La Costa wears down Bishop’s to win CIF volleyball opener
Ridiing a 17-kill performance by freshman Jaidyn Jager, the third-seeded host La Costa Canyon girls volleyball team passed its first post-season test Saturday night, Oct. 30, outlasting sixth seed Bishop’s, 3-0 (25-20, 25-19, 25-21) in the CIF Open Division quarterfinals.
The victory, LCC’s sixth in a row, lifted the Coastal League champion Mavericks to 29-11 on the season and into next Wednesday’s semi-final at No. 2 seed Eastlake, a 3-1 winner over Westview. The other semi-final will feature top-seeded Cathedral Catholic and No. 4 seed San Marcos. Bishop’s falls to 24-10.
On a night when LCC was solid but not spectacular, it was Bishop’s veteran head coach Tod Mattox who may have described the night’s activities best.
“They’re big, physical, they defend well and they’re well-coached,” said Mattox. “We played hard, we were in every set but they’re a quality team that just keeps putting pressure on you.
“They pulled away late every time—they were good when the needed to be good.”
LCC came out strong in the first set but a series of unforced errors by the Mavs helped Bishop’s get back into it and take its first lead at 18-17. A booming kill by senior Avry Tatum out of the ensuing LCC timeout kick-started a run of three straight points and an ace by another senior Jillian Aasand sealed a 25-20 result.
Not to be deterred, Bishop’s rebounded quickly by scoring the first two points of game two and opened up a 7-4 lead early. LCC knotted it at seven but couldn’t get on top. Showing a touch of frustration with the tenacity of the Knights’ block touches and defense, the Mavs soon found themselves on the wrong side of the score at 17-11.
What came next was the turning point of the match. Using a combination of good serving, renewed offensive efficiency and a temporary collapse on the other side of the net, the Mavericks blitzed Bishop’s, tallying eight of the next nine points en route to a 25-19 triumph and a 2-0 advantage.
“I liked the set two comeback a lot,” said Morris postgame. “We were making too many errors and when I called time out, down by six, the message was just ‘manage the game.’ It takes a lot of mental stability to come back like that, regardless of what’s happening on the other side of the floor—and they’re a smart, scrappy team.
“Once we get rolling, if we’re in system and firing, we’re a pretty scary team. But, we’re big and physical and sometimes when we just try to out-muscle people we tend to make a lot of errors and that can be scary too.”
The visitors demonstrated their resilience again in the third set, getting to the front initially, falling behind by three but re-taking the lead with an ace at 18-17. Out of another timeout, the Mavs went to their hammer. Jager pounded a spike down the line and after a Knight hitting error slipped a well-placed roll shot between defenders to make it 20-18. It was essentially game and match as LCC closed it out, 25-21.
The Mavericks hit a sound .267 as a team, led by the dependable Jager who delivered at a blazing .326 clip, striking from all different angles and at all the right times.
“Jaidyn did a great job, offensively, defensively, serve receive—all those things,” Morris said. “She was absolutely where we went when we needed a point.”
Jager had plenty of help. Outside hitter Tatum registered 11 kills and five of LCC’s eight aces and senior opposite Mackenzie Piester, chipped in with nine kills of her own. Freshman setter Madisyn Parady dished out 24 assists and dug eight balls while senior libero London Haberfield racked up a team high 14 digs.
Despite being prioritized in Bishop’s defensive strategy, junior Eva Rohrbach still managed six kills. The 6-3 middle blocker was happy to come out of the first playoff game with a victory.
“It was awesome to get the win tonight, there’s definitely some nervousness in the first round but we did a good job of showing up and giving it our all,” said Rohrbach. “If I had to grade it, I’d say it was ‘B-ish.’
“It wasn’t our cleanest game but if we can minimize our errors then we’ll be at a higher level. We played really good, scrappy defense though and did a good job of setting up the block so our defense could play around it.”
With a regular rotation that includes half a dozen seniors and a pair of high profile freshmen, La Costa Canyon seems to have a roster that still has growth potential. From her unique perspective, as a junior, Rohrbach likes what her team has become as well as its chances going forward.
“There’s definitely a lot of diversity in terms of the classes and a fairly significant age difference between a lot of us,” said Rohrbach. “But I think we’ve done a good job with that and really become a lot closer as a team. We’ve made sure we’re always all here for each other and bringing each other up in practices and games.
“I’m excited to see what we can still do. We have a lot of fight and we’ve been putting in the work. If we can keep doing that and minimize the errors, I think we’re capable of playing with anyone.”
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