Sports

Lady Highlanders sweep Sunny Hills, win fourth straight

La Habra outside hitter Corinne Bell, shown serving against Sonora earlier this season, led the Lady Highlanders with 13 kills against Sunny Hills.

by Nathan Percy
La Habra Journal

Finishing up perhaps the most crucial set of games in its league schedule, the La Habra girls’ volleyball team put it all together in a 3-0 sweep of Sunny Hills, Thursday night at La Habra High.

The defense was again scrappy, the offense was more fluid and La Habra won the first two sets rather easily before Sunny Hills (16-11, 3-4) put up a big challenge in the third set. The Lady Highlanders put it away 25-14, 25-16, 25-21.

The win was La Habra’s fourth consecutive in Freeway League play.

“I’m happy that they performed the way that we expected them to,” said Adrianne Spear, La Habra head coach. “They brought over that energy from the Fullerton game [Tuesday] and everything was working tonight.”

Corinne Bell led the way with 13 kills, while Lexi Kolschefski added eight. Ashly Hernandez tallied 31 assists as the team’s primary setter.

But once again, it was the Lady Highlander’s defense that made the biggest impact, allowing only a handful of tipped balls to fall.

In addition, La Habra (9-13, 5-2) committed just one service error throughout the three-set match.

“It’s awesome to feel like all the coaches are on the same page,” Spear said about the improvements on defense. “We’re training the kids the same way and it’s working for us. It’s something that needed to happen and I’m excited that it is taking place, not only this year, but for the lower levels coming up too.”

Sunny Hills countered with a pair of setters in Erin Gonzalez and Emily Ortega, who finished with 15 assists each.

Outside hitters Hannah Warner and Sophia Holms led the Lady Lancers with 13 and 12 kills respectively.

The two teams traded points to start before La Habra pulled away to an 8-4 lead.

Midway through the set, Hernandez threw Sunny Hills off guard by spreading the ball to four different hitters. The defense helped set up plenty of points as La Habra cruised to an early lead.

While Hernandez’ assist total didn’t increase in the second set, the quality of her sets were improved as Kolschefski and Bell combined for some monster kills.

“Lexi is doing an excellent job holding the blockers because they’re focusing on her, so we’re getting one-on-one situations on the outsides, which really helps,” Spear said. “And Corinne is a quick player, she’s explosive and when she gets a good set, it’s done.”

Warner and Holms countered with four kills each in the second set, but the Lady Lancers were slowed by errors as attacks sailed long and La Habra blocked a handful of others.

But the third set was by far the most competitive, as the Lady Lancers pushed to extend the match.

The Lady Lancers made a slight push to extend a lead to 11-7, but La Habra reeled it in to tie 12-12.

Both teams battled until the Lady Highlanders pulled away late. The momentum took a turn in La Habra’s favor when Spear argued a call of a net violation against her team and got the call reversed.

That call made the score 20-17 in favor of the Lady Highlanders. They would finish the sweep shortly thereafter.

“That turnover point was a huge break for us,” Spear said. “We would have been in a bit of trouble if that hadn’t been overruled. It’s nice to take these four games, but I’m still concerned with Sonora. These girls know they can’t afford to lose anything and they’re playing like they know it needs to happen now.”

La Habra takes its four game Freeway League winning streak into another big matchup with Troy on the road, Tuesday night.

The win keeps La Habra in second place behind the Lady Warriors.

“If we play the way we’re playing now, we can take a game or possibly a match,” Spear said. “It’s going to be tough, but I think we’re capable of doing it. If we catch them off guard, that would be great, but if not, all I want is for them to play their best and I’ll be happy with that.”

Started in 1995, the La Habra Journal is an independent community news source serving the cities of La Habra and La Habra Heights.