Santa Clarita Christian School opened the CIF-Southern Section Division 8 playoffs in a big way on Tuesday night with a sweep of Littlerock in a wild-card game at home.
“It feels amazing because I know we worked really hard to get to this point so it’s exciting just to be here,” said the Cardinals’ Aaronya Crosswhite.
Heritage League champions SCCS held the Lobos to single digits in the first game, which included a 10-point scoring run that featured four consecutive aces from Vanessa Gracia. Emalie Soules served up an ace to end Game 1 at 25-6.
“When we serve tough, we’re able to just feed off of that, so it was very helpful,” Crosswhite said.
Littlerock (10-16 overall) struck back in the second game, scoring on the first serve and gaining an early 9-5 lead over the Cardinals. SCCS managed to tie it at 10-10 with two straight kills from Crosswhite, but the Lobos snatched the lead right back when a Cardinal serve went long.
The Cards (16-4-1) were finally able to secure a healthy advantage at 15-13 on a Crosswhite ace, which sparked a three-point scoring run. SCCS wrapped up the game with another Crosswhite kill.
“We got a little discouraged because we kept having a lot of errors, but we just kept encouraging each other and having a positive attitude and I think just smiling helps,” said Cards outside hitter Ashley Rens.
Rens had sporadic kills throughout the first two games, then shined in the third as she set up a 16-9 lead for the Cardinals with a kill, then an ace.
“I transferred schools at the beginning of the season and this program is completely different,” Rens, who came from Golden Valley, said. “It’s amazing, everyone is so loving and kind and coach has really helped me come this far and all the girls are amazing.”
Two Littlerock serving errors gave the Cardinals a 21-13 lead, then Megan Dombrowski tacked on two aces. Crosswhite followed up with a kill, then Dombrowski served up another ace to finish off the sweep with a 25-13 win.
SCCS continues its playoff run on Thursday on the road against Eastside Christian of Fullerton. Game time is scheduled for 6 p.m.
“Just being mental and our game and to not let down even when we think we’re winning,” said Crosswhite of her team’s focus for Thursday’s game.