Canyon Crest Academy coach Ariel Haas insists his team’s identity isn’t defined by the deep playoff runs.
“It’s another opportunity to test ourselves,” said. “That’s how we envision it.”
But these days his Ravens don’t have to envision anything: They’re sixth straight state playoff appearance has them in the Southern California regional finals.
The Ravens advanced to the regional finals after defeating Chadwick of Palos Verdes 3-0 (25-22, 25-23, 25-20) in the Division II regional semifinals on Nov. 28. They were scheduled to play Village Christian of Sun Valley (Los Angeles County) on Dec. 1.
Oregon-bound Jolie Rasmussen led the Ravens with 14 kills and Evelyn Gonzalez added nine kills.
Olivia Lovenberg had 22 assists and Kalie Wood contributed 17 digs.
Middle hitters Whitley Ballard and Olivia Schewe were key factors too, Haas said.
“Our middles really contributed,” Haas said of Ballard and Schewe. “They were offensive weapons.”
And these days the Ravens are taking advantage of all their weapons.
“Everyone who played did well,” Haas said. “We’ve kind of been playing like that for a month or so. We’ve really been playing pretty well.”
The victory followed a 3-0 (25-21, 25-13, 25-9) quarterfinal win over Carson on Nov. 24 in which Schewe and Rasmussen each had six kills to lead the Ravens. Hannah Martin and Ashley Sung each contributed five kills.
The Ravens are making their second appearance in the regional finals. The last time they made it this far was in 2010, standout Samantha Cash’s senior year.
But the Ravens were a plucky upstart five years ago. Now they’re an established program with some tradition behind them.
And they’ve bought into the unselfish brand of volleyball Haas preaches.
“I think the biggest thing is that we’re very balanced and we’re very selfless,” Haas said. “It’s kind of like nobody really wants the limelight. Everybody wants those around them to be successful and they’re very supportive of each other.”
The Ravens are the only program at CCA that’s played in a regional final in any sport. They hope to become the first team to play for a state championship on Saturday (Dec. 5).
“It’s exciting,” Haas said. “We’re constantly trying to build and get better as coaches and players and as a program overall so having success is a nice indicator, but I don’t know if we focus too much on this being some kind of reflection on the program. I think we focus in on this is a nice opportunity for ourselves to improve ourselves to see if we are getting better.”
The Ravens improved to 30-7 overall for the season.
Torrey Pines’ amazing run is over.
The top-ranked team in the state according to MaxPreps.com lost to Redondo Union 3-1(25-19, 23-25, 25-20, 25-17) in the semifinals on Nov. 28.
The loss snapped a 28-match winning streak that went back to Sept. 19.
Redondo Union is ranked fifth in the state by MaxPreps.com
Savvy Simo had 19 kills in defeat for Torrey Pines and Jillian Strockis added 13 kills.
Brynn Chandler contributed 24 assists and Kiara McNulty added 19 assists.
The loss followed a 3-0 (25-8, 25-11, 25-16) victory over El Camino Real of Woodland Hills on Nov. 24 in which Simo led the Falcons with 10 kills. Alexis Fillipone and Emily Fitzner added nine and eight kills, respectively.
Chandler and McNulty had 21 and 15 assists, respectively.
The Falcons fell to 35-2 overall for the season.
Cathedral Catholic lost to Helix 42-14 in the Open Division semifinals on Nov. 27.
The Dons fell to 7-5 overall for the season.
La Costa Canyon placed second in the Division III State Cross Country Championships at Woodward Park in Fresno on Nov. 28.
The Mavericks were led by McKenna Brown, who ran the 3.1-mile course in 17 minutes and 56.1 seconds.
Brown placed 10th overall individually.
LCC’s Kristin Fahy (18:19.0) placed 20th individually. Mavericks teammates Rachel Ereso (18:39.6) and Riley Prohaska (18:41.2) placed 29th and 30th, respectively.
LCC placed fourth and Cathedral took seventh place in the Division III boys’ heat.
LCC’s Joshua Litwiller (15:19.3) placed fourth. Cathedral Catholic’s Joaquin Martinez de Pinillos (15:29.0) placed seventh and LCC’s Bryan Johnson (15:30.4) placed ninth.