It's Another Sweep for Harvard-Westlake

Leading 12-11 in Game 3 of the California Div. III state title match, Harvard-Westlake senior middle blocker Courtney Schultz had a reflective moment. "I thought, ‘Come on guys! Three more points and that's it,'" the four-year starter said. "And then I thought, "‘Three more points. That's it in high school.'" Then, she tugged at her jersey, swished her long blonde hair and led her team to victory.

The Stanford-bound All-American stopped a Lion run with a kill, setting up a block for a point by Veronica Hool. Schultz killed again to get a side out and another to get Harvard to match point. Then she stepped behind the line to serve.

"I just wanted the ball in," Schultz explained. "I didn't care if it was a lollipop serve. I just wanted to serve it in and let the blockers do what they do."

When El Molino star hitter Amanda Fox's swing found the net, the celebration, albeit muted, was on.

The win, 15-12, 15-11, 15-12, over El Molino of Forestville, was Harvard-Westlake's second straight state title. And while the Wolverines were in control throughout, El Molino, which fell quickly and quietly to Harvard-Westlake, 15-6, 15-6, in an August match in Hawaii, made them work for it.

"This one feels really good because it was more of a match," Schultz said, referring to Harvard's easy sweep in last year's state final over Los Gatos.

"It was nice to work up a sweat," added Karalyn Kuchenbecker,

Harvard-Westlake never trailed in the first two games. And every time El Molino tried to make it close, whether on a nice jump serve by Crystal Mattich or a powerful Fox kill, the Wolverines always had an answer. In the first game, it was momentum-turning aces by Alex Dunphy and Justine Davidson. In the second, it was Terbrie Taylor with big kills in the middle and Kuchenbecker pounding away on the outside.

In Game 3, El Molino was the team taking control early, thanks to two kills from Fox. But Harvard (21-2) came back, taking the lead, 8-7, when Kuchenbecker blocked an overpass for a point. The lead grew to 11-7, before a Fox kills brought El Molino to within 13-12. That's when Schultz decided to end it.

Fox had 18 kills to lead El Molino (29-5), but she also made 15 errors.

"The first two games, we were still not believing we belonged," said Lion coach Bear Grassl. "The longer we played, we found that we were sticking with them. But we played the uniforms as we much as we played the girls today."

Schultz had 17 kills, 10 digs and served two aces to garner MVP honors for the second straight year. Taylor had 13 kills while Kuchenbecker and Davidson added nine apiece.

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