By Ryan Menzie
Signal Sports Writer
The dream season has been accomplished for the Santa Clarita Christian School Cardinals girls’ volleyball team (32-0, 14-0), who remain perfect on the season after beating the Wiseburn-Da Vinci Wolves (25-6, 10-0) and securing the CIF Division 8 championship.
Coming into the game, they had not dropped a single set all season long (84-0) but would drop two of their sets in an eventual five-set victory (25-9, 14-25, 19-25, 25-22, 15-11) on Saturday. Not dropping any sets all season long was the last thing on the minds of head coach Darcy Brown and her team as they were fighting for their CIF title, and succeeded.
“It was amazing,” said Brown. “Winning the CIF title was always the goal since the beginning of the season. With the way our season progressed, we knew it was a real possibility. It was nerve-wracking until the final points, but I had no doubt in my mind that we could do it. I knew they had it in them and they had to be the ones on the court to make it happen, and that’s exactly what they did.”
The Cardinals won their first set handily, but would let up in the second and third sets according to Brown. The second-set loss would be their first loss of the entire season and before they knew it, they found themselves in a 2-1 hole. The nerves would kick in and uncharacteristic mistakes would be made after finding themselves going into a fourth set for the first time all season long, but the Cardinals’ resilience showed.
In the fifth and final set, the Cardinals found themselves down early 2-7 with a final set only going to 15 points.
“They didn’t go down without a fight, they were not going to let their season end this way and they got a scoring run,” said Brown.
The Cardinals roared back, bringing them up 11-9 before eventually finishing the match, winning the final set 15-11 and securing the title.
The Cardinals were led by Hannah Shaffer, who led the team with 20 kills on a .488 kill rate while also leading the team with 31 digs and two aces. Kaysa Brown finished with nine kills and 25 digs and also led the team in assists with 35.
“I was relieved when we finally won the match,” said Brown. “After dropping two sets in a row, I started to feel a bit nervous. I knew that we had to be a mentally tough team, but we were all nervous since that was the first sets we had lost all year. We didn’t want to go the entire season not losing a set to just losing the entire match. It’s relieving that we ended up on top.”
Ella Banke led the team with seven blocks while also accounting for three kills. Chaney Brooks finished with 17 digs. Nevaeh Phillips finished with 11 kills, 20 digs and four blocks.
“It means so much to accomplish what we did, especially with not having a season last year,” said Phillips. “It was awesome to win with all my friends for my final year. We’ve worked really hard and that’s the reason we were able to win. Just because we are the No. 1 seed heading into state playoffs doesn’t make it any easier for us. I think it’s only going to get harder from here on out so we need to keep working hard so we can win the state championship.”