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Girls' Volleyball: Sage Hill remains believer

Lightning use 19 aces and strong passing to sweep at San Dimas and advance to Division 3A quarterfinals.

November 14, 2013|By Steve Virgen
(Dave Siegmund )

SAN DIMAS — As the players from the Sage Hill School girls' volleyball team pounded kills and aces, a proud father sat in the stands holding up a sign with one word at San Dimas High on Thursday night.

Billy Whitford held it up above his head, "Believe," a word that is usually reserved for the underdog, but it certainly applies to the highly regarded Lightning.

Sage Hill believes it can live up to its No. 1 seeding in the CIF Southern Section Division 3A playoffs. The Lightning (23-5) took one step closer with a 25-19, 25-11, 25-10 second-round victory over the Saints.

Whitford's daughter, Kekai, helped with the effort, recording 11 kills and eight digs, as Sage Hill advanced to the quarterfinals. The Lightning won the pre-match coin toss and will play host to Templeton Saturday at 7 p.m. Templeton defeated Loma Linda Academy in five sets Thursday night.

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"It's my Grandma's sign; she wasn't able to come tonight," Kekai Whitford said of her grandmother, Corki. "[Believe], that's kind of our motto this year, believing in each other, believing each point, even though we are on the road. It's kind of our mentality."

Corki will most likely be there Saturday night at Sage Hill's gym, also known as "the Uebe," named after Peter Ueberroth. Kekai Whitford wants her Grandma to follow her all the way to the championship.

Kekai Whitford, a junior outside hitter, said the Sage Hill girls believe they can reach the championship match and capture the crown.

"But we take it step-by-step," she said. "We don't want to get ahead of ourselves. But we believe it and we work our butts off in practice. We want to get there."

The Lightning, the Academy League co-champions, showed their determination in each set. The Saints (12-8), the Valle Vista League champions, gained a bit of momentum in the first set, but Sage Hill dominated for the most part.

San Dimas went on a 7-0 run in the first set to rally from a 19-10 deficit. But the Lightning finished the set by outscoring the Saints, 6-2.

Sage Hill opened the second set with a 6-0 lead and the second set with an 11-0 advantage. The Lightning used a strong passing game and were impressive with their serve to overpower the Saints.

Senior Allie Mowrey led the way with 11 of Sage Hill's 19 aces. The libero also had five digs. Maddy Abbott, Sage Hill's junior setter, amassed 32 assists and four aces.

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