It’s been quite a week for the Ontario Christian High girls’ volleyball team.
The Knights won their second straight CIF-Southern Section title last Saturday, beating Paloma Valley in a rematch from last year in five sets at Cerritos College in Norwalk for the Division 3 crown.
Then, there was the nearly 300-mile roundtrip bus ride Tuesday to Bakersfield Christian High where the Knights pulled out a come-from-behind five-set win in the first round of the CIF State Division 2 playoffs.
That was followed by Thursday’s 170-mile round trip to San Marcos High in San Diego County, where the Knights won in straight sets to advance to tonight’s (Nov. 16) Division 2 quarterfinals.
Ontario Christian will travel to back to San Diego County to Eastlake High, 1120 Eastlake Parkway in Chula Vista, for a 6 p.m. start.
The winner of tonight’s game will advance to Tuesday’s CIF State semifinals with a chance to compete in the state title game Saturday, Nov. 23 at Santiago Canyon College in Orange.
CIF-SS Div. 3 title game
Ontario Christian defeats Paloma Valley 25-18, 18-25, 25-21, 25-18, 15-13
Ontario Christian captured the CIF-Southern Section Division 3 championship, fighting off Paloma Valley in five sets at Cerritos College.
The game was a rematch of last year’s CIF-Southern Section Division 5 title game, won by Ontario Christian in four sets.
Peyton Tazelaar had a team-high 24 kills and 16 digs, Jenna Holmes added 21 kills and 16 digs and Selena Balderas led the team with 20 digs for Ontario Christian.
Giselle Vogel added nine kills, 26 assists and six digs and Kiley Goedhart had 16 digs and 30 assists for the Knights.
“I was more stressed this year,” said Ontario Christian High head coach Paige Liebhart in comparing this year team with last year’s Division 3 state championship team. “You feel like you have to back up what we did last year, and that puts more pressure on you. These girls are great defensively, and I think we are better defensively this year than last. We are steady girls and that is what gets us through these tight matches.”
Tazelaar said she’s proud of her team because they never gave up by dropping two sets to Paloma Valley in the title match, which is one more than the Knights lost in total in their four previous playoff games.
“We kept fighting when we were down a couple of points. We are all positive and encouraging to our teammates and this was a really good win for us. Many of us our seniors and we’re going out with two CIF championships” she said.
Holmes, who served two aces in the victory, said playing in the tough Ambassador League helped them stay strong throughout the season.
Ambassador League member Linfield Christian won the CIF-Southern Section Division 6 title and Desert Christian Academy won the Division 7 championship last Saturday.
“We mentally prepared ourselves when playing those tough teams, and it helped us in this game,” Holmes said.
For Balderas, the Ontario Christian High career digs leader set while she was a sophomore two years ago, said the team referres to itself at the “small school that could.”
“No one knows about us. We just fight and we’ve made a name for ourselves,” she said. “We really want to make this season our own season and not look back on last season. I think we are determined to win state.”
CIF State Division 2
Ontario Christian defeats Bakersfield Christian 20-25, 21-25, 25-21, 25-15, 15-7
The Knights, the No. 11-seed in Division 2 rallied from a 2-0 deficit with three straight victories Tuesday in its five-set win over No. 6- Bakersfield Christian.
Tazelaar had 20 kills and 19 digs, Homes had 16 kills and eight digs, Vogel recorded 12 kills, 19 assists and four blocks and Balderas finished with 29 digs for Ontario Christian.
Ontario Christian defeats San Marcos 25-17, 25-20, 25-15
Holmes finished with 16 kills and Tazelaar had 14 kills in the Knights’ win over No. 3-ranked San Marcos Thursday.
Vogel finished with eight kills, 22 assists and an ace and Balderas finished with 22 digs for Ontario Christian.