Hart volleyball falls to Cypress in CIF-SS quarterfinals

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Hart volleyball lost 3-1 to Cypress in the CIF-Southern Section Division 3 quarterfinals on the road on Wednesday.

The Indians, who have never made it past the quarterfinals in playoffs, fell by game scores of 25-20, 22-25, 14-25, 19-25.

“Tonight wasn’t our best showing and their team was well rounded, a lot of good hitters and consistent and aggressive and we kind of shut down a little too quickly,” said Hart coach Mary Irilian.

Hart opened the match with a win in the first game, taking advantage of a Centurions team that came out fairly flat and performing well in serve-receive passing.

“I think we were just surprising them with our type of offense and we were able to have good ball control,” Irilian said.

In Game 2, the Indians started slipping. They began the game in a 6-2 hole and faced multiple deficits throughout. Cypress later took a 16-10 lead as Hart picked up some momentum, but the home team prevailed 22-25.

“They were blocking us constantly,” said Irilian. “Their blocking was solid and we just started to lose some steam and self-confidence.”

Centurion opposite Gwendolyn Russell led the way in the third and fourth games. As Hart began the third game trailing 1-4, Russell spearheaded an offense that powered Cypress to wins in the final two games.

“She was putting the balls away, hitting line, hitting angle, hitting through our blocks and you can’t stop her at all,” said Irilian.

MORE: Shelby Grubbs sets new record as Hart beats Citrus Valley in second round of playoffs

Shelby Grubbs led the team with 10 blocks and chipped in nine kills. Ruby Duncan also added nine kills and Noelle Blumel had 29 digs.

The Indians are coming off a historic season that included the program’s first-ever undefeated, league-title season.

“We’re very proud of them and they leave behind something much more valuable than a win and that’s what they demonstrated as a team,” said Irilian.

“Liking each other and (bonding) with each other, the lower levels are going to see that. That’s what’s going to keep our program strong and continue to flourish.”

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