East County Sports

State Volley: El Cap shocks No. 2 Oaks



ECS staff report

WESTLAKE VILLAGE — Among the trio of Grossmont Hills League girls volleyball teams to advance to the CIF State Championships, El Capitan was the ballclub that needed to travel the greatest distance for Tuesday’s (Nov. 8) first round of the South Regional.

Fortunately, the 165-mile, one-way trek home will seem much shorter than the 4-hour trip north through rush-hour traffic and rain.

“It was a long ride, butit was worth it,” said Vaqueros standout Madison Triplett. “But now we have aqnother long trip to Saugus on Thursday.”

Another trip? Yes, El Capitan pulled off the biggest shocker of the first round, shocking second-seeded Oaks Christian in five sets. The teams alternated wins each set, giving the ady Vaqueros a 25-23, 11-25, 25-20, 20-25, 15-12 triumph.

The Vaqueros, seeded 15th (i.e., next-to-last) will meet a Saugus Centurios side which owns a 34-2 record. including a sweep of Eastvale-Roosevelt, 25-13, 25-18, 25-18.

For El Capitan, all three aspects of the game contributed to the mjkor upset.

“We started passing really well — it wa sjust really good defense,” said head coach Brennan Wong-Pau.”

Junior setter Ruby Ennis noted the play of Lundin Palmer, Madelyn Wutzke and Triplett to pass the ball to her to lead the transition game.

“Then after a really bad second game, our blocking came through in the third set,” added the coach. “It was stellar blocking.”

The host Lions survived a wild fourth set to force a ffith-set tie-breaker, but that’s when the Vaq Attack took over.

“It was 8-8 before we separated from them,” the coach noted.

The late surge of offense came cortesy of Ennis.

“They took a huge lead and took our energu away in the second set, but we were able to quickly get it back in the third set,” noted Ennis. “It was closer, but we still won.”

Blocking also allowed El Cap to re-gain the lead.

“Alyssa DeYoung, our only senior, got some blocks in the middle, while Paige Worthen has some on the right side,” added Triplett. “They really slowed down their offense.”

The fourth set nearly tipped the match to Oaks Christian, but Enns believes her team’s mental approach again reversed their fortunes.

“We got too comfortable in the fourth,” she noted. “But we didn’t want the season to end here, so we pushed in Game 5.”

Added Triplett, “They were a tough team, but we took the fifth pretty fast — we got back into our groove.”

El Cap’s match with Saugus is nearly the exact distance as to Oaks Christian, with a slihjy fryout north to near Magic Mountain instead of west when they reach the San Gernando Valley.

“It’ll be another long trip,” said Triplett. “But we’ll be ready for it.”

State Division III

Helix and Granite Hills were placed in the same quadrant of the South Division III bracket, hoping for a re=match with minimal travelfor oneof the schools.

However, only Helix could pull the road upsey.

The Highlanders went to Taft High of Woodland Hills and shocked the Toreadors in five sets,16-25, 28-26, 17-25, 25-18,15-5.

The key second set prevented a sweep by the hosts. Instead, the Highlanders won for the 12th time in their last 13 matches — the lone setback was in GHL play to El Capitan.

Meanwhile, Granite Hills was dropped by the Marina Vikings of Huntington Beach, 25-20, 21-25, 25-18, 25-16.

The teams split sets, but the Eagles couldn’t reach 20 points afterward.

Note: CIF state and San Diego Section divisions don’t always align.

  • Compiled by Nick Pellegrino


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