DIVISION I VOLLEYBALL: Coronado one win from third straight title

Coronado’s girls volleyball team has been the best in Division I for the past two years.

On Saturday, they’ll try to run that streak to three.

Coronado’s Emily Bender had 15 kills to lead the Cougars past Bishop Gorman, 26-24, 25-15, 25-17, and into the Division I state title match. The Cougars (30-10) will face Bishop Manogue (35-6) at 2:30 p.m. today at Foothill High School. The Miners defeated Shadow Ridge in four sets in the other semifinal.

“We are shooting for that,” Coronado head coach Matt Jonson said of the possibility of a three-peat. “(Bishop Manogue) is a really good team. They are definitely going to put some pressure on us. We have to pass better than we did tonight, and serve as good as we did tonight to be successful. It’s definitely going to be a great state championship game.”

Gorman (28-14) gave Coronado all it could handle in the first set before the Gaels’ mishit Megan Wang’s serve to end the set.

“We definitely got a wake-up call in that first game,” Johnson said. “They took it to us, but we knew they were going to come at us. Their backs were against the wall, they are a young team with nothing to lose. They are going go get better, and it was good for us to get that challenge.

“We’d been sitting around all day watching volleyball. We were not tired, but our batteries have been going on high speed since this morning, and when you play at 8:30 p.m., it was a tough one to settle down for.”

Carolyn Andrulis had 11 kills, Cali Thompson dished out 39 assists and had four aces, and Nikki Jackson added four kills and three aces for Coronado.

Vashti Cunningham had 14 kills and two aces for Gorman. Paige Poggione had five kills and three blocks, and Abbey Archambault had four kills and four aces for the Gaels. Reese Rossnagel had four kills, and Sydney Lobato dished out 21 assists for the Gaels.

Bishop Manogue 3, Shadow Ridge 1 — Shadow Ridge’s dream of playing for the Division I state title ran into a roadblock.

Katelyn Oppio had 20 kills and four blocks to lead Bishop Manogue to a 27-25, 17-25, 25-13, 25-21 win over the Mustangs.

“We wanted to play for a championship this year, but we ran against a real good Bishop Manogue team and tonight was their night,” Shadow Ridge coach Karissa Guthrie said.”They just played good volleyball. They are a great team. They are solid in the middle, they put up some good blocks, served well and played good all-around volleyball.”

After losing a thrilling first set, the Mustangs seemed to take control, winning the second set handily, and then jumping out to an early 2-0 lead in the third set.

However, the Miners rallied to claim the third set. In the fourth set, the Mustangs jumped out to a 14-9 lead, but once again, the Miners regained the momentum, scoring nine straight points to take a 19-15 lead, and the Mustangs would never get closer.

Whittnee Nihipali had 14 kills and 14 digs to lead the Mustangs (27-13). Eadara Files dished out 34 assists and had 10 digs, and Kizzy Rodriguez had three aces and 27 digs for Shadow Ridge.

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