Three local teams were eliminated in the first round of CIF girls’ volleyball playoffs on Thursday.
Hart, West Ranch and Valencia moved on to the second round and will play again Saturday. Only the Indians will be on the road while the Vikings and Wildcats return home for round two.
Saugus, Santa Clarita Christian and Trinity had incredible seasons and will retool with tons of returners rostered.
Here’s everything you need to know about round one and two:
Hart sweeps Yucaipa, heads to St. Margarets
The Indians made quick work of the visiting Yucaipa Thunderbirds on Thursday.
Hart swept Yucaipa, 25-10, 25-16, 25-13, behind 17 kills and six aces from senior Madison Maxwell.
Maxwell and libero Alexis Holloway finished the night with 13 digs, while outside hitter Maiah Jiz added five aces.
Hart (21-6) now moves on to face the St. Margaret’s Tartans of San Juan Capistrano (18-9).
The Tartans were pushed to the brink of elimination in a five-set thriller with Norco but pulled away with a victory. St. Margaret’s was led by outside hitter Carly Grumet with 19 kills.
St. Margaret’s returns home for its fourth straight home match on Saturday when the team hosts Hart at 6 p.m.
Valencia wins road matchup at Camarillo
The Vikings stumbled in their final stretch of the season, dropping four of their final five matches. However, Valencia took positives from its final weekend of play at the Chatsworth Tournament and won its road playoff matchup with the Camarillo Scorpions.
The Vikings won the match, 21-25, 25-22, 25-13, 25-13.
Valencia (9-16) played in some tight opening sets but blew by Camarillo (9-16) in the final two sets.
The Vikings were led by senior outside hitter Luca Heerlein with a double-double of 19 kills and 15 digs. Sophomore setter Cayden Hobrecker also led the team with 16 assists and six aces.
Valencia outside hitter Elena Hernadez also added nine kills on the net but made a huge impact in the back row with 26 digs. The Vikings lost starting libero Addison Degard to a season-ending injury just a few weeks ago but her teammates have stepped up in her absence.
The Vikings now return home to host the Temple City Rams (14-4).
The Rams are led by senior Taylor Yu, who finished the regular season with a staggering 501 kills with a 55.5 kill percentage.
Valencia will look to slow down in Yu in hopes of reaching the CIF quarterfinals for the first time in six years.
The Vikings take on the Rams on Saturday at 6 p.m. at Valencia High School.
West Ranch blows by Burroughs, returns home to host Warren
The Wildcats displayed a top-seeded level of play on Thursday, sweeping the visiting Burroughs Bears.
West Ranch was led offensively by opposite hitter Kennedy Osunsanmi with 17 kills and defensively by libero Alexandra Seres with 16 digs.
The Cats will remain home on Saturday and welcome the Warren Bears to Stevenson Ranch.
The Bears are winners of eight-straight matches, a stretch in which the team has dropped just one set.
The Wildcats are one win away from the program’s first trip to the CIF quarterfinals but will have to get through the Bears first.
West Ranch hosts Warren on Saturday at 6 p.m.
Saugus season ends on the road at Canyon of Anaheim
The season ended much earlier than expected for the CIF reigning champion Saugus Centurions.
The Canyon Comanches (of Orange County) took down the Centurions in four sets, 18-25, 27-25, 25-22, 25-18.
Canyon’s first loss of the year came in tournament play at the hand of Saugus, who won comfortably 2-0. However, The Comanches returned the favor as the last loss of the Centurions’ season was from Canyon.
The Centurions were led by junior outside hitter Leila Ballard, who added 18 kills and 22 digs in the loss.
Saugus’ all-time dig leader Gabriela Cascione had another strong outing and capped off her junior season with a 39-dig night. The libero’s big night pushed her 2023 dig total to 518, which was just enough to also break the school’s single season record.
Cascione, Ballard and the vast majority of the Saugus squad will return in 2024.
The Comanches will advance to host Roosevelt on Saturday at 6 p.m.
SCCS goes down in five sets
The Cardinals suffered the program’s first opening-round playoff loss in over 12 years on Thursday, after falling in five sets to the Paraclete Spirits.
Paraclete took the road match, 22-25, 29-31, 25-21, 25-21, 15-13.
SCCS will now graduate numerous key seniors like London Steele, Sabrina Banke and Evie Frields.
Paraclete will remain on the road in the Division 6 playoffs and advances to play Cate.
Cards head coach Darcy Brown has won three straight Heritage League titles to add to her trophy case, including one from the 37-0 SCCS team in 2021.
The SCCS volleyball program is flooded with players as Brown will have two freshman teams, on top of a talented junior varsity team, to sort through to fill out her 2024 varsity squad.
Trinity season ends in five-set thriller
The Knights also came up on the wrong end of a five-set battle.
Trinity suffered its third loss in its last six matches and ended their season at the paws of the Highland Bulldogs.
The Bulldogs (25-14) now advance in the Division 6 bracket and will head to Glendale.
Knights middle blocker Jordan Hahn went out with a bang, and finished with 13 kills, two blocks and three aces.
Outside hitter Emerald Lips added nine kills, 10 digs and a pair of blocks in the loss, while setter Scarlett Malkasyan tallied up 27 assists and eight digs. Bethany Sedy also added eight kills and four aces.
The Knights (16-9) finish yet another terrific season under head coach Rebecca Peluffo, who will surely have the team back in the Heritage League title hunt in 2024.