June 15, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

Irvine gets past Woodbridge in five sets to capture Pacific Hills League title

Irvine captured the Pacific Hills League title this week. (Photo courtesy Irvine volleyball).

Irvine High School’s girls volleyball team defeated crosstown rival Woodbridge in five sets Wednesday to capture the championship of the Pacific Hills League.

Both teams are headed to the CIF playoffs that begin next week. CIF playoff pairings will be announced Saturday. Irvine is ranked third in this week’s CIF Division 4 poll.

The two teams came into the match tied for first place in the league with 4-1 records.

“Woodbridge got out to a hot start in games one and two, but I’m really proud of our girls and how they weathered the storm. They played with so much composure playing from behind,” said Irvine Coach Noel Nguyen. “We eventually lost 24-26 in game one, but we overcame the deficit 25-22 in game two.”

The third set was close but Irvine was able to overcome a 22-19 deficit to win 26-24.

“Our senior opposite, Rakshana Sasikumar, then got her chance to lead our response, as she served us back to a 23-22 lead,” Nguyen said. “We exchanged errors with Woodbridge for a few plays but a timely setter attack from Cozy Zimmerman and an ace from our junior middle blocker, Isabella Vaklev, sealed game three.”

In the fourth set, Woodbridge won 25-23.

“Game five was a defensive showcase by both teams,” Nguyen said. “Players on both sides were making fantastic defensive moves and scrapping very well to recover from being out of system.  We were tied eight times with four lead changes, and in the end, we ended up on top 15-13 with some critical offense from Anna Glebova and London Nettles and some tough serving from Rakshana Sasikumar and Cozy Zimmerman.”

Zimmerman was the assist leader with 36. Taylor Tran and Anna Glebova had 14 kills each, Sasikumar had six aces, Vaklev was the block leader with four and Maddie Kuan had 24 digs.

Katelyn Fogt served well and Bylani Yager and Joey Payan also stood out, Nguyen said.

“I also want to congratulate (Woodbridge) Coach Alan Ho and the girls on their berth to the CIF playoffs as well,” Ngueyn said. “That match was so close, and it really could’ve gone either way.  It was truly a great battle, and both teams will benefit from this match as we enter the playoffs.”