A dominant performance by Eliana Urzua boosted the Bishop Diego girls’ volleyball team to 25-15, 25-16, 26-24 victory over Mary Star of the Sea in a CIF-SS division five first round match on Thursday night at the Brick House.
Coming off a CIF championship in division seven last season the Cardinals will face stiffer competition in division five and that was certainly the case with visiting Stars as they won 20 games in the regular season.
“New division, yes, but Eliana is still Eliana, I’ll take her into battle wherever we’re going and she’s not going to bow down to anybody,” said Bishop Diego coach Dillan Bennett. “Yes, it is a new challenge and yes, this was a challenging first round opponent, who had a really tough league schedule.”
Urzua finished with 21 kills, three blocks and four digs. Her sister, Siena Urzua chipped in seven kills and 18 digs. Bishop Diego setter Sage Thorne-Thomsen spread the ball around admirably, which opened up attacking opportunities for Eliana Urzua in key moments.
“It’s been a little bit of a roller coaster, this is the first game in a while that I’ve set in a five-one,” Thorne-Thomsen said. “I’m glad I could pull it off tonight and everybody did really well.”
In the first set, Bishop Diego jumped out to a 5-0 lead and never let the Stars get close. An ace serve by Thorne-Thomsen gave the Cardinals a 24-15 lead and Mary Start of the Sea hitting error moments later gave Bishop Diego a 1-0 set lead.
Set two followed a similar pattern with Bishop Diego taking a 9-0 lead on a cross-court spike by Eliana Urzua. The Stars made a push to cut their deficit to 19-13 on a kill by Sunni Skipps, but that’s as they would get. Siena Urzua clinched set two for Bishop Diego with a powerful spike.
Skipps battled in defeat for Mary Star of the Sea and finished with a match-high 25 kills.
Mary Star of the Sea fixed its slow starts in set three and took a 5-1 lead on a Skipps kill. Bishop Diego eventually evened the score at 15-15 on a spike by Eliana Urzua.
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A Mia Bazzani kill followed by a Bazzani ace serve put Bishop Diego ahead 18-16 and the Cardinals clinched the third set and the match when a Mary Star of the Sea block landed out of bounds. It was a controversial call that forced the officials to huddle before awarding the decisive point to Bishop Diego.
“We knew (Skipps) was the real deal,” Bennett said. “Luckily we served really well, luckily they couldn’t back set her the ball and luckily we had a ball dribble off the net to win 26-24 and we’re not still playing.
Bishop Diego will travel to Valencia High for a second round match on Saturday.
Santa Barbara 3, Burroughs of Burbank 0
The Dons defeated Burroughs 25-16, 25-12, 25-15 in the first round of the CIF-SS division four playoffs.
Shae Delany led the way with 10 kills, seven digs and an ace. Whitney Meister chipped in eight kills and Nicole Schuetz racked up 6 kills, two blocks and three aces.
Santa Barbara will play at Xavier Prep of Palm Desert on Saturday.
San Marcos 3 Hart 1
The third time was a charm for the Royals as Hart won the two regular season matchups between the two teams, but San Marcos emerged victorious when it mattered most.
Riley Green had one of her best matches of the year for San Marcos and finished with 17 kills, four blocks and 15 digs. Eloise McGibbon had ten kills and five blocks and setter Josie Gamberdella ran a tough offense.
San Marcos will take on either Palm Desert or ML King on Saturday.