Los Alamitos’ Abby Karich hugs Chloe Allen #15 as their teammates celebrate defeating Aliso Niguel in the quarterfinals of the CIF-SS Division 2 girls volleyball playoffs at Aliso Niguel High in Aliso Viejo on Wednesday, October 24, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)
PUBLISHED: October 24, 2018 at 10:55 pm | UPDATED: October 24, 2018 at 11:00 pm
ALISO VIEJO – Before the first set was even completed in the the CIF SS Division 2 girls volleyball quarterfinal between Los Alamitos and Aliso Niguel on Wednesday at Aliso Niguel High School, it seemed likely the match would take five sets to decide.
The Wolverines and Griffins were that evenly matched.
The Wolverines were the top seed, but the Griffins, seeded sixth, came into the match a bit more battle tested and that might have been the difference in their five-set victory 20-25, 30-28, 25-22, 17-25, 15-13.
Los Alamitos (22-13) will host No. 5 Notre Dame of Sherman Oaks in a semifinal Saturday.
With their five-set victory over Beckman on Saturday, the Griffins have won back-to-back five set victories on the road, coming from behind both times.
“Every point was highly contested,” Los Alamitos coach David Huber said. “Credit (the Wolverines) just for how many long rallies …. how many plays they extended to make us earn those kind of momentum swing points.”
he front row tandem of Abby Karich and Starr Williams were again the leading scorers for the Griffins. Karich had 23 kills and displayed some defense with 13 digs, and Williams had 21 kills.
Setter Allie Livingston finished with 44 assists and Libero Jacinda Ramirez had 26 digs.
Katelyn Smith and Jessica Smith combined for more than 40 points for the Wolverines.
Aliso Niguel (16-7) won a closely contested first set in which there were four lead changes before the Wolverines closed it out with a 6-2 run.
The second set, won by the Griffins after five match points, was arguably the key set of the match.
The Griffins were serving with leads of 24-23, 26-25 and 27-26 but couldn’t score the final point. Then the Wolverines served with a 28-27 lead but failed to close it out.
Williams tied the set with a kill, Karich followed with a kill to the back row and then Williams got the final kill to even the match.
The third set played out much like the first, until the Griffins pulled away with 5-1 run at the end.
Aliso Niguel easily won the fourth, setting up the final set, which was also close.
The Griffins seemed to be pulling away when the Wolverines came back to tie the score at 12-12.
A serve by the Wolverines went long, giving the Griffins a 13-12 lead.
Aliso Niguel hit another ball out of bounds, giving Los Alamitos another point.
Kendra Duffy’s block got the Wolverines a point closer before the Griffins scored again to end it.
“They played amazing,” Wolverines coach Richelle Whiting said of the Griffins. “They played better than I saw them play against Beckman.”