Chino Hills, CA- The Regents encountered a battle-ready Chino Hills squad earlier this evening who put an end to St. Lucy's heretofore perfect season. Both teams had already wrapped up a CIF bid so this match was to determine whether Lucy's would be the sole Sierra League Champion (coming in with a 9-0 record) or whether they would have to share the title with Chino Hills (whose only loss was to the Regents when they played at St. Lucy's). It only took three sets for the Huskies to answer that question. Chino Hills won 25-21, 25-19 and 25-19.
Set one started out business as usual for the Regents. They were out to a four point lead, up 8-4, when Chino Hills called time out. The Huskies closed the lead to get within one point, when Megan Buzzario interfered with Juliet McClure's set to turn the ball over. The Regents pushed the lead back up 14- 10, but could not maintain a consistent level of play. Loryn Carter made an impressive block and straight down kill to respond to Buzzario's attack that likewise careened straight down. Up 19-17 with the ball, things looked promising for the Regents. Then the service error. Then the blocked hit attempt. Then the hit into the net. Then the missed tip. Then the net violation. St. Lucy's gave up game one 25-21.
Set two started out fairly evenly. Roni LaPierre floated an ace deep to knot the score at 3. But then the Regents appeared to lose their focus. Two consecutive balls dropped between players and there seemed to be general confusion about assignments. The Regents were chasing the dogs from that point on. Chino Hills was in total control, up by six, when St. Lucy's watched a very playable serve float in for an ace, and Coach Douglas gathered his team around trailing 17-10. The Regents began to play stronger, trading points, but not making up enough ground. The set ended with Buzzario tooling the block on a back row attack for set point, and then a double hit call against St. Lucy's for the set: Chino Hills 25, St. Lucy's 19.
It was do or die time for the Regents. The pattern that evolved was for the Regents to fall a point or two behind, catch up, make a mistake, and repeat. The set was tied 3-3, Regent service error. Tied 6-6, Regent service error. Tied 8-8, Regent hitting error, followed by a blocked shot, followed by a shanked pass, followed by a Regent time out trailing 12-8. Around mid set, the Regents made a final threat. Carter crushed a ball off of the block to cut the lead to 5, 16-11. LaPierre served an ace to cut the lead to 4, 16 -12. LaPierre rolled the next one from the back court to the hole in the middle of the Huskies, 16-13. Carter put another one off of the block, 16-14. But then the Regents touched an overpass that was on it's way out of bounds and that was the end of the St. Lucy run. The Regents never got any closer, eventually succumbing the the Huskies on a swing and miss of an overpass and an attack attempt sent wide. The Huskies grabbed their share of the Sierra title with the 25-19 victory.
Tonight's Regent leaders were Roni LaPierre with 3 aces and 10 kills, Loryn Carter with 1 block and 10 kills, Sydney Bast with 9 digs and 7 kills and Juliet McClure with 27 assists.
St. Lucy's is to be congratulated on a fantastic season. The Regents finish the regular season as Sierra League Champions for the sixth year in a row and will move on to the post season playoffs. CIF playoffs begin next Tuesday and the pairings will be released on Saturday, November 9th at 12:30. And don't get too discouraged over tonight's loss. In 2010 the Regents lost in three to the Huskies at Chino Hills. In 2011, the Regents lost in three to the Huskies at Chino Hills. Both of those years, the Regents won CIF. I'm just sayin...