Knights’ girls volleyball (11-3, 8-0) defeated the hosting Santa Clarita Christian Cardinals (15-2, 7-1) in a loud Heritage League matchup on Tuesday.
Trinity avenged its consecutive sweeps from last season and won with scores of 14-25, 25-14, 25-21, 7-25 and 17-15.
Both teams came in hot with SCCS on a 14-game win streak with only six sets lost while Trinity has now won seven straight matches.
Cardinals setter-oppo Kaysa Brown had herself a game, registering 25 kills, 12 assists and eight digs.
The game started slow with not much offense powering the teams. SCCS would then go on a big 11-1 run to go up 18-8 in the first set. Big swings from Brown and outside hitter Hannah Shaffer powered the drive.
Shaffer finished with 15 kills.
SCCS couldn’t find the same recipe in the second set and countless self-inflicted wounds would cost the Cards the set.
Knights’ middle blocker Jordan Hahn also finally got going in the second, slamming down her first few kills after an empty first set.
The Cardinals would get a little offense rolling when they were down big but it was too little too late and an Emma Carver ace would end the set and tie the game 1-1.
Carver led the Knights with nine kills and also tallied up 10 digs.
The third set was tight again, highlighted by a near 20-possession rally capped off by a Hahn kill. The teams played tough and it was clear they all wanted the win, but again little mistakes would cost the Cardinals a pivotal set.
“I felt we let down in game two and game three and that gave them momentum,” said Cards head coach Darcy Brown. “We stopped swinging like I know we can swing.”
SCCS played its best when it needed to most. Down 2-1, the team jumped out of the gate knowing they needed to secure the fourth set to take the match to five. The Cardinals came out hot on a 5-0 run thanks to three aces from Brown.
The Cards blocked, served and hit better while the Knights’ serve receive and passing struggled. SCCS ran away with the set, winning 25-7.
It was a demoralizing set loss for Trinity but head coach Rebecca Peluffo kept her team in the game.
“I said, ‘We need to play with our heart, just focus on us and not let any outside factors impact the way we’re going to play.’” said Peluffo.
The Knights tried to keep Hahn rolling early in the fifth set, but some mishaps and another ace from Brown saw the Cardinals go up 4-0. SCCS looked like it would run away again with the set and was quickly up 9-3.
Freshman middle blocker Grace Kelley surged when her team needed it most. The freshman blocked well in the fifth set and was a big part of Trinity jumping back in the game.
“I was pretty nervous,” said Kelley. “This is my first year playing varsity volleyball so I’m terrified, but I knew my team could pull through. I knew our competitors would push us to pull through.”
Consecutive kills from Carver would give the Knights the lead at 14-13, but the outside would hit the ball out of bounds a couple plays later to swing match point in favor of the Cards.
Down 14-15, Trinity would fight for every last point. An SCCS service error tied the game at 15 before Kelley sent a free ball to an open space on the Cardinals’ floor to retake match point. SCCS would try to rally up the offense but a Kelley block ended the game and stunned the Cardinals.
Kelley finished her night with seven kills, some clutch blocking and great touches on the net.
“I’m honored, honestly,” said Kelley. “SCCS is amazing. I’m so grateful for the coaching. For them to be pushed to their best and us to be pushed to our best, that’s such a blessing.”
It was a total team win for Trinity, which entered a hectic road environment, took two lopsided set losses but still emerged victorious over the No. 4 ranked team in Division 6.
“Today’s a good lesson as you head into the end of the season and into playoffs, we can’t ever settle in,” said coach Brown. “It’s going to be an uphill battle from here. When you play those tougher teams, you have to learn to come back and fight.”
Trinity will return home for a league matchup with St. Monica Academy on Thursday. SCCS will also be home on Thursday for a league matchup with the Palmdale Aerospace Academy.
The two will meet again on Friday, Oct. 7, at the Newhall Church of the Nazarene at 5 p.m.