Playing the second playoff game in three days, the Santa Clarita Christian School traveled south to take on St. Bernard in a CIF-Southern Section Division 8 quarterfinals game on Wednesday.
Needing just four games to advance, the Vikings were just too much for the Cardinals as they fell, 18-25, 22-25, 26-24, 12-25 to conclude the season.
“They were tough offensively and have some big hitters that came out swinging and put out some tough blocks,” said SCCS head coach Darcy Brown. “We played solid defense, but they just kept edging us out. In pivotal moments, we made a few too many errors that gave them the points. We started to come back in the fourth game, but it was a little bit too late.”
Facing adversity, the Cardinals showed some fight after dropping the first game, but the length and athleticism of the St. Bernard lineup caused problems on both sides of the ball for SCCS.
On defense, the hosts were finding their spots at will, while their defense continually made it difficult to score for the Cardinals.
Things looked bleak heading into the third game down 2-0. Making some changes to the lineup, Hannah Shaffer, Nevaeh Phillips and Sydney Steele, who contributed in the third and fourth games.
Coming out with energy and facing elimination, the Cardinals started to find their marks and began to communicate more than they were to begin the match feeding off of defensive stop after defensive stop to escape with a narrow third game win.
“We came out excited, swinging much better than we did and played much more solid defense,” Brown said. “That was key in us taking that third game.”
The tides turned in the fourth game and doomed the Cardinals as they fell behind early and were never able to recover and fall in four games.
Courtney Lotz led the Cardinals in kills with five, Hannah Shaffer followed with four kills and Gianna Pelletier, Alicia Castillo and Olivia Prezioso each had three kills.
Austen Hermanson finished with 10 assists and Kaysa Brown had seven. Vanessa Gracia and Gianna Kuruppu were stout defensively with 26 and 14 digs, respectively.
“I’m really proud of them all,” Brown said. “I felt like we did have a solid season, we had a good run, we continued to work hard, I felt that there were several obstacles throughout the year that we continued to work through and rally around. We were just up against some bigger opponents tonight and we couldn’t edge over them as far as the points go.”