Gavilan College's first trip to the CCCAA State Women's Volleyball Championship nearly turned into a Cinderella story as South No. 1 seed and state No. 1-ranked Grossmont outlasted the Rams in four hard sets, 25-21, 24-26, 30-28, 25-19, at Pierce College Saturday morning.
Gavilan (23-7), the North No. 4 seed, immediately gave the Griffins problems, especially with key rallies late in sets. After Grossmont took set 1, the Griffins seemingly had Gavilan on the ropes at set point, 24-22. The Rams, though, responded with a 4-0 run capped by Haley Leifheit's ace for a 26-24 set victory, tying the match at 1-1.
In a marathon set 3, Grossmont again held a set point at 24-22 and Gavilan roared back to take leads of 26-25 and 27-26 on a kill by Elizabeth Pearce. This time, the Griffins showed some resiliency. A kill at the net by Lauren West regained Grossmont's lead and an attack error allowed Grossmont to win the game, 30-28 and take a 2-1 sets lead.
In set 4, Grossmont's Robyn Arthur scored four of her match-high 20 kills (hit .441) as the Griffins built a 19-12 lead. Gavilan fought off two match points, but Hannah Doonan pounded a kill to give Grossmont the victory at 25-19.
"All you want is a chance to win it, and we came in showing heart and effort," said a proud Gavilan head coach Kevin Kramer. "Grossmont outblocked us, outhit us, but we kept coming back. We gave them all we could. It was a tremendous season for Gavilan volleyball."
Grossmont head coach Jamie Ivers said: "We seemed to outplay them, outhit them on the scoresheet, but we gave up points late in each set. We looked shaky on serve receive and Gavilan did a great job of blocking. Robyn Arthur stepped up for us and so did Alana Wilson-Reid, more so in the latter part of the sets. We need to play better in the semis."
Wilson-Reid hit .571 without an attack error (12 kills in 21 attempts) and added five blocks. West dished out 49 assists with four kills, Gionni Brown made 23 digs, and Hannah Doonan scored 12 kills. Gavilan was paced by Erica Chapa with six kills and 31 assists, Madison Hartman with 14 kills, and Pearce with 12 kills.
Grossmont (27-1) will face the winner of North No. 2 Fresno City v. South No. 3 Cypress at 5 p.m. in the state semifinals.