The Long Beach Poly girls volleyball team’s improbable state playoff run came to an end Tuesday night, as the Jackrabbits were swept in the CIF Southern California Division I semifinals by San Juan Hills 25-17, 25-20, 25-19.
The Stallions (26-13) advance to Saturday’s regional championship match against top-seeded Santa Margarita. The match will be at Santa Margarita High at 6 p.m.
Poly had been playing without the services of three starters, who left the team before the state playoffs began. The block Poly had cobbled together in its first two state matches wasn’t there, and San Juan Hills out-blocked Poly 6-4.
“They’re a really good team,” Poly coach Leland McGrath said of San Juan Hills. “They’re solid in every rotation, their libero dug everything, and they have sticks who hit a high ball that’s hard to block.”
Poly trailed wire to wire in all three sets and struggled to pass the ball as well as it had in last week’s postseason clashes.
Part of that was due to the skill of the Stallions’ hitters, particularly Katie Lukes (14 kills) and Abbey Dayton (11 kills).
In Division II:
Sage Hill was one point away from going up two sets to none Tuesday night against Sierra Canyon, but the host Trailblazers fought back and wound up winning the Division II regional final 20-25, 33-31, 25-21, 25-15.
Sierra Canyon (36-7) advances to its first regional championship and faces La Salle at 6 p.m. on Saturday.
The Trailblazers were still in awe over their effort in the second set after trailing 24-22 and facing its first 0-2 deficit since September.
“We’ve been up 2-0 and know what it feels like, so being down 0-2, we didn’t want that,” Sierra Canyon senior Zoe Fleck said. “Those were the best 10 points of the match because both teams were giving their all for each point.”
The Trailblazers began their rally when May Pertofksy tied the score with a kill. Pertofsky had three kills that held off set point, and with Fleck diving on the floor for digs, Sierra Canyon went back and forth with Sage Hill.
Sierra Canyon led 28-27 but Amiyah De’long tied the set for Sage Hill then gave the Lightning a 29-28 with another kill. The Trailblazers tied it at 29 but Sage Hill took back control to lead 31-30.
After a missed Sage Hill serve, Jaylen Jordan had consecutive kills to help Sierra Canyon win the set and tie the match.
Sage Hill (26-10) took a 19-17 lead in the third set behind Sydnee Francis and Amiyah De’long….