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CdM sweeps again

Girls' Volleyball

Sea Kings handle Marlborough to post 23rd sweep this season and cruise into CIF I-A quarterfinals on Saturday.

November 10, 2011|By Barry Faulkner

CORONA DEL MAR — For Coach Marissa Booker and her Corona del Mar High girls' volleyball team, the backslide is both friend and foe.

First, there is the backslide play, a back set to a curling middle blocker who jumps off one leg and, against most teams, avoids the shell-shocked blockers who are locked up by the unconventional approach.

But there is another meaning, the one that coaches secretly fear — the lapse in attitude that can occur when focus loses a foothold against the grind of a long season.

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The Sea Kings (29-3), seeded No. 2 in CIF Southern Section Division I-A, appeared to be on the favorable side of both definitions Thursday, as they swept aside visiting Marlborough, 25-16, 25-16, 25-17, in a second-round playoff match.

CdM, in pursuit of its first section title since 2004, will face either El Dorado or Upland in the Division I-A quarterfinals on Saturday.

The Pacific Coast League champion Sea Kings received a match-high 15 kills from 6-foot-3 junior outside hitter Grace Kennedy and 33 assists from junior setter Kelsey Humphreys to dominate Marlborough (12-7), the second-place team from the Sunshine League.

CdM senior middle blocker Britton Taylor had eight kills, five of which came on the aforementioned backslide.

"That is definitely something our team runs very well," said Booker, in her first season at the helm after guiding the Vanguard University team the previous three seasons. "I like to push that play, because, as a player, it was my all-time favorite play. I like our setters to push our middles to do that, because it is something that a lot of [defenses] don't see."

While Booker was generally pleased with her team's performance, which created its 23rd victory by sweep this season and upped its set advantage to 81-10, she said there was some evidence of the negative backslide she is anxious to leave behind as the playoffs veer toward the quarterfinals.

"We had a lot of unforced errors,' said Booker, whose team missed 11 serves and had four hitting errors. "We need to focus on serving and passing. That's going to be our focus the next couple of days. If we are serving and passing, good things happen."

Hayley Hodson, a 6-2 freshman outside hitter, had seven kills, while senior middle blocker Chrissy Watson and sophomore outside hitter Jules Pouch had four kills apiece to help add to the Sea Kings' good things against the visitors from Los Angeles.

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