Redondo

Redondo’s Victoria Henkel spikes the ball over Harvard-Westlake’s Neha Tammala in Redondo Beach on Thursday, Oct. 21, 2021. (Photo by Scott Varley, Contributing Photographer)

  • Redondo volleyball head coach Tommy Chaffins calls a play in to his players in Redondo Beach on Thursday, Oct. 21, 2021. (Photo by Scott Varley, Contributing Photographer)

  • Redondo’s Nicole Lankton hits around the block of Harvard-Westlake’s Kennedy Hill in Redondo Beach on Thursday, Oct. 21, 2021. (Photo by Scott Varley, Contributing Photographer)

  • Redondo’s Madison Clark drops a block at the net in front of Harvard-Westlake’s Neha Tummala in Redondo Beach on Thursday, Oct. 21, 2021. (Photo by Scott Varley, Contributing Photographer)

  • Redondo’s Trixie McMillin, right, keeps an eye on the ball as Madilynn Collins hits it in Redondo Beach on Thursday, Oct. 21, 2021. (Photo by Scott Varley, Contributing Photographer)

  • Redondo’s Ella Duffner exults after scoring a point in Redondo Beach on Thursday, Oct. 21, 2021. (Photo by Scott Varley, Contributing Photographer)

  • A Harvard-Westlake shot goes over the block of Redondo’s Madilynn Collins and Nicole Lankton, right, in Redondo Beach on Thursday, Oct. 21, 2021. (Photo by Scott Varley, Contributing Photographer)

  • Redondo’s Summer Suppik lunges to try to make a save in Redondo Beach on Thursday, Oct. 21, 2021. (Photo by Scott Varley, Contributing Photographer)

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    REDONDO BEACH Those who adhere to an old sports adage would claim it’s difficult to beat the same team three times in a season.

    The Harvard-Westlake’s girls’ volleyball team proved that to be true on Thursday.

    The Wolverines came from behind to claim a five-set thriller over Redondo in the opening round of the CIF-Southern Section Division 1 playoffs. Harvard-Westlake (26-7) won 23-25, 25-22, 20-25, 27-25, 15-12 to advance to a quarterfinal match-up with Mission League rival and top-seeded Marymount, which doubles as the top team in the state.

    The Sailors (28-0), one of six teams to earn a bye into the quarters, will host next Wednesday’s showdown in Los Angeles at 6 p.m.

    “Shake it off, that was really what we were going with,” Wolverines coach Natalie Morgan said about her team’s ability to overcome a slow start. “We never really looked like ourselves until the end of the fifth set.

    “For them to grind through what didn’t feel good was really powerful for them. It’s really hard, especially as a high school athlete.”

    Trailing by as many as four in the final set, the Wolverines stormed back with the help of Redondo hitting and service errors. Still down 12-9, Harvard-Westlake reeled off the last six points—including an ace from Neha Tummala and Kennedy Hill’s final kill to set off the victory on the bench.

    The Sea Hawks (22-10) had their chances to finish off the Wolverines in the fourth set, sitting on match point. However, two consecutive hitting errors erased a 24-22 lead, and another Redondo error and Harvard-Westlake violation kept the score tied at 25. The Sea Hawks failed to communicate on the ensuing point and Thrower’s ace saved the Wolverines’ season and forced the deciding set.

    The victory avenged a pair of early-season losses to Redondo in August without setter Tummala and with ailing right-side hitter Grace Thrower. This time, however, it was Redondo Union (22-10) that was shorthanded.

    The Sea Hawks, the defending 2019 Div. 1 champions after COVID-19 canceled last year’s playoffs, were without key three players: Gianna Tagoai (ACL), Mele Corral-Blagojevich (stress fracture, left foot) and Kaia Fittz (foot). Regardless, coach Tommy Chaffins said Harvard-Westlake deserved full credit for its resiliency.

    “Harvard-Westlake made plays at the end,” Chaffins said. “They have a little more varsity experience and it showed there at the end.

    “I’m proud of the way our team fought and grinded. We just couldn’t close it out (in the fourth and fifth set), but it wasn’t from a lack of effort..”

    The teams got off to a rocky start in the opening set, in particular Harvard-Westlake who had four service errors, as Redondo did just enough to prevail in the opener. Sophia Lindus came alive in the next set, accounting for six of the Wolverines’ points including an ace and a kill following a long rally late in the set, to knot the match at a set apiece.

    Lindus carried the momentum for the rest of the match and finished with 20 kills to pace Harvard-Westlake’s attack. h2 data-curated-ids="" data-relation-type="automatic-primary-tag"">

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    Redondo claimed the third set thanks to the tandem of Madison Clark and Giselle Gallegos, who was a “surprise starter” at opposite hitter after Fittz injured a foot in warm-ups 30 minutes before the match. Clark had three kills and five blocks in the set, while Gallegos added three kills and a pair of blocks.

    “[Gallegos] came in and played great,” Chaffins said.

    Nicole Lankton, Redondo’s most efficient attacker, finished with 13 kills and two blocks.

    Source : https://www.dailynews.com/2021/10/21/third-time-is-a-charm-for-harvard-westlake-girls-volleyball-against-redondo/

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