Santa Clarita Christian girls volleyball players lunged, dove and dug to fend off three straight Trinity Classical Academy attacks.
The fourth wouldn’t be denied.
Kathryn Brooks’ hit sped unimpeded to the floor to clinch the opening game at the Henry Mayo Fitness and Health Center on Thursday.
SCCS scratched and clawed but couldn’t keep the Knights from their second-ever win in the crosstown rivalry or from the first Heritage League title in program history.
Trinity won 3-1 by scores of 25-19, 27-29, 25-19, 25-18 to claim the crown outright with one league match remaining.
SCCS had gone unbeaten in Heritage play the previous three seasons.
“We had the mentality that they were going to be out for blood,” said Trinity senior Jessica Eblin. “They wanted it just as much as we did.”
The Knights beat SCCS on Oct. 11 in five games. Thursday, the teams packed that energy and angst into four.
The gym’s atmosphere hit a fever pitch in game two, when SCCS overcame a 23-20 deficit to tie the score, 24-24.
MORE volleyball: Cents fight through five for win
The teams were tied three more times before Megan Dombrowski’s kill gave SCCS the 29-27 win.
However, the Cardinals (4-3 in league) couldn’t build on a 7-2 lead in game three, nor could they dig their way out of a 6-1 hole to open the clincher.
Trinity led game four by as many as 12 behind Eblin’s three kills and an ace.
She finished the knight with 14 kills and four aces.
Trinity’s Taylor Oshiro followed with 12 kills, while teammate Hannah Caddow had 10.
“Leaps and bounds,” said first-year Trinity coach Rebecca Peluffo of her team’s growth this year. “We set this goal at the beginning of the season to have a chance at a league championship.”
Now they have it.
Trinity (6-1 in league) wraps up its regular season Friday against Guidance Charter of Palmdale. If the Knights lost, they could drop into a tie with Faith Baptist of Canoga Park.
But Trinity holds the tiebreaker in games won. They beat Faith 3-0, while Faith beat them only 3-2.
SCCS lost to Faith on Tuesday, and despite spectacular defense Thursday, it fell again.
Dombrowski collided with a spectator’s chair to save a ball early in game three. It thwarted a Trinity kill attempt.
But the Knights just kept coming.
“Our defense was great,” said SCCS coach Darcy Brown. “We were digging them a ton.”
Kalona Marr led SCCS with 19 digs and nine kills.
Vanessa Cardenas had 18 assists, 10 digs and five aces.
Brooks had three aces for Trinity, which won two Omega League volleyball titles in 2010 and 2011.
Now Trinity has a Heritage League banner — and two wins in a still-growing rivalry.