The little team that could finally ran out of steam Tuesday night.
The Palm Springs High School volleyball team was derailed by Mayfield of Pasadena in a CIF Division 2-A semifinal. The No. 3-ranked Cubs sidetracked the Indians’ quest to appear in the first CIF title match under coach Gary Wilhoite with a 25-19, 25-18, 25-16 triumph.
Palm Springs Lose in CIF Semi
It ended an amazing run by a young Indians’ squad, which included an undefeated Desert Valley League season, a first Redlands East Valley Tourney title, a No. 7 ranking by CIF and an impressive 26-4 record.
The Prep League champs (24-1) took control from the start and never gave Palm Springs much of a chance.
“They were an all-around team and they were focused on defense,” said Indians’ senior Olivia Mediano of the balanced Cubs. “They have amazing defense. We talk about that all the time. We just couldn’t find their open holes.”
In Game 1 it was back and forth with both teams staying toe-to-toe, staying quick and covering the court. At 17-15 and Mayfield on serve, Kayla Beland rattled off a couple of points, Alex Tulleners chipped in at the net and Cailin Beadles was able to close it out with some scrambling saves to counter any chance of a sideout.
Palm Springs hit everything at them. Wilhoite pulled out every play in the book but the Cubs were there to combat almost every one.
“They were just determined to get the ball back over and we hit everything at them.,” said Wilhoite, who’s coached four teams into the CIF semifinals in his 15 seasons. “They picked up everything.
“Their libero was great. When we served her the ball it was a mistake. She got everything back. We just had no answers. They weren’t going to budge and they were stingy.”
Mayfield also played determined with not one player stepping into a starring role. The Cubs got points from Beadles, Lauren Baxter, and timely blocks from Natalie Johnson and Madison Forrest.
“They weren’t letting anything through,” said Wilhoite. “They (Palm Springs) played their guts out, played as hard as they could. It was their defense, it was great.”
Mayfield went up 5-0 in Game 2 and never let Palm Springs back in it. The Indians did trim it to two points at 9-7 on Michaela Hissam’s serve (also 22 digs), assists across the court from a constantly streaking Mary Lake (13 digs, 12 assists) and timely hits from Mediano (12 kills, 21 digs) and Meagan Anderson (seven kills). Asia O’Neil (eight kills) and Ashtyn Lyneis (seven assists, 10 digs) also chipped in along the way but the Cubs quietly pulled away.
At 6-5 in Game 3, Carisa Becerra and O’Neil combined on a block that would tie it, but from there it was all Mayfield.
Mayfield advances to Saturday’s title game at Santiago Canyon College against Whittier Christian. Whittier Christian defeated Troy 3-1.
Palm Springs closes the season as DVL champs, but Mediano noted that the seniors have left the Indians in good hands.
“I’m definitely proud of what we accomplished,” she said. “I’m sad now, but this was one of the best years I’ve played in. It was a building year and I know they learned so much so I’m ready to see them prosper.”
Added Wilhoite: “To get to this moment is a blessing. The team was fun, the leadership was fun. They journey’s been really fun. It’s been a fantastic season.”