Harvard-Westlake Dominant in Section Win

When Harvard-Westlake and Bishop Montgomery first met early in the regular season, the Knights took the defending state Div. III champs from North Hollywood to five games before falling in a tense girls volleyball match. But tonight, with a CIF-Southern Section Div. III-A title at stake, Harvard-Westlake was in no mood to repeat that early season scare.

Playing only six girls the entire night, the Wolverines steamrolled through an overmatched Bishop team, 15-3, 15-5, 15-3, in a match that lasted less than 45 minutes.

After outside hitter Justine Davidson's kill caromed off the block for the match-winning point, it was hard to make sense of the total destruction that occurred. Each coach had a different perspective.

"We just struggled," said Bishop Montgomery coach Kim Willeman. "We came out flat. We played so hard against Corona del Mar [in the semifinals], maybe we gave it all there. But that's an excuse. To me, we just did not play at all. We just gave them the game, that's all there is to it. Mistake after mistake after mistake."

"We were on fire," said Harvard-Westlake coach Jess Quiroz. "That's the best we've ever played. We're really coming together. We played incredible defense. I think we let only one or two balls hit the floor all night. It was just a good, all around effort by all six players on the court tonight."

Take nothing away from Harvard-Westlake (17-2). The Wolverines played well. Courtney Schultz, back from a back injury that sidelined her for a couple of weeks, and Terbrie Taylor dominated the middle against the smaller Knights, blocking at will and usually hitting without being hindered by a block.

But, Bishop (19-7) was clearly off its game. Jamie Crawford, who may have the toughest jump serve in California, missed her first three serves. She was not the only Knight who couldn't find the court with her serve. The back row often was caught flat-footed, which led to a handful of shanked serves for points. And Bishop's young setter struggled, forcing Bishop into too many errors to compete against a seasoned Wolverine team.

Both teams now await the state tournament that begins Tuesday. Harvard-Westlake will undoubtedly be the top seed and earn home court advantage. Bishop, on the other hand, will have to take to the road and hope for another shot against Harvard-Westlake one week hence and a chance at redemption.

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