St. Lucy’s advances to Division II Southern California regional final after four-set win

By Brian Reed-Baiotto, Correspondent
Saturday’s CIF-SS Division II girls state volleyball showdown between back-to-back CIF-SS champions St. Lucy’s and Downey had all the drama one would expect knowing a berth to the Southern California final was at stake. St. Lucy’s (29-5) weathered several Downey runs and was too good down the stretch as the Regents held off the Vikings 25-23, 23-25, 25-20, 25-16 at Damien High. (To continue click thread)

The Regents advanced to Tuesday’s Southern California final at Carlsbad La Costa Canyon High. The winner moves on to Saturday’s state title match at Concordia University in Irvine against the Northern California champion.

Downey led 23-22 in the first game, but St. Lucy’s senior standout Jasmine Warmington’s fifth and sixth kills helped the Regents win it.

The Vikings (29-5) dominated throughout the second game, thanks in large part to Joy Miley’s two aces and six kills, including one at 24-23 to even the match.

But St. Lucy’s rode a balanced attack to outlast a solid and relatively young Downey squad.

Warmington finished with 13 kills and almost always answered whenever the Vikings were starting to mount a rally.

“The returning players knew how much hard work we needed to put in to get back to this place, but as good as we were last year, we all wanted to get even better this season,” Warmington said.

Downey’s Central Arkansas-bound Heather Schnars saved her best for last with a match-high 21 kills and three aces.

“I am so proud we won two straight CIF championships, but I wish we could have won a state title,” Schnars said while fighting back tears. “This feeling will pass soon and what I’ll remember is how much I loved fighting with these girls for every point in every match we ever played. I couldn’t be more proud to leave this school with two titles because we worked so hard to earn them.”

Veronica La Pierre led the Regents with 14 kills, Marissa Hageman added 11 kills and senior setter Jackie Macy had a game-high 50 assists.

“Downey is very good and has a high-powered offense with really good athletes,”

St. Lucy’s coach Sean Douglas said. “It took us a while to get control defensively, but once we got settled, we were able to use the balance and depth that has served this team so well.”

Makayla Taylor had 13 kills and two aces and Miley finished with 14 kills and two aces for the Vikings.

“In the end, St. Lucy’s just executed so well when they needed to and earned their victory tonight,” Downey coach Andrea Sims said. “We gave everything we had, but just didn’t play at the level we’re capable of playing.

I couldn’t be more proud of these girls for representing our school and program like champions.”

St. Lucy’s won the CIF-SS Division 2AA title last weekend with a sweep over La Salle and Downey wrapped up its second CIF-SS Division 2A title with a five-game thriller over Whittier Christian.

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