The Lions last Championship Appearance was Way Back in 1982
By Stephanie LaFleur
Linfield Christian stepped on the court energized to face fourth seeded Ocean View in the CIF Southern Section Girls Volleyball Championship Playoff Semifinal game with excitement still in the air from their 5 set victory over Cate High School on Wednesday night.
Lions MB Alaina Tucker opened set one with a kill, followed by a tough serve that the Seahawks were unable to return from setter Devin Sivertson. The Lions began to pull away at 14-8 with a kill from senior OH Makenzie Phelps, followed by an ace from freshman DS Emily Bohmer, forcing the Seahawks to call timeout. Linfield extended their lead to ten to win set one 25-15, finishing with 9 kills overall.
The Lions began set two with quite a few errors, falling behind as much as five points at 4-9. MB Paige Williams put the momentum back into the Lions’ favor with a kill off the Seahawks’ overpass. Ocean View struggled to recover with back to back hitting errors. Lions OH Sarah Newman narrowed the gap to one with a kill from the back row, and few points later Phelps would tie the set 12-12 with a kill on the outside.
This was just the beginning of the Lions’ five point run. Linfield Christian recovered a short free ball from Ocean View that eventually led to a Lions’ point. Tucker and Sivertson combined again for the kill and ace, respectively, and the Seahawks tallied another hitting error, followed by a timeout.
Momentum shifted back into Ocean View’s court as the Lions’ errors allowed the Seahawks to get within as much as two of the lead. But Linfield senior OH Kelly Rausch took control and tooled the block at 22-19 for the kill. The Seahawks finished with three errors, giving the Lions a 25-20 win, and 2-0 lead in the match.
The Lions wasted no time in set three, jumping out to a 10-5 lead with kills from both Rausch and Newman, and three aces from Libero Sam Hohulin. Linfield was still not free from their errors allowing the Seahawks to get within two points, at four different times throughout the set.
The final time was at 19-17, as Rausch would earn a kill on the outside followed by a first contact deep put back by Hohulin to extend the Lions’ lead back to four. Hohulin struck again with an ace for the 23-17 advantage and Williams closed the set with a dominant kill, for the 25-17 victory, and 3-0 sweep of Ocean View to advance the Lions to the CIF Southern Section Championship game.
Williams finished with 8 kills to lead the Lions, as fellow middle Tucker earned 3 blocks. Sivertson finished with 20 assists and 11 digs on the night.
This will be Linfield’s first championship appearance since 1982.
Linfield will face third seeded Nordhoff in the CIF-SS Division 7 championship on Saturday, November 3rd. Time and location are to be determined.
Photos by Stephanie LaFleur