Unless some freak of nature occurs, the Bay League girls volleyball title will again reside at either Mira Costa or Redondo. For now, though, the Mustangs are the frontrunners for it.
Host Mira Costa earned an impressive sweep (25-17, 25-20, 27-25) of Redondo that allowed the Mustangs to take sole possession of the league race and dropped the Sea Hawks a game back. And though the chase is far from over, sweeping the Sea Hawks was sweet for the Mira Costa faithful.
“I have plenty of respect for them, but I’m happy with the sweep,” Mira Costa coach Lisa Zimmerman said. “I knew they wouldn’t stop playing, so if we gave them anything it could have turned into a different story. So we really wanted to close it out.”
They closed it when Skylar Dykstra, who led Redondo with 10 kills, tried to save Redondo again, but her attempt landed in the net as Mira Costa prevailed. Junior outside hitter Grayce Campbell had a match-high 15 kills, while senior outside hitter Maddy Klineman added 11 for the Mustangs (8-6, 4-0). Junior setter Corie Bain finished with 41 assists, 12 digs and three kills.
Juniors Kelsey McIntire (two aces, four kills) and Lexi Millington (14 digs, six kills) and senior Katie Warshaw (17 digs) also produced strong performances for the Mustangs, who had dropped four in a row before winning their last four matches, all coming in league.
Zimmerman said the Mustangs weren’t playing bad; they just couldn’t seal the deal.
“It was kind of deceiving because all three teams—Edison, Los Al and Marymount—are all in the top division,” Zimmerman said, referring to three of the four setbacks. The Mustangs also lost to Torrey Pines. “We were up in two of those (matches). I thought we were playing decent, but not finishing. So it’s nice that we’re starting to finish now. But our heart and determination is matching up well. We just need to keep playing the same volleyball that we know how to play.”
Against Redondo (9-7, 3-1), Mira Costa was the aggressor all night. The Mustangs controlled the net and frequently was the quicker team getting to loose balls.
In the opening game, Mira Costa dictated, jumping to an early lead and halting several rallies by Redondo. The Mustangs broke a tie at 10 with a quick 5-1 run for a 15-11 advantage after a kill by Klineman. Though Redondo pulled to within 15-13 after Klineman hit a shot into the net, Mira Costa got another spark, going on a 10-4 run to capture the game on a kill by Bain.
The Mustangs got more of the same in the second game, grabbing leads and fighting off the Sea Hawks. Campbell took over midway through the game with kills and strong net play. With the score tied at 12, Campbell’s kill gave Mira Costa the lead for good in the game, which it eventually claimed when Dykstra’s shot sailed wide.
Redondo played its best stretch in the third game, but again it came up short. The Sea Hawks had a chance to capture the game when a net violation gave them a 24-23 lead, but Bain slapped a shot over the net that Redondo was unable to handle to knot the score at 24.
A kill by Klineman gave Mira Costa a 25-24 advantage, but Dykstra’s kill tied it at 25. However, another kill by Klineman and Dykstra’s net shot clinched the match for the Mustangs.
“We just made too many errors, but our opponent played well and put stress on us,” Redondo coach Tommy Chaffins said.
Still, there were a few bright spots for Redondo. In addition to Dykstra’s good play, Brianna Lanktree finished with six kills. But Hannah Mosebar, who had four kills, played as well as any of the Sea Hawks. Tiffany Morales chipped in 12 digs.
Chaffins, though, blamed himself for the loss.
“I have to do a better job of getting our players to perform better,” Chaffins said. “I thought our opponent played well, which is a credit to them, but we have to focus on our side. I thought their performance was affecting our next-play focus. On a high level, that can break a team down.”
Campbell believes Mira Costa has already done that. She said she could tell by the body language of the Sea Hawks.
“I think we wanted it more tonight and we fought harder,” Campbell said. “I think this puts us way ahead of them because they’re going to have a really hard time beating us again.”
They meet again in the regular-season finale Nov. 1 at Redondo.