By Clay Fowler, Staff Writer
Just when the St. Lucy’s Priory girls volleyball team was beginning to appreciate the CIF State playoffs, they were over. After claiming the first CIF championship in school history 11 days ago, the Regents found themselves 15 points away from a trip to the state championship Tuesday night. “Our goal at the beginning of the year was to win CIF,” St. Lucy’s head coach Sean Douglas said. “Getting re-ready for state was difficult because it wasn’t really on our radar.”
After ending the season of Sierra League co-champion Chino Hills on Saturday, seventh-seeded Fullerton Troy took out No. 1 seed St. Lucy’s in five games at the University of La Verne, winning 25-14, 21-25, 23-25, 25-17, 15-10 in the Southern California championship.
Troy’s ultratalented middle blocker Maddy Barrett dominated the game with a game-high 30 kills, and St. Lucy’s didn’t have an answer for her.
“She’s one of those players who you love to have on your side but hate to see on the other side of the net,” Troy coach Crystal Day said.
The 5-foot-10 Barrett, who was athletic enough to play back row, had four kills in the final game, including the one that ended the night after Troy (35-1) lost three consecutive match points to give St. Lucy’s (31-10) some late life.
It was the first 10 points of Game 5, however, that sunk the Regents, as they fell behind 7-3.
“It’s a short game,” Day said, “and if you’re not ready for it, it will be over before you know it.”
St. Lucy’s Deanna Dalton picked up four of her 12 kills in the final game, but it was too little too late.
“I was nervous (entering the final game),” Douglas said. “Their defense was so good. They never let the ball hit the floor. I could see that wearing on us.
“They just outworked us tonight.”
It wasn’t a pretty start for St. Lucy’s, which lost 11 of 13 points during a Game 1 stretch to fall behind 16-7.
In Game 2, St. Lucy’s won six of the last eight points, thanks in large part to three kills during that stretch from sophomore Arden Davis, who notched 14 kills, one less than team leader Jasmine Warmington.
St. Lucy’s won the final five points of Game 3 as Davis again closed the deal, with two kills in the final three points.
Troy took an early lead in the fourth game and created some distance at 19-12 before eventually claiming the game by a comfortable eight-point margin.