It was match point in Game 3 for Santa Clarita Christian volleyball on Tuesday, and the players, coaches and fans inside the Cardinals’ gym were getting impatient.
SCCS’ total was stuck at 24 while Mammoth of Mammoth Lakes rattled off three points of their own in the CIF-Southern Section Division 9 semifinal matchup.
When the Huskies gave away the final point on an error, chaos ensued as the Cardinals swept Mammoth and the goal of making it to the CIF-SS finals was realized.
“It was exhilarating,” said sophomore Cora Machado. “It was like, all this sudden intensity had been just released.”
SCCS (18-6, 6-4 in Heritage League) earned an early lead in all three games, but coasted to their easiest win in Game 1. The Cardinals took that game 25-13.
Mammoth (27-6-2, 10-0 in Desert Mountain League) struggled with serve receive in the second game, allowing two consecutive aces from Aaronya Crosswhite to give the Cards some breathing room.
“We just needed to be smart with where we put (the serve) and if we missed a ball, our thought process that coach taught us was okay, we messed up, figure out what we messed up on and get the next ball in,” said setter Megan Dombrowski.
The Huskies came within one point of tying the game late, but SCCS toughed it out to win 25-21.
Serving continued to be strong for the Cards, but Mammoth wasn’t going to roll over as easily in Game 3. The Huskies scored eight unanswered points to bring the score to 18-16.
However, an error by Mammoth and a tip from Crosswhite got SCCS back on track.
“We noticed that they were coming on more aggressive, so we needed to just adjust and be ready to come back and play our game,” said coach Darcy Brown. “…And come back and be aggressive on the attacks and our swings and play solid defense.”
SCCS won the final frame 25-22 to set up the team’s first CIF-SS finals appearance since 2015 when they lost to Upland Christian Academy.
“We went my freshman year but we lost, so knowing that we’re going to be back there is amazing,” said Dombrowski.