Clovis East High extended but could not overcome the defending CIF State Division I girls volleyball champion.
The fifth-seeded Timberwolves forced a decisive fifth set after dropping the first two in a 25-20, 25-21, 17-25, 23-25, 15-8 loss to No. 4 Redondo Union-Redondo Beach on Tuesday in the opening round of the CIF Southern California Regionals.
The Sea Hawks (33-4) returned to the regionals a year after defeating Pitman-Turlock 25-23, 25-18, 25-21 in the state finals, finishing the year ranked No. 3 nationally in the Maxpreps Xcellent 25. They are currently ranked fifth in the state by Maxpreps.
Clovis East (33-8) was making its first trip to the SoCal Regional after capturing the school’s first Central Section Division I championship on Saturday with a 25-18, 25-20 25-22 sweep of top-seeded Liberty-Bakersfield.
“I think for our first trip playing in state tournament, we started out a little slow,” Clovis East coach Vicki Samarin said. “May we were thinking our opponent was a little bigger than they were, maybe thinking a little too much of them. But once we realized we could play our game, we battled with them.”
Redondo Union, behind college-bound Megan Rice (UC Santa Barbara) and Norene Iosia (Hawaii), jumped out to a 6-1 lead in the fifth set and never looked back while advancing to a regional semifinal Saturday at top-seeded Torrey Pines.
The Timberwolves were led by San Jose State recruit Thalian Grajeda, who had 17 kills and six blocks. Christian Tran contributed 51 assists, three blocks and three kills, Madison Mossette had nine kills and six aces, Jocelyn Rodriguez added 11 kills, Abby Edwards had eight kills and three aces, and Rose Vang mad 15 digs.
“I think that experience, in and of itself, is huge for ourselves,” said Samarin, whose team arrived a little less than an hour before the start of the match because of a late start out of Clovis and backed up traffic on the freeway. “Now we feel like we can do this, like we belong.”
Also in the CIF SoCal Regionals, fifth-seeded Sierra fell at No. 4 Alta Loma 25-15, 19-25, 25-22, 25-20 in Division IV.
The section D-IV champion Chieftains finish the season 32-4.
In other matches involving section teams, Liberty-Bakersfield fell to Chadwick 22-25, 25-17, 25-18, 25-16 in D-II, Bakersfield Christian swept Elizabeth-Cudahy 25-20, 25-15, 25-13 in D-IV and Frazier Mountain swept Tarbut V’ Torah-Irvine 25-19, 25-11, 25-20.