Exeter takes University Prep Panthers to five sets in Division IV CIF State Championship loss; retain Southern California Regional State Championship honors
EXETER – The Monarchs were forced to reconcile with heart breaking defeat on Saturday, when they fell to the University Prep Panthers in the CIF Division IV State Championship. But still, Exeter earned the right to be there after sweeping through the southern California competition.
Exeter punched their ticket into the state championship game after sending the Capistrano Valley Christian, Eagles packing last Tuesday night, Nov. 16. The jubilation of the regional win was made all the sweeter after Exeter stood strong in light of dropping their first set early, and came back to win the next three.
While it felt good to win on her birthday, Tiara Daly said her sole motivation was to just come out with a victory .
But Daly didn’t do it alone, Hannah Baker had the crowd on the edge of their seats the whole night. She had the most attack plays of the game. She was, “really excited for this win because no sport has been able to come this far in a long time.”
Haven Rich was also a very aggressive player in tonight’s game having a high “kill” count throughout the night. “To be honest there are no words. I’m very excited for Saturday. I’m very happy” Rich shared after the game.
Coach Samantha Hilvers couldn’t be prouder of her group of girls. When asked about the team’s effort last night she explained that, “they played all out. They left it all out on the court, and even if they lost they played with their hearts and aggression.”
In Hilvers eyes, the turning point of the game was when the girls started to calm down after set one and began to play with confidence. The girls beat San Juan Capistrano Christian 3-1 and every set was close. In set one, they fell short by just two points but we’re putting up a good fight on the defensive side.
Once the girls settled down after the first set they started to trust that they had each other’s backs. They started playing longer rallies, blocking the ball more and digging the ball up so one of their teammates could spike it into one of the empty spots on the other side of the court.
For set three the San Juan Capistrano Christian girls were putting up a fight leading to the longest rallies. Many of the Monarchs’ kills were coming from Rich and Jayla Iverson. The final set brought aggression in both teams. San Juan had to win this set to stay in the game or the Monarchs would take the win. Both teams were on high alert.
The Monarchs had many key blocks in this set to protect their lead. On both sides of the court, the tension was high. All anyone could hear was both student sections yelling and screaming waiting to see what would happen next.
The fourth set was close and but aside from a long game filled with extended sets, the final serve was a quick rally, bump, set and spike to end the game.
The crowd exhaled in the form of cheers as they celebrated with the Monarchs on their home court.