Mira Costa sophomore Sydney Donahue rose high above the net, poised for the kill. But her contact point was too high and the ball flew long, resulting in a point for Scripps Ranch in the opening round of the Southern California Div. II Regionals Tuesday evening.
That was the last mistake Donahue or the rest of her teammates would make on the night. Serving tough, passing well, setting perfectly, hitting with no impeding block and using superior height to block Falcon attacks, Mira Costa showed why it is the No. 24 team in the country, scoring a resounding 15-1, 15-3, 15-5 win in less than an hour.
Every Mustang played well. From Donahue's six straight service points to turn around the 1-0 deficit, to Brooke Phillips' cross-court kill to Renee Lopes' smash off the block, Costa eased to the 15-1 win in Game 1.
In Game 2, it was an entirely different cast of characters stepping in to pound the Falcons, the San Diego section Div. II runner-up. Renee Siemak and Caitlin Grunbok were strong on attack, Natalie Zar served a passel of points and contributed a back row kill and 6-foot-3 Hilary Stromath was a huge presence in the middle, contributing block after resounding block and making no mistake on the slide.
Meghan Sullivan, Keegan Featherstone, Teryn Spragg and Jessica Veris all had their moments in Game 3, as did Lopes who served seven straight including three aces to help the Mustangs build a 12-2 lead, before Scripps Ranch scored three consecutive points to make the score respectable.
Through it all was the flawless setting of Nora Pirzynski, who managed to find the uncovered attacker for easy kills all night long.
"The passing was there," the Arizona-State bound senior explained. "It makes it a lot easier to set."
The match marked the end of a fabulous prep career for setter/right side/middle blocker Ashley Davidson. The tall redhead didn't conclude her career in the fashion she would have liked, but she said the loss wouldn't dampen what her team accomplished this year.
"I'll remember all the good stuff," said Davidson, who will play at Columbia next year. "We went to the CIF-San Diego section finals. That was a great way to end my senior year."
Mira Costa advances to play a 7 p.m. home game Saturday night versus the winner of Newport Harbor or Bakersfield Liberty.