After winning its second straight CIF State title in 2019 with an overall record of 38-3, the Ontario Christian High girls volleyball team is one of four finalists for the USA Today High School Sports Southern California Top Team award.
Online voting ends at 6 a.m. Monday, April 20 at usatodaynetwork.second streetapp.com
Other teams nominated for the honor are the James A. Garfield High cross-country team in Los Angeles; the St. John Bosco High football team in Bellflower; and the Grace Brethren High football team in Simi Valley.
The Knights are also nominated in the Girls’ Team of the Year category along with the Newbury Park High cross-country team.
Winners will be announced during an online broadcast at 6 p.m. Thursday, June 18 at sportsawards.usatoday.com.
The show will be hosted by television anchors Jesse Palmer and Sage Steele and will feature several presenters including New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, Olympic gold medalists Michael Phelps, Gabby Douglas and Misty May-Treanor, and tennis legend Venus Williams, organizers said.
“It’s really cool, we are super excited,” said Ontario Christian High girls’ volleyball coach Paige Liebhart. “A lot of people think that because we are a private Christian school, we do a lot of recruiting, we don’t. We get who we get. We got talent at the right time. They put a ton of work to get those goals accomplished.”
Ontario Christian High finished its 2019 season at 38-3, winning the CIF-Southern Section Division 3 title and CIF State Division 2 championship.
It was the second straight season that Ontario Christian won CIF-SS and CIF State titles, capturing the Division 5 and Division 3 championships, respectively, in 2018.
In 2019, the Knights were given the 11th-seed out of 16 teams in the Division 2 state tournament and traveled nearly 1,000 miles in a span of two weeks in defeating Bakersfield Christian (3-2), San Marcos (3-0), Eastlake (3-0) and Carlsbad (3-2) on the road before beating Los Gatos in straight sets in the title game at Santiago Canyon College in Orange.
Team members are Kiley Goedhart, Isabel Badiola, Riley DeGroot, Kendra Fai, Brooklyn Goedhart, Giselle Vogel, Selena Balderas, Peyton Tazelaar, Jenna Holmes and Katherine Milo.
The Knights finished as the ninth-ranked team in California and 34th-ranked team nationally by MaxPreps.com for the 2019 season.