Harbor High's Carly Craig tries to hit the ball past two Sacred Heart Prep blockers during the third game of their match Saturday at Independence High in San Jose. (Glenn Cravens/Register-Pajaronian)
SAN JOSE Ė The Harbor High girls volleyball team was denied a Central Coast Section Division IV championship on Saturday, as it lost to Sacred Heart Prep in four games at Independence High School.
The Pirates fell 25-17, 25-23, 21-25, 25-23 as they were going for their sixth CCS championship and first since 1994.
Harbor, the top seed in the bracket, was back in the finals for the first time since 2006 trying to become the second team in the county in as many years to win a CCS title.
Sacred Heart sought to make the match a quick outing. While the Gators put the vice grip on Harbor in the first game, they had to fight back in the second to take control.
Harbor broke a 10-10 tie with a four-point spurt to take a 14-10 advantage. It held the lead thanks to kills from Kelsey Shaver, Carly Craig and Molly Tobin. Sacred Heart didnít go away, with its defense preventing Harborís outside hitters from getting even more kills than it did.
Sacred Heart pulled even at 20-20 with a tip by Sonia Abuel-Saud and a block by Payton Smith. Then came an ace from Helen Gannon, and the Gators suddenly had the lead and a load of momentum.
Harbor won three of the next four points to take a 23-22 lead. It turned to Shaver for a block and a kill, and it also got a block in the middle from Patrice Williams.
On the ropes, Sacred Heart dug out a couple of kill attempts, including one by Gannon that was one-handed. Sacred Heart turned it into a kill by Abuel-Saud and pulled into a 23-23 tie.
The kill was enough to turn the tide the Gatorsí way. Abuel-Saud got another kill to put them on game point. Harbor couldnít get the ball over on a kill attempt, and the Gators had a two-game lead.
If that wasnít enough, the Pirates went back on the court for the third game and, within about two minutes, faced a 7-1 deficit that soon became 11-3.
It looked to be a wrap, but Harbor began its march back to par in the third game. It ran off four points to close to within 11-7 and later had a 5-1 run to tie the game at 18-18. Tobin got back-to-back kills in that run.
But Harbor couldnít quite get over the mountain. It finally did thanks to an ace by Breeanna Calhoun. Her ace started a five-point run that gave Harbor the lead for good.
Harborís rush of adrenaline from winning the third game? Gone within a couple of minutes as the fourth game started.
Again, Sacred Heart stormed out to a 7-1 lead. Again, Harbor rallied back to tie later in the contest. There were six ties in the fourth game, the latest being 21-21 when Sacred Heartís Victoria Garrick got a sideline kill.
Sacred Heart strung together two more points to grab a 23-21 advantage. Both teams traded points, putting the Gators on the brink of the title. But the serve went into the net, giving Harbor a chance. The Piratesí ensuing serve went too far, and the celebration began.
The championship is Sacred Heartís 13th overall and first since 2010. It has been to the finals for four consecutive seasons, going 3-1. Its lone loss in that stretch was last yearís defeat at the hands of Soquel.
For the complete article see the 11-20-2012 issue.
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