PUBLISHED: November 3, 2018 at 6:52 pm | UPDATED: November 3, 2018 at 11:31 pm
NORWALK — For the first time in five years, the Los Alamitos girls volleyball team is the CIF-Southern Section champion.
The Griffins beat Trabuco Hills in four sets Saturday at Cerritos College to claim the Division 2 title. Los Alamitos won by scores of 25-19, 21-25, 25-15, 25-16.
“It’s honestly beyond words right,” said junior outside hitter Abby Karich, who led the Griffins with 18 kills. “I still can’t believe we actually did it.”
It was far from an easy match for Los Alamitos, which fell behind 8-3 in the first set before using a 5-0 run to regain control. The second set was the inverse of that, with Trabuco Hills coming back from a deficit to retake the lead and even the match at a set apiece.
But in the third set, Los Alamitos regained its swagger, starting off on an 8-0 run and extending the lead to as many as 14. The Griffins defense was airtight and their spikes whistled through the air, leaving the Mustangs scrambling to recover.
“We faced a better team in Los Al tonight who came in with all cylinders and a lot of energy,” Trabuco Hills head coach Craig Moothart said.
he up-and-down match, ending in triumph, is a good metaphor for Los Alamitos’ season. Unlike the 2011 and 2013 regional title teams, this iteration of the Griffins was far from a lock to win a title this season.
“This team, I’m not sure if we knew that three weeks ago that we’d have a chance to win a championship,” said head coach David Huber, who’s now won three section titles in his 12 years at Los Al. “Definitely a roller coaster of a season but we said all year just get to playoffs and we’ll see what happens.”
Last year, Los Alamitos lost in the opening round of the playoffs. It was a loss that stung the proud program, and one that Karich and her teammates didn’t forget easily.
So when the title was on the line, the Griffins were ready. Sophomore Starr Williams had 14 kills and a 35.5 hitting percentage. Setter Alexandra Livingston had 36 assists, and Jacinda Ramirez added four aces and 12 digs.
“Just the fact that we pushed through so many obstacles this year, whether it was injuries or big losses, it just makes it mean that much more to us,” Karich said. “We’re all like sisters and it was a crazy experience and I wouldn’t want to win it with a different group of girls.”