Throughout a turbulent season, Valencia High girls volleyball always made it work.
The Vikings overcame injury. They figured out team chemistry. They figured out West Ranch, beating the Wildcats the second time around for a share of the Foothill League title.
Valencia could not, however, solve an athletic, aggressive Edison High of Huntington Beach team Thursday night in a CIF-Southern Section Division 1 second-round playoff match.
The Chargers downed the Vikings, 3-0, at Valencia High in games that weren’t particularly close (25-15, 25-17, 25-15).
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The perpetual overcomers couldn’t, at least on this night, overcome.
“That’s a good team that just beat us,” said Valencia coach Ray Sanchez. “It’s not like we gave it away. They earned it.”
In the first round Tuesday night, Valencia (18-12) dropped the first game against Harvard-Westlake before rebounding to win three straight and advance.
There was no bouncing back Thursday.
The Chargers (31-7), led by Cassidy Dennison’s 14 kills, carried momentum from a 10-point win in game one into comfortable wins in games two and three.
Edison used a 14-6 run to turn an 11-11 tie into an eight-point win in the second game, and built a 10-2 lead to open the clincher.
Still, Valencia fought, rattling off four straight points after the Chargers reached match point.
“We knew their tendencies. We really just didn’t execute that well,” said Valencia senior Kelsey Knudsen, who finished with a team-high 14 digs on the night.
Knudsen said the Vikings believed they were capable of a deep postseason run like the program’s first-ever CIF final appearance last season.
“I still believe we could do it if we had another chance,” she said.
Senior Bri Coleman led Valencia with 10 kills, while Lauryn Shockley followed with four.
Viking Kaelyn White had eight assists.
Hannah Phair, a senior heading to UCLA to play beach volleyball, had 10 kills and 19 digs for Edison, which tied for the Sunset League title.
“That created some momentum coming into the playoffs,” said Chargers coach Matt Skolnik. “We’re still at the point where we’re improving.”
A scary thought for the rest of Division 1.