The fans who packed Dos Pueblos High’s gym to see the high-powered Charger girls volleyball team Tuesday night were doubly rewarded they saw two high-powered teams.
It was the visiting Newport Harbor Sailors who won their all-out slam fest for the Division 1 championship of all Southern California, 23-25, 25-16, 25-20, 18-25, 15-10.
Katey Thompson, who will attend UCSB next year, was a tower of power for Newport Harbor. The 6’1″ middle blocker had 25 kills in the match. She scored the last two points on a spike and a block.
The Sailors will face Northern California champion Salinas for the state title Saturday at UC Irvine, but as far as Thompson was concerned, they beat the best team in their division Tuesday. “This is the state championship,” she declared as families and friends swarmed around the players after the two-hour match.
Newport Harbor (31-6) has won 10 consecutive matches since being swept by Dos Pueblos at the Santa Barbara High tournament on October 31. The Sailors were mindful of that sweep.
“We came out with an extra edge,” Thompson said. “We went after them. We wanted to pound them.”
The pounding was loudest in the third game, when Newport jumped out to a shocking 8-0 lead. It was 16-5 when sophomore Taylor Racich put some life back in the Chargers, and even though they lost the set 25-20, they had gained some momentum. Early in the fourth game, DP senior Carly Wopat whacked a ball off a Newport player’s face, and that set the tone for the win that sent the match into a deciding fifth game to 15 points.
Newport Harbor was the steadier team in the final game. The Chargers committed several hitting errors and misplays. “We kept the pressure on them,” Thompson said.
Even though it ended in disappointment, DP’s season was magnificent. The Chargers went 32-3 their only other losses were to unbeaten Archbishop Mitty, a Division 2 team that is recognized as the nation’s best and they rolled to the CIF Southern Section Division 1A championship.
Perhaps the greatest tribute to the Goleta girls was the mass of humanity in Sovine Gym on Tuesday night all 1,400 seats occupied and a “Sold Out” sign on the door.
Among the spectators was UCSB coach Kathy Gregory, who beamed approvingly at Thompson’s performance. Asked what she will bring to the Gauchos next year, the Newport star said, “Energy and speed.”