Redondo Union High School’s girls’ volleyball team has already spent the past month as the No. 1 ranked team in the CIF-Southern Section Division IAA, as well as second in California and as high as third in the United States by some polls.
Last Friday and Saturday, the Sea Hawks hosted their Power Classic and came out on top by downing playoff rival Long Beach Poly, 25-17, 25-10, on Saturday.
The playoff rivalry began in Redondo’s storied 2010 season that saw the Jackrabbits win the Power Classic, the Southern Section Division IAA and the Southern California Regional championships over the Sea Hawks.
Redondo came back with a four-set win over Poly in the first round of the IAA playoffs last season, but avenged that tournament final defeat from two years ago by routing the Jackrabbits.
Poly (24-7 overall and 13-1 and in first place in the Moore League), though, led throughout the first part of the first set but the Sea Hawks reeled off a big string of points to lead by as many as 11 points. The Jackrabbits made a little run but Redondo, which increased its overall record to 32-3 with a 26-match winning streak, was able to win handily.
After Poly scored the second set’s first two points, Redondo started its dominance by scoring the next seven points and continued to have a commanding lead throughout. The Sea Hawks clinched the match and the title with a kill by senior middle blocker Tasia Vlahakis.
“I’m proud of our effort,” Redondo head coach Tom Chaffins said. “Our play and mental effort were super. We got better as the day progressed.”
For the day, returning all-CIF outside hitter Skylar Dykstra, who will be playing at UCLA next season, led with 30 kills, seven ace serves, 38 digs and five blocks. Freshman setter Norene Iosia added 70 assists, five blocks, three kills and nine aces. Katie Rotando and Leilani Martinez chipped in 35 and 22 digs, in order. Briana Lanktree contributed 23 kills and seven blocks. Skye Compton had 14 kills and seven blocks. Abril Bustamonte put down 20 kills. Hannah Mosbar tallied 17 kills.
Dykstra and Iosia were co-Most Valuable Players of the tournament.
Redondo advanced to the final by way of another sweeping 25-21, 25-15 win over Glendora St. Lucy’s, ranked No. 1 in the Southern Section Division IA.
The Sea Hawks swept all three opponents (Los Angeles Marlborough, Vista of the San Diego area and Yorba Linda) in pool play on Friday before winning the Gold Division playoff matches over Rancho Cucamonga Los Osos (25-18, 25-17) and Valencia (25-18, 25-17), before their wins over St. Lucy’s and Poly for their fifth tournament title.
It is also Redondo’s second tournament title this season. A few weeks ago, the Sea Hawks captured the Orange County Tournament by sweeping Santa Ana Mater Dei (No. 3 in the Southern Section Division IAA) at Edison High in Huntington Beach.
Also last month, Redondo placed third in the highly prestigious Durango Tournament in Las Vegas. That classic included several other nationally ranked teams.
South Torrance, the top ranked team in the Southern Section Division IIAA, finished fifth in the gold division, by downing Los Osos in two sets.
Erika Eastley was on the all-tournament team with 31 kills for the Spartans, who are tied with cross town rival North Torrance for the top spot in the Pioneer League.
Peninsula won the Silver Division by topping West L.A. Notre Dame Academy, 23-25, 25-19, 15-11. The Panthers are currently in third place, behind leader Redondo and second place Mira Costa, in the Bay League.
Bishop Montgomery, Palos Verdes, El Segundo and North were also involved in the tournament.
Mira Costa placed sixth in the another highly prestigious classic, the Santa Barbara Tournament of Champions, last Saturday. In a tournament that consisted of full best-of-five matches, the Mustangs won the fifth place semifinal over usual CIF-San Diego Section power Carlsbad La Costa Canyon, 25-16, 24-26, 26-24, 14-25, 15-11, but lost the fifth place final to Mountain View St. Francis, 23-25, 25-23, 25-16, 15-11.
Mira Costa split Friday’s first two games by sweeping Dos Pueblos but losing in four games to Newport Beach Corona del Mar.
Grayce Campbell sparked the Mustangs, ranked 10th in the CIF-Southern Section Division IAA, with 31 kills and 28 digs.
Mira Costa and Redondo will show down in their Bay League finale Tuesday at 7 p.m. The Sea Hawks are 7-0 in league, while the Mustangs are in second at 6-1. Mira Costa has won or shared league titles in 27 of the past 28 seasons and is hoping that a win over Redondo will pull them into a tie for the league title with the Sea Hawks. Both of them tied for the Bay crown two years ago after the Mustangs won in a three-game sweep at Redondo but the Sea Hawks traveled to Mira Costa and rolled over the Mustangs in three straight.
Redondo hopes it can defeat Mira Costa and receive the Division IAA playoffs’ top seed.
The CIF-Southern Section playoffs begin next week.
Snyder’s Top 10 South Bay Girls’ Volleyball Poll: 1. Redondo, 2. Mira Costa, 3. South Torrance, 4. North Torrance, 5. Bishop Montgomery, 6. Narbonne, 7. Peninsula, 8. Carson, 9. El Segundo, 10. Palos Verdes.