DIVISION I-A VOLLEYBALL: Crusaders shake off jitters, move into title match

Faith Lutheran’s volleyball team came out with some jitters Friday night.

Though from the final score, it was hard to tell.

Tayah Washington had 14 kills and 11 digs to lead the Crusaders to a 25-16, 25-17, 25-13 win over Dayton in a Division I-A state semifinal at Foothill.

Faith Lutheran (29-11) will try to win its third straight state title when it faces Truckee (26-8) at 4:45 p.m. Saturday at Foothill.

“It’s a great feeling playing for another title,” Faith Lutheran coach Amy Fisher said. “Some of the girls watched from the bench a season ago, and I think playing early we had some nerves. But we settled and played a solid match.”

It helps when you have weapons, and Faith Lutheran certainly has its share.

Bryanna Neagle had eight kills, and Sydney Washington added seven kills for Faith Lutheran, which got 42 assists from Megan Kronschnabel.

“Once we got a read on their serve, we could really take charge of the point,” Fisher said. “Dayton has a very good team, and their serving gave us problems. If we don’t return serve, we have to work even harder.”

Faith Lutheran defeated Truckee in three sets in last year’s semifinal.

Ashley Mason and Shalia Powell had four kills each for Dayton. Powell added 16 assists and 16 digs for the Dustdevils.

Truckee 3, Sierra Vista 0 — The Wolverines started the match with Madison Bromley serving five straight aces and never looked back in a 25-9, 25-12, 25-21 sweep of the Mountain Lions.

“Our serve is our biggest weapon,” said Truckee coach Erika Murphy, whose team finished with 14 aces. “The girls have a solid, physical game, and I’m just here for the ride. We started well tonight and kept (Sierra Vista) on their heels.”

What the Wolverines’ serve didn’t do, the front line of Maia Dvoracek, Katie Fisher and Madison Haley did.

Haley, who played with a dislocated finger during the season, had three kills following Bromley’s string of aces and the Wolverines easily took the opening set.

“We never got going,” Sierra Vista coach Camille McComas said. “We were hit with the tough serve early, and we got rattled. We tried to gain our composure, but their physical game was too much.”

Dvoracek hit her kill stride by starting the second set with four straight kills to get the Wolverines off and running again.

Sierra Vista played its best stretch of the night near the end of the match, as three straight aces by Shantalle Demirjian and key blocks from Aryana Justice pulled the Mountain Lions to within 22-20 in the third set, but the Wolverines regrouped and closed out the match.

“It was a nice ride,” McComas said. “I’m certainly proud of this team. We just ran into a physical team tonight.”

Demirjian had eight kills and four aces for Sierra Vista (20-14), and teammate Faith Gray-Williams finished with 16 assists. The Mountain Lions had just 16 kills in the entire match.

Dvoracek led Truckee with 26 assists, 15 kills and two aces. Bromley finished with eight aces, and Jordan Brown had 10 assists.

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