Last Saturday was a great day for two South Bay girls’ volleyball teams as Redondo and South Torrance captured CIF-Southern Section crowns at Cerritos College.
In the afternoon, the Spartans, who were seeded No. 2 in the Southern Section Division IIAA, stunned top seed Sun Valley Village Christian in a three-game sweep, 25-23, 25-20, 26-24.
In the evening, the top seed Sea Hawks defeated Santa Ana Mater Dei, 25-23, 23-25, 25-20, 25-20, for the Division IAA crown.
For both teams, it was their second Southern Section championships in their programs’ history. Redondo won its first title since stunning the United States’ top ranked team and Bay League rival Manhattan Beach Mira Costa in five games for the IAA title in 2006. The Mustangs would recover by sweeping the host Sea Hawks in the Southern California Regional Division I finals and go on to win the California State Division I crown over San Jose Archbishop Mitty in that year. Also, Mira Costa was declared the mythical national champion.
South’s Southern Section crown was the first in 10 years. The Spartans also failed to win state in 2004.
On Tuesday, both teams were able to get through the first round. Host and Southern California’s top seed Redondo swept CIF-Los Angeles City Division I champion Palisades, 25-11, 25-22, 25-13. The Spartgans topped L.A. City Division II champion Woodland Hills Taft, 22-25, 25-8, 25-18, 25-22.
In the Sea Hawks’ win over the Dolphins, junior outside hitter Megan Rice led with 11 kills and six ace serves. Senior outside hitter Abril Bustamante added nine kills and three aces, and junior setter Norene Iosia chipped in 20 assists and five kills.
With the win, Redondo improved to 35-2 and will host fifth seed Clovis, which outlasted host and Southern Section Division IA champion Aliso Niguel, 25-14, 25-22, 14-25, 9-25, 15-8. Clovis won the Central Section Division I championship. The match is Saturday at 7 p.m.
South was led by junior outside hitter Karly Eastley with 16 kills in its win over the Toreadors.
The third seed Spartans visit No. 2 Scripps Ranch, the San Diego Section Section Division II champion, in San Diego Saturday at 7 p.m.
Last Saturday, Redondo and Mater Dei had mostly close sets. The Monarchs surged to an eight-point lead and had to nhold off the Sea Hawks in the second game.
Mater Dei also jumped out to leads of 10-5, 11-6 and 13-8 in the third set and that’s when Yaasmen Bedart-Ghani, who won two Southern Section titles while playing at Bel Air Marymount High during her freshman and sophomore years in 2011 and 2012, caught fire with numerous kills and other outstanding plays. Bedart-Ghani led Redondo with 22 kills and seven digs.
The Sea Hawks led virtually the entire fourth game and won it on Bedart-Ghani’s 22nd kill.
“As the match went on, our serving really picked up,” Redondo head coach Tommy Chaffins, in his 13th season, said. “In the fourth game, we got off to a good start.”
Bustamante contributed 15 kills, three blocks and seven digs. Rice had 14 kills and three aces. Iosia had 52 assists and seven digs.
The Monarchs were led by Alyse Wallace-Ford with a match high 25 kills and Redondo transfer setter Payton Chang with 42 assists.
Although the Spartans swept the Crusaders, they had to come from benhind in all three of their sets. In the third game, South was trailing 24-20 before scoring the final six points, climaxed by a kill from Gina Cortesi to clinch the match and the championship.
Eastley led South with 12 kills and 12 digs. Cortesi tallied eight kills and six digs. Kori Kutsch, senior daughter of head coach Robert Kutsch, totaled 16 kills and 31 assists.
Both are seeking their first state crowns. Redondo, on several occasions, made it as far as the regional finals but fell short. Two years ago, the Sea Hawks lost the Southern California championship to eventual state Division I champion Marymount, with Bedart-Ghani on the squad as a sophomore, in a three-game sweep at Marymount.
The regional finals are next Tuesday with the state championships at Orange Santiago Canyon College on Dec. 6.