Coast Union High (20-7) pulled themselves out of a one-set deficit to overcome Coast Valley League champion Coastal Christian and claim the CIF-Southern Section Division 5A girls volleyball championship Friday night, 20-25, 25-23, 25-11, 25-23.
Broncos coach Pam Kenyon said she was proud of her team’s ability to keep their heads up despite falling behind early in the match at Cuesta College.
“They just finally realized they’ve been building to this all season long,” Kenyon said. “They have the skills. They have the talent. They finally settled into their game and got results.”
Katelyn Lorenz and Roxy Martens each had a team-high 10 kills, while Nicki Ortiz had a game-high four blocks and game-high 25 digs for the Broncos.
Down 9-5 in the first set, Coastal Christian (19-2-1) rallied behind Leslie Henry’s eight kills and closed out the first set on an 8-2 run. Leslie finished with a match-high 20 kills.
“We knew it wasn’t going to be easy and we had to settle down, calm our nerves and play the game we were comfortable with playing,” Kenyon said.
The back-and-forth battle continued into the second set, and the score was tied at 23 when Coast Union’s Karla Sota drilled back-to-back kills to claim the second set for the Broncos and tie the match at a set apiece.
Coast Union carried its momentum into the third set, where the Broncos opened up with the first six points and never relinquished their lead.
“We let down huge on that third game and it was hard to get our momentum back,” Coastal Christian coach Misty Sano said. “When they got those serves at the beginning, my team became focused on themselves, and their mistakes as individuals, and we had to play as a team.”
The Broncos continued to drill the Conquerors and capitalize on their mistakes, finishing the set with their largest lead of the game at 25-11.
But the Conquerors did not back down.
In the fourth set, it was Coastal Christian who assumed control, holding on to an early lead. Even though Coast Union came back to tie the score at 20, Coastal Christian scored three straight points for a 23-20 lead and was within striking distance of a fifth set tiebreaker.
“We came back and we fought,” Sano said. “With that two-point lead we had for most of the fourth set, I felt like we had a pretty good shot.”
But Coast Union responded with five straight points, including Lorenz’s championship-winning serve, which deflected off the Coastal Christian defense and out of bounds, clinching the title for the Broncos.
“It was just an amazing feeling,” Lorentz said. “As a senior, this was my first and last opportunity to win a CIF championship. It is so great that I’m here now to experience this.”
In the regular season, each team swept the other on their home court and finished with an 11-1 record in league play, with Coastal Christian taking league championship honors.
It was the first time two Coast Valley League opponents faced each other in the CIF-Southern Section Division 5A championship.