May 30, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

PHOTOS: Saddleback reaches CIF championship match for first time in school history

Saddleback High School players and coaches celebrate after earning a trip to the CIF finals. (Photo: OC Sports Zone, Tim Burt).

Saddleback High School’s boys volleyball team, top seeded in Division 6, earned a trip to the CIF finals for the first time in school history with a three-set victory over Le Lycee of Los Angeles Saturday night in the semifinals at Saddleback.

The Roadrunners were congratulated by Saddleback students who poured onto the court to celebrate with them. The Roadrunners in turn went to the side the spectators were sitting waving to the fans and thanking them for their support on an historic night for the school.

Saddleback (21-2) moves on to face No. 2 seeded Monrovia (25-6), which will be the designated home team for the title match next Saturday. Saddleback Athletic Director Rob Thompson said he believes the match will be at Monrovia although CIF officials could schedule the match at Long Beach City College where a full day of finals is planned next Saturday.

To see the slide show, click on the first photo:

Saddleback won the match by scores of 25-22, 25-17, 25-22. The Roadrunners, behind the solid play of Lisati Vaiala and Logan Nguyen, battled back from a 19-11 deficit in set one to win.

“Wow, it’s pretty exciting,” said Saddleback Coach Jose Medina. “We’ve been working for this the entire season so to actually get to the finals, it’s pretty rewarding. I’m pretty glad we are where we are right now.”

“Today, definitely Logan Nguyen was outstanding with his blocking today and Lisati Vaiala with his hitting and Axel Gallegos with his defense.”

Vaiala had 10 kills and eight blocks, Nguyen had 13 blocks and Jonathan Argueta had 10 kills for Saddleback.

The Saddleback players took their time celebrating the victory in their last home match of the season which turned out to be an historic win.

“It was a blessing, I didn’t expect it,” said Vaiala of reaching the finals. “This is my first year, not including the year it was cut off (due to the coronavius pandemic which cancelled sports) my freshman year. We looked how they played and learned it and we executed.”

Teammate Logan Nguyen said he had confidence in his team that it would rally after falling behind in the first set.

“I had a big intuition that we would win and (make) it to finals,” Nguyen said.

RELATED: Saddleback vs. Monrovia Saturday at LBCC

RELATED: Saddleback coach “excited, honored and grateful” to lead team.

—Tim Burt, OC Sports Zone; timburt@ocsportszone.