in 2001 over Woodside Priory-Portola Valley (15-10, 15-7, 15-0) and in 1997 over Modoc-Alturas (15-7, 15-13, 15-6).
The last Central Section team to reach the CIF State Championships in girls volleyball was Central Valley Christian in 2013. The Cavaliers were swept by Valley Christian-San Jose, led by the daughters of former Fresno State star quarterback Trent Dilfer.
The last section team to win a state title was Bakersfield Christian in 2006 in D-V.
CIF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA REGIONAL FINALS
Immanuel 3, Capistrano Valley Christian-San Juan Capistrano 0
25-23, 25-13, 25-13. I, Danielle Jefferies 15 kills; Lindsay Unruh 12 kills, 12 digs; Brooke Gonsalves 33 assists, 10 digs; Ava Gaplin 6 kills, 3 blocks; Bailey Price 3 aces. Records: Immanuel 27-15. Capistrano Valley Christian 30-4.