Santa Clarita Christian girls’ volleyball (24-3) were swept out the playoffs in the CIF Division 6 semifinals by Simi Valley (21-9) on Saturday at The Master’s University.
The Pioneers won the match with scores of 25-20, 25-22 and 25-18.
Simi was led by outside hitter Alesia Thomas, who rallied up 12 kills and three aces.
The Cardinals were without libero Chaney Brooks for the first time this season. Brooks likely tore her ACL earlier this year but continued playing until tearing her meniscus earlier in the postseason.
Libero Clara Ayer got the start in place of Brooks. Ayer would play well and rack up 13 digs, but the fast Simi Valley offense still feasted on kills throughout the game.
“[Ayer] did good and that’s a tough spot to be put in so late in the season,” said SCCS coach Darcy Brown. “They had good serves so, to step up and fill that role is as a lot to ask for.”
SCCS would keep it close through the first two sets but the Pioneers would go on enough runs to take the first set by five.
Cardinals senior Kaysa Brown didn’t get a ton of swings but started off the second set with a kill.
Brown finished with 9 kills, 10 assists and 12 digs.
The Pioneers would go up 11-5 in the second set thanks to strong serving from senior Abigail Montana. Montana finished with a game-high four aces.
Outside hitter Hannah Shaffer and Brown collectively had their best sets in the second. The two combined for eight kills that kept the second set tight.
Shaffer led the Cards with 17 digs and nine kills.
SCCS nearly forced extra points but a kill from junior Olivia Campisi ended the set and put the Cards in their first 0-2 hole this season.
The Cardinals entered the third on a mission and fought for every point. Their efforts were paying off early as the team built an 8-3 lead over the Pioneers.
“We really tried to come out swinging, especially with our big guns trying to try to put the ball away,” said coach Brown. “They dug a lot of our hits, they blocked some but we still found ways to find the holes and still found ways to score that way with our hitters. So, I was really proud of them for playing aggressive.”
However, Simi was not interested in playing a fourth set and stormed back into the game on an 18-6 run. SCCS was still fighting as there were long rallies for points throughout the match.
Consecutive kills by Simi Valley senior Alex Morehead brought the Pioneers to match point but the Cards hung on. They’d have a chance to steal the set but a service error ended the chance of SCCS heading back to the CIF title game.
“Simi Valley, they’re a good team,” said coach Brown. “I was really proud of our girls for the scores being what they were.”
The Cardinals won’t be hanging their heads low. While they won’t be able to win back-to-back CIF titles, SCCS still has a chance to repeat as state champs.
SCCS finds out its destination when the state tournament brackets are released on Nov. 5.