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

The Hart girls volleyball celebrates after a block against Citrus Valley in the second round of the CIF-Southern Section Division 3 tournament. Haley Sawyer/The Signal

Shelby Grubbs has been a part of Hart girls volleyball history in multiple ways. She’s a member of the first team to be named undefeated Foothill League champions in program history. She broke the program record for single-season blocks last season.

This season, she broke the record again, going up for 10 blocks in a CIF-Southern Section Division 3 second-round matchup against Citrus Valley. Grubbs now has 140 blocks for the single-season record.

“You have a quantitative number,” Grubbs said “You can see how far you’ve come, especially since we had less games than we did last year. To be like, I’ve upped my average this much each game just to see how much better I’ve gotten as a blocker has been really special to see.”

Hart’s Ruby Duncan goes up for a block in a game against Citrus Valley in the third round of the CIF-Southern Section Division 3 tournament on Saturday, Oct. 20 at Hart. Haley Sawyer/The Signal

Grubbs’ blocking was essential in Hart’s 3-1 win over the Blackhawks, which sends the Indians to the quarterfinals for the first time since 2014.

Hart started the first game with confidence, doubling Citrus Valley’s score at 12-6 with a kill from Kylie Tengberg. However, a resilient Blackhawks team crept up to catch the Indians at 22-21 due to two unforced Hart errors and were able to take Game 1, 25-23.

“I think we learned to like, to not be as comfortable as we think that we are because we had the lead the majority of the time but once they started taking points away from us then we started getting a bit frazzled,” said Megan Soto.

Recovering from the Game 1 loss, Hart jumped out to a 4-0 lead to start the second game. Grubbs executed a solo block, then a double block with the help of Kylie Mattson to make it 12-9.

Megan Soto set up the game point with a deep shot to the back row, then the Indians won it 25-13 on a Blackhawk error.

Ruby Duncan logged a kill, a double block with Zoe DiNardo and another kill to give Hart an 8-4 lead to begin the third game. Soto went for a block and a kill to bring the score to 20-12 and Noelle Blumel secured the game win with an ace.

Citrus Valley battled in Game 4, matching Hart’s point total until the Indians pulled away to 10-7 with a kill from Grubbs and a kill from Soto.

The Blackhawks caught up at the end of the game to cut the deficit to 24-23, prompting a Hart timeout.

“We’re just saying we’ve come this far, like, finish it out,” Duncan said. “Go out swinging, they’re not going to give it to us. We have to fight for it.”

DiNardo then proceeded to unleash a dominant kill on the next play to win the game 25-23.

Hart will play the winner of the game between Glendora and South on Wednesday.

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