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SUNRISE VOLLEYBALL: Defending champion Cougars cruise to region final

Coronado was playing perhaps its best volleyball at the right time heading into Thursday’s Sunrise Regional semifinals at Silverado.

The defending state champions were riding a six-game winning streak, and Basic was the last hurdle to clear before reaching another regional final.

The Cougars came out of the gate on all cylinders, and never looked back in downing the Wolves, 25-6, 25-16, 25-15.

Coronado (31-7) will take on Foothill (20-10) at 5 p.m. Friday for the region title.

The Cougars only trailed once, a four-point deficit, in the third set.

“We are playing very well right now,” Coronado coach Matt Johnson said. “We are serving the ball well and playing solid defense. Those two things really makes us look better.”

Coronado dominated with its service game against the Wolves, hitting 20 aces.

“It was a lot of fun out there,” said senior Berkeley Oblad, who had 13 kills and four aces. “Even though we have beaten Foothill twice, we know they are going to play the match of their life Friday. We have to do the same.”

After easily taking the first set, Coronado didn’t take its foot off the pedal in set two. The frontline of the Cougars — featuring Oblad and Nikki Jackson — was the big difference as the two combined for nine kills in the middle set.

Basic (23-9) showed plenty of heart in the third set, and led 9-5. But the Cougars’ frontline and the serving of Emily Bender proved to be too much.

Jackson had nine kills, six aces and four digs for Coronado, and teammate Cali Thompson added 38 assists. Johnson also praised the work of junior Navi Lee, who had one of her best games of the season with nine kills.

Kali Wieres notched four kills and two blocks for the Wolves. Kim Austin had seven digs and three kills, and Christina Kelley added six assists and three kills.

Foothill 3, Rancho 1 — Christina Beaver had 41 assists and 11 digs as the Falcons defeated the Rams, 26-28, 25-13, 25-16, 25-11.

Olivia Stet had 14 kills, six digs and two blocks for the Falcons (20-10), and Rebecca Hill added 12 kills, 12 digs and two aces.

Serenity Sivongsa had 23 assists and six digs for Rancho (17-15). Danielle Carino added 10 kills and seven digs for the Rams.

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