Cardinals to host Verdugo Hills in second round
The Santa Clarita Christian School Cardinals (25-3) took a big step on the road to another state title, sweeping the San Gabriel Matadors (20-13) at home on Tuesday (25-10, 25-16, 25-21) in the first round of the CIF Division 4 state playoffs.
“We ran our offense really well,” SCCS head coach Darcy Brown said. “We played solid defense and we were able to transition and run a solid offense. That helps, you know, so you can score and you can keep the ball in your court, so to speak – or not keep the ball in your court. We were able to take control and maintain control pretty much the whole match. That was our intent, and we were successful.”
Brown noted that having the match be at home was a big help, drawing in a bigger crowd than is normally seen at SCCS.
“It’s always great,” Brown said. “It’s fun, and some people who may not necessarily get a chance to come out for the regular season, when they know it’s a state game, you know, they’re excited to come and watch and kind of see what it’s all about. By all intents and purposes, it looks like a normal game, but we just know the impact of it.”
Kaysa Brown led the team with a triple-double, dishing out 14 assists while adding 15 kills and 13 digs. The senior also had four blocks and three aces.
Junior Evie Frields led the Cardinals with 16 assists, adding 10 digs, five kills and an ace. Senior Hannah Shaffer had a team-high 16 assists to go along with 10 digs and five kills, and senior Bethany Wilson had a team-high eight blocks.
The Cardinals, seeded second, will now look forward to hosting in the next round against 10th-seeded Verdugo Hills.
“We just have to take it game by game,” coach Brown said. “We just know every team is going to be a fight and we have to come out prepared for that. We’re just trying to stay healthy and focused, and know every game we have to come out ready to battle.”
The Cardinals’ road to back-to-back state titles may be a little tougher this year, as they got moved up from Division 5 to Division 4. But with the experience that the returning players from last year have, the Cardinals will be a tough out for any opponent.
“I think the girls, the ones that played last year, know what that’s like, because every game just kept getting tougher and tougher,” coach Brown said. “And that’s just the nature of playing where we’re at right now. So the experience in that is beneficial. I hope they keep that in their heads and continue on, knowing every game is crucial and every game is going to be tough.”
SCCS and Verdugo Hills will begin at 6 p.m. on Thursday at SCCS for a spot in the Regional Semifinals.