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Bishop’s wins volleyball

Knights’ first big win since 1999

The Bishop’s School’s girls volleyball team finally slayed an old nemesis and got back to the top of the podium in the process.

The Knights won their first CIF San Diego Section Division IV championship since 1999 with a 25-18, 25-23, 27-25 victory over Santa Fe Christian in the title game on Nov. 22. They had lost to the Eagles in the championship game last year and had also fallen to them in the regional final of the state tournament in five games a year ago.

“These kids were hungry for retribution,” Bishop’s coach Tod Mattox said. “To win in three games against a quality team that was the defending state champion was really impressive. The kids are proud, and they should be.”

Bishop’s swept, but didn’t do so easily. The Knights trailed in the second and third games, and had to battle back for the wins.

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Julie Gantz sparked important runs in Games 2 and 3, and totaled seven aces. Kristin Casey led the Knights with 11 kills, and Kendall Lord had eight. Carly Bollert totaled 13 digs, and Savannah Smith was a commanding presence at the net, adding five blocks.

“It was definitely satisfying to win after coming back from such a heart-breaking loss last year,” said Bollert, a senior outside hitter. “I think the team played the best we have as an entire unit all year.”

The Knights were seeded second and earned a first-round bye. They beat Mater Dei in the Nov. 14 quarterfinals, 25-5, 25-9, 25-18, and then toppled Francis Parker, 25-23, 25-23, 25-12 in the semifinals on Nov. 18.

Bishop’s improved its record to 25-9 and was scheduled to host Connelly of Anaheim in the first round of the CIF State D-IV tournament on Nov. 25.

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Bishop’s was seeded first in the state tournament, and with two victories could face a re-match with second-seeded Santa Fe Christian in the Southern California final on Dec. 2.

“Playing at home as a favorite should be a good thing,” Mattox said.

Mattox identified the Knights’ aggressiveness attacking and their improved defense as keys to bringing Bishop’s its first girls’ volleyball section title in nine years.

“Santa Fe Christian has some tall players up front, but we told our hitters not to be afraid of their blocking, so we had had to be aggressive,” Mattox said. “They blocked a bunch of balls, but we also knew we had to play good defense, and we did that.”

In other volleyball games: La Jolla High School advanced all the way to the CIF SDS D-III final, but fell to Cathedral Catholic, 25-23, 25-22, 25-20, on Nov. 22.

The Vikings reached the final with a 25-17, 20-25, 25-19, 25-22 victory over Canyon Crest Academy in the Nov. 18 semifinals.

The top two teams in D-III advance to the state tournament, so La Jolla was scheduled to visit Brentwood in the first round on Nov. 25.