SUNRISE VOLLEYBALL: Cougars sweep Falcons to repeat as region champs

After winning last year’s Division I state title, Coronado’s girls volleyball team had three goals for this year — winning the Southeast League, winning the Sunrise Region title and repeating as state champions.

Two down, one to go.

Coronado needed just 56 minutes Friday to down Foothill, 25-10, 25-18, 25-7 to earn the Sunrise Region title at Silverado. The Cougars (32-7) advance to next week’s state tournament in Reno.

“It’s an awesome feeling, to go back to state,” said Coronado junior Nikki Jackson, filled with emotion. “It’s overwhelming what this team has accomplished this season. I’m so proud of our team, we played really well today.”

The Cougars, winners of eight straight, did everything right against the Falcons. Jackson and front-row mates Berkeley Oblad and Carolyn Andrulis made all the difference against Foothill.

“When you have a target on your back, you know you’re going to get everybody’s best effort,” said Coronado coach Matt Johnson. “But the team responded from the beginning tonight against a good team.”

In the opening set, kills by Andrulis and Oblad keyed a 7-1 run that gave the Cougars a 12-3 lead, and Coronado never looked back.

Foothill (20-11) stayed close in the second set, evening the set at 11-11, but Coronado used the serving of Emily Bender and their frontline to rattle off seven straight points.

In the final set, Coronado scored the first eight points and cruised home.

Coronado got a big lift by the return of Andrulis, who missed Thursday’s semifinal due to a bout with the flu. Andrulis responded with 12 kills, nine digs and two blocks.

Oblad had 14 kills and nine blocks. Cali Thompson added 42 assists, three blocks and two aces for Coronado.

Rebecca Hill led Foothill with six kills and four digs, and Olivia Stet added seven digs and four kills. Renee Ritchie had 13 digs, and teammate Christina Beaver had 12 assists, seven digs and two kills.

“We played as well as we could,” said Foothill coach Krysta Ortiz, who has nine underclassmen on her roster. “I’m happy with the strides we are making in our program, and our future is very bright.”

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