NEWPORT BEACH – Sage Hill’s girls volleyball team swept Crean Lutheran 25-18, 25-17, 25-15 Saturday to advance to the semifinals of the CIF Southern California Division II Regionals.
The Lightning will play No. 1 seed Sierra Canyon of Chatsworth in the semifinals Tuesday night, Nov. 21, at Sierra Canyon High.
Sydnee Francis was dominant serving the ball for No. 5 seed Sage Hill (26-9). The junior had five aces in the match, including four consecutive aces in the first set.
“Those aces certainly helped,” Sage Hill coach Dan Thomassen said. “We know that serving is one of our strengths. We are committed to serving tough. That’s our game.”
Amiyah De’long had a game-high 14 kills for Sage and sophomore opposite Danielle Beder had eight kills.
“Dani (Beder) had one of her best matches of the season blocking and attacking,” Thomassen said. “Our outsides came through with big kills tonight and got better and better as the match kept going.”
Sage Hill had beaten Crean Lutheran twice this season in Academy League games this season, but Crean played the league-champion Lightning tough both times. The Saints took Sage to five sets in the teams’ second meeting of the season.
“We went undefeated in league and Crean were our toughest matches,” Thomassen said. “That last match reminded us that we had to bring our best game to win tonight.”
Crean Lutheran (22-10) swept Santa Fe Christian after suffering a tough loss to Santa Monica in the CIF-SS Division 4 playoffs, but ran into a Sage team that played an excellent game Saturday.
“I have to tip my cap to Sage. They are very well-coached and played a great game,” Crean Lutheran coach Eric Olson said. “We played a very good game as well, but not good enough to get Sage off their game.”
Lauren Sinclair had a team-high 8 kills and 14 digs for Crean. Sinclair and sophomore outside hitter Grace Colburn are two of Crean’s top players and both are returning next season.
“Both of those girls…