By: Derryl Trujillo

Valley News Contributing Writer

Ontario Christian (15-10): 25-28-25=3

Murrieta Valley (26-9):     22-26-22=0

ONTARIO (Knights Center) – Ann Romero-Parks paid Ontario Christian’s girls volleyball team possibly the highest compliment by saying they would be competitive as Southwestern League members. Coming into Thursday night’s match the Lady Knights were 2-0 with three set wins against Chaparral and Temecula Valley in Dave Mohs tournament play. Thursday night’s CIF-SS D2 first round match was the first test of this Knights group in a three of five match against a team from arguably our toughest league.

It was a test the No.10 seeded Knights passed in a match with all the intensity of a five-set thriller by scores of 25-22, 28-26, and 25-22. They will advance to Saturday’s 2nd round against No.7 Foothill in Irvine.

How’d it happen?

Ontario Christian jumped out to a 6-2 lead on kills from Dakota Zieman and Rian Hobbs plus an early block solo by Hobbs. It reached 10-7 on an ace by Mia Medrano and gave the Lady Knights their largest lead of three points. Off three straight kills from Mya Jackson the Nighthawks tied it at 19. Amelia Don had three straight kills to finish and gave Ontario Christian a 25-22 set one win.

In set two Murrieta Valley led 5-1 on two kills from Gwynnie Wentzel plus two aces from Grace Datil. Wentzel recorded another kill at 13-11 and Lady Knights coach Paige Liebhart took a last timeout trailing 15-12. Off back-to-back solo blocks and a kill by Allyson Shim, Ontario Christian pulled to within one at 17-16. Ties at 18, 19, 20, 21 and 22 followed with Madison Bailey’s kill giving the Nighthawks a 23-22 lead. Murrieta Valley however couldn’t convert as two attack errors at 24-23 and 25-24 cost them a tied match. Shim and Brooklyn Goedhart recorded Ontario Christian’s final kills of the set to go up 2-0 with a 28-26 win.

Kills from Hobbs and Zieman plus Isabel Badiola’s ace gave Ontario Christian a 10-6 lead in set three. Leads and ties were traded through 14 when Hobbs’ kill plus a ball handling fault put the Lady Knights up 16-14. Wentzel’s solo block tied it at 20 but a Zieman ace and combo block from Shim/Goedhart ended it and gave Ontario Christian a win.

Ontario Christian swept Murrieta Valley in round one of the CIF Southern Section Division 2 playoffs. Valley News/Courtesy photo (Nancy Ziebell)

Reaction…

Romero-Parks said “They’re a quality volleyball team that did a lot of nice things tonight. In key moments however we just had way too many errors. You put them in the Southwestern League and they’d more than hold their own.”

14th year Lady Knights coach Paige Liebhart remarked “We had to get back to executing in set two and that’s what we did. Ultimately, we want to stay in division one/two and wins like this help. I’m honored by the fact that a coach like Ann says we could jump right into their league and compete.”

Setter Brooklyn Goedhart said “We definitely had something to prove tonight coming off those championship appearances. It’s exciting to play good teams like them (referencing a recently scheduled non-league match for next year) and hear coaches like that say we can hang in their league.”

Middle Blocker Allyson Shim remarked “It just comes down to who wants it more when you get to the 20s. You have to stay calm, trust your team, and know you can get it done.”

 

Murrieta Valley fell to Ontario Christian in three straight sets. Valley News/Action Captures Media Group

The Numbers…

Shim (OC) – 10 kills, 4 blocks

Hobbs (OC) – 10k, 3b

Goedhart (OC) – 34 assists, 1kill

Zieman (OC) – 7 kills

Jackson (MV) – 11 kills

Derryl Trujillo can be reached by email at socaltrekkieatgmail.com.