Coronado Girls Volleyball Team Concludes Season With Playoff Loss To Montgomery - Coronado Eagle & Journal | Coronado News | Coronado Island News: Coronado Sports

Coronado Girls Volleyball Team Concludes Season With Playoff Loss To Montgomery

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Posted: Thursday, November 7, 2019 5:32 pm

One of the challenging things about prep sports is teams play and practice for three long months to reach the CIF Playoffs and then the season can end quickly. That in a nutshell is what happened to the No. 5 seeded Islander Girls Volleyball Team (17-18 overall record) as their Division III Playoff run began and concluded last week. Their first match was against No. 12 seed Mar Vista. As the higher seeded team, the Islanders played at home and won in straight sets 25-13, 25-13 and 25-21.

The evening started on a high note, literally, as senior volleyball player Camille Paje performed a great rendition of the National Anthem. Over many years, I have heard the “Star Spangled Banner” performed hundreds of times in person, and Camille is in my All-Time Top 10.

Interestingly, the first set opened with the Mariners jumping out to a 5-1 lead, but they didn’t hold the lead long as after a sideout, senior Co-Captain Elizabeth Hunsaker went on a serving run, assisted by two kill shots for points by Caitlyn Kane. Later in the game, Hunsaker had a kill for a sideout, followed by another kill shot on a serve from Marlie Meoni. The Islanders went on several mini-runs, but the best came last as Sarah Acuff served for five consecutive points to put the game away.

Game Two was close early and then the Islanders slowly pulled away, as Acuff, then Kane, followed by Zoe Johnstead all had nice serving runs. At the end of Johnstead’s four-point run, the Islanders had the lead 17-7. Later sophomore Co-Captain Jenna Tocorzic served two aces, Meoni went on another serving run, and the Islanders won the game on a sideout.

Mar Vista made Game Three interesting. Hunsacker mixed in a couple of serves, with first Tocorzic and later Meoni serving well. Mar Vista held a 19-18 lead late, but Hunsacker served well and after an exchange of sideouts, Kane finished the match with an ace for the straight set victory.

Saturday at 5 p.m., the Islanders returned to their home gym and hosted No. 13 seed Montgomery in the Division III Quarter-Finals. The Aztecs may be the best 13 seed in CIF San Diego Section history. They had enough offense to score efficiently, but their defense was outstanding. Very few balls hit the ground on their side of the floor and the Aztecs prevailed 26-24, 25-16 and 25-20.

The first set was a dandy, with Montgomery taking fairly large leads and Coronado continually catching up. In the early going the Islanders couldn’t put together a sustained offensive effort and fell behind 14-8. However, a sideout followed by five-point serving run from Meoni tied the game at 14-14. During that run, Hunsacker, had two kills, and Tocorzic had one, as did Kane. The Islanders and the crowd were back in the game. Coronado ground their way to a 23-22, lead and later had a game point at 24-23, but couldn’t convert. Montgomery ran off three straight points to win a very well-played set by both teams.

In Game Two, Coronado seemed staggered by the tight loss and had trouble regaining their momentum. Montgomery ran out to an 11-4 lead. But a mini-serving run by Kane, got the Islanders back in the game, but Montgomery won eight of nine points to make the score 21-11. The Aztecs held on despite a nice serving effort from Josephine Bustos late in the game. But Montgomery had enough to finish out the set 25-16.

With the Aztecs in front 5-3 in the third set, the Islanders earned a sideout on a Montgomery service error and Johnstead went on another serving run. With a Hunsacker kill shot winning the first point, the sophomore Co-Captain Johnstead served three consecutive aces to make the score 9-5. The crowd got back into the game and the match momentum shifted to the Islanders, albeit briefly. Montgomery went on a run of their own to re-take the lead 12-10. Coronado couldn’t put more than a couple of points together the rest of the way and Montgomery used their defense to win the match.

Islander Head Coach Adeile Ahmu provided her thoughts regarding the season as a whole. “Saturday evening the Lady Islander’s wrapped up their 2019 season in a loss against Montgomery. The season had a lot of ups and downs, but for the most part, every game was a lesson for the Lady Islanders. The team consisted of two seniors, four juniors and eight sophomores, all determined to win and play together to be successful. We started off strong, especially as a young team competing against veteran teams, with majority of our opponents being two years older than majority of our team. But we persevered and often came out on top, particularly in our huge win against volleyball powerhouse Patrick Henry. The middle of the season was definitely a bit tougher for the ladies, but they worked hard every day during practice and learned from each loss. They began to peak at the end of our season with two big wins against Division II Christian and the No. 3 seed in Division III, High Tech High San Diego.

“As my second season as head coach at Coronado comes to an end, I would say I am proud to have been able to coach these young women. I had the pleasure of teaching a few life lessons, how to better their skills in a sport we love, and also build this into a stronger program. I definitely wanted the girls to focus less on winning and losing, and more in competing, and they did just that. Anyone can win a game but competing day in and day out is where the hard work lays. The ladies displayed so much heart in every match win or lose, they worked hard every day at practice since the first day we came back in August. I am proud of the season we had and will strive for to improve every season from here on.”

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