The Fresno City College women's volleyball team is going to its first-ever state championship final after shocking No. 1-ranked and South top seed Grossmont, 26-24, 25-19, 25-23, Saturday evening at Pierce College. The CCCAA State Championship semifinals sweep is part of a remarkable Rams' run of sets as they have won 50 of their last 51 dating back to Sept. 24. Their winning streak is at 22 in a row.
"We just do us," said first-year Fresno head coach Kieran Roblee. "We're a very balanced team. We run our 6-2 offense and it allows us to open up our offense. We have two very smart setters and their decision making this year has been a big factor. Grossmont played some great defense, especially the libero who was phenomenal. Jenna Goldsberry has been a big hitter for us and Maykayla Cervantes is kind of a kid that goes under the radar but is a go-to steady player."
Cervantes scored a team-high 11 kills with two aces while Goldsberry added nine kills. Sydney Molander and Riley Winden (.318) each made eight kills. Setter Sidney Rigby added 21 assists and nine digs while second setter Ally Cooper tacked on 12 assists, two aces and five digs. Breanne Dubberke totaled 15 digs and seven assists.
In the opening set, Fresno (29-1) had nine ties and four lead changes, but Grossmont held set point at 24-23 on a kill by Hannah Doonan. The Rams responded with an overpass kill by Goldsberry, an ace by Rigby and then another kill by Goldsberry that turned the momentum Fresno's way with a 1-0 sets lead.
In set 2, Fresno never trailed but only led 11-10 before going on a 7-2 run. The Rams would finish off a 6-point, set 2 victory on a Griffins' service error. In the third set, again Fresno never trailed, although Grossmont fought back from a 13-7 deficit to tie at 17-17. A Molander kill and a ballhandling mistake by Grossmont gave Fresno match point at 24-20. Griffins' reserve Savannah Bibbs-Bailey scored two kills and Doonan nailed an ace that cut the lead to one. But it was All-State middle hitter Kylie O'Keefe ripping a kill to cap the Rams' stunning sweep at 25-23.
For Grossmont, libero Gionni Brown put on a clinic with 21 digs and a bevy of amazing saves on diving plays. Alana Wilson-Reid scored nine kills (hit .500) in 18 attempts while Doonan made seven kills. Hannah Miller served four aces with four kills. All-American setter Lauren West passed out 26 assists.
Fresno ended Grossmont's 19-match win streak. The Griffins (27-2) officially placed in a tie for third at this state tourney. They did the same two years ago at Cabrillo College. With Fresno's win, it takes at least bragging rights as the North's top team after top North seed Cabrillo was eliminated in the quarterfinals by El Camino. Pierce and El Camino were playing Saturday night in the other semifinal to determine Fresno's opponent on Sunday at 2 p.m.