PUBLISHED: October 20, 2018 at 10:50 pm | UPDATED: October 20, 2018 at 11:53 pm
IRVINE – Los Alamitos lost the first two sets and trailed by five points in the third set of its CIF SS Division 2 girls volleyball playoff match against Beckman on Saturday at Beckman High School.
In a second-round match in which both teams battled for every point as if they were playing for their lives, the Griffins came back to win the third set and then went on to win the next two and the match 23-25, 18-25, 25-21, 26-24, 15-13.
Los Alamitos (22-13), ranked No. 6 in the division will play at No. 1-seed Aliso Niguel in a quarterfinal on Wednesday, Oct 24. Aliso Niguel defeated El Dorado in four sets Saturday.
“We were an inch away from falling off a cliff for sure,” Griffins coach David Huber said. “Credit to both sides for it being that back and forth. Nobody folded. It was awesome volleyball.”
The Griffins and the No. 9 Patriots (24-11) each had a pair of outstanding hitters who scored the majority of their team’s points.
Junior outside hitter Abby Karich and sophomore Starr Williams, who played her freshman year at Colony High in Ontario, had 26 and 19 kills, respectively. Abby Blasi served seven of the Griffins’ 11 aces.
Karich and Williams had plenty of power on their hard kills, but also kept the Patriots off balance with soft roll shots that hit the court behind the blockers.
For Beckman, senior Jill Schneggenburger finished with 29 kills and junior Haley Schroeder had 23. Schroeder also served six aces, including three in a row early in the second set.
Beckman led 15-9 in the third set when Karich and Williams combined to score Los Alamitos’ next eight points, and the Griffins went on a 16-6 surge to win the set and force a fourth set.
“Right after that second set … half the girls started crying,” Karich said. “Half our team is seniors. We are all best friends. I think that kind of hit us, all 20 of us, right then and there, and we just came out with everything we had.”
Los Alamitos was ahead 24-22 in the fourth set before the Patriots scored the next two points, one on Schroeder’s block of a kill attempt by Williams.
The Griffins scored the next point when the Patriots hit the ball into the net and closed out the set with a block from Miranda Telles.
Los Alamitos was ahead 14-8 in the fifth set when Beckman scored the next five points and was a point away from tying the set and forcing the Griffins to win by two points. But Los Alamitos got the serve back and a roll shot from Keely Frank gave the Griffins the victory in the set and the match.
“In the playoffs, when you win the first two sets, there is almost more pressure on you,” Beckman coach Darin McBain said.