May 28, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

PHOTOS: Top-seeded Tustin makes history and heads to semis with sweep over Windward

Tustin High players celebrate after a quarterfinal round victory over Windward Wednesday night. (Photo Tim Burt, OC Sports Zone)

Tustin High’s girls volleyball team made history Wednesday night, defeating Windward in three sets in the quarterfinal round of the CIF Division 5 playoffs at Tustin.

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

The victory sends the top-seeded Tillers into the semifinals for the first time in school history. Tustin will be on the road Saturday to face Palm Desert.

Tustin (26-4) won by scores of 25-15, 25-23, 25-23, sending a large turnout of Tiller fans into a big celebration. Many of the fans wore T-shirts that read ‘Good Vibe Tribe’ on the front and they were on their feet when the Tillers notched the winning point.

“It’s a tremendous effort,” said Tustin Coach Joanna Lane. “We can see our whiteboard. At the very first practice, we wrote up 2019 not just finalists but winners of CIF. So we’ve been setting that goal that whole time and to go to the semifinals and sweep a good team like Windward in three is just a testament to the hard work that the girls have put in every day.

“They’re making the decisons to make the points and to get the job done and I think they’ve done a tremendous job so I’m really, really excited for them to be in the semifinals and of course, to make history, which is awesome.”

Some members of the 1994 Tustin team, which advanced to the quarterfinal round but was unable to reach the semifinals, were on hand Wednesday.

“They wanted to see us get past that and do what they didn’t do, which was awesome,” Lane said.

“I’m super thrilled,” said one of the Tillers leaders Ava McInnes. “Again, our team just decided what we were going to do and we decided we were going to win and we decided we were going to have no regrets after the game. Everyone put out everything they had.”

“It’s so cool to be a part of making history and something I will never forget.

Tustin led from the start in the first set before winning by two. The second set was a battle and tied at 23-23 before the Tillers notched the final two points.

In the third set, Windward got off to a great start and Tustin had to rally from a 14-8 deficit to win it and set off the big celebration in the Tillers gym.

“We came together,” McInnes said of the rally in the third set. “Coach Lane told us to take a breath, we all took a deep breath and we decided, ‘OK, let’s go get it.'”

Tustin was led by Alex Cox, who had 11 kills and no errors, four aces, and 15 digs; Erin McInnes, who had six kills and no errors; Sophie Palmer, who had six kills and two blocks; Paige Cutwright, who had four aces and four kills; Ava McInnes, who had eight kills, three aces and 15 digs; Malia Acosta, who had 26 digs and two aces and Samantha Cannone, who had 38 assists and six digs.

-Tim Burt, OC Sports Zone; timburt@ocsportszone.com