Cardinals girls’ volleyball (23-2) won its CIF Division 6 quarterfinal matchup against the hosting Rowland Raiders (21-9) on Wednesday.
Santa Clarita Christian won with scores of 25-21, 25-23 and 26-24.
Setter-oppo Kaysa Brown had a massive game, posting 17 assists, 10 kills, 11 digs, seven blocks and five aces.
Hannah Shaffer also had a great night, leading the team with 14 kills and 17 digs. Evie Frields finished her match with 10 assists, nine digs and an ace.
The scores show how close each set was and SCCS knew it’d be a battle coming in.
“We came in knowing they’d be solid,” said Cardinals head coach Darcy Brown. “Every game at this point is going to be a battle, We’ve known that since taking the court (against) Oak Park.”
The Raiders have been led all season by middle Brianna De Jong and outside hitter Julianna Lopez. De Jong is a tall middle with strong offensive and defensive skills while Lopez has a big swing at the outside spot.
The two were smart on the net, finding open holes on the floor and tipping when they saw openings.
Coach Brown would make the adjustments in coverage, which in turn kept SCCS in the game.
The amped Cardinals rolled through the tight first two sets but knew it’d only get tighter with Rowland in an 0-2 hole.
“Our mindset going in was ready,” said coach Brown. “The girls were excited and pumped. When you take the court with that mindset, good things can happen.”
The third set was close like they expected, with De Jong and Lopez swinging for their playoff lives. The Raiders nearly found a way to force a fourth set with a 23-21 lead but SCCS battled.
Coach Brown called a timeout to tell her team “play to win, play aggressive but still play smart.”
An SCCS kill would tie the game at 24-24, sending junior London Steele to the service line with a chance to close the game out.
Steele came through for the Cardinals with strong serves and forced a serve receive error to win the game, 26-24.
The win over Rowland marked 13 straight playoff wins for the Cards dating back two seasons.
“Last year gave them confidence; through playing big schools and beating them,” said coach Brown. “It can be intimidating but with the experience of last year it helps them come out ready and confident.”
The Cards will have another tall task in the CIF semifinals, where the team will face the Simi Valley Pioneers (20-8).
Game details are to be determined but the match will be Saturday.