Lancers falter in state volleyball – The San Diego Union-Tribune

ORANGE — 

One set into Carlsbad High’s first venture in the State Volleyball Championships Saturday things were going the Lancers’ way.

Then, out of nowhere, the momentum switched sides.

And nothing the San Diego Section Division II champions tried could make the historic moment turn purple again.

Larkspur Redwood, who wore black Making Giant History T-shirts during warmups, trailed for exactly one point in the final three sets to claim the first state title in the sport in school history with a 16-25, 25-22, 25-22, 25-20 victory at Santiago Canyon College.

“I’m very proud of the girls,” Carlsbad coach Tom Bloomquist said. “This was the best season in school history, but we gave up too many points those last three sets.

“We were down eight or nine points too much. We’ve come back from six or seven points a few times this year.

“Volleyball is a game of runs. Their runs were longer and better.”

Carlsbad (24-12), the No. 1 seed from the South, used its height to full advantage in the opening set.

The frontline of Rylee Schulz, Auburn Tomkinson and Cayla Payne combined for 13 kills.

Schulz led the way with six kills, a block and an ace in the first set with Wilkinson at four kills and three blocks. Payne added three kills.

“Rylee is the best player in the gym every match we’ve had this season,” Bloomquist said. “She really brings it every set.”

Schulz was every bit the team leader, finishing her final game as a Lancer with 23 kills, three blocks and an ace.

Tomkinson had five kills and six blocks while Payne collected seven kills.

“Everything was working and then nothing worked,” said the Wyoming-bound Schulz. “Mistakes get you at this level.

“Pressure is privilege and to represent my school is privilege of its own.

“After that first set, I thought they would come harder and so would we but we didn’t.”

The second set was all Redwood (30-6), which took the lead for good at 3-2 and never let up.

Carlsbad managed to climb back into contention with a 10-3 surge that nearly wiped out a 19-10 lead by the Giants, the No. 2 seed from the North.

The closest the Lancers got was 22-20.

The third set was a carbon copy of the second. The Giants grabbed the lead and never allowed the Lancers to gain control.

Carlsbad managed to use a 6-0 run to tie the set at 21-21 only to be outscored 4-1 by Redwood to fall behind 2-1 heading into the fourth set.

Needing to win the last two sets, the Lancers finally gained their first lead in the second, third and fourth sets, but it lasted just one point.

Emma McDermott paced the Giants with 14 kills, two blocks and an ace followed by Jaden Hendrickson with 10 kills, two blocks and an ace.

“I told the girls to be goldfish after the first set,” said Redwood coach Ursula Gruenert. “Goldfish have a 10-second memory.

“Showing up, we had nothing to lose.

“Our strong suit has been coming back from a mis-shot, a mis-dig. We side-out very quickly.”

Redwood did just that after Carlsbad’s brief lead and retook control of the match and their history-making moment.

Monahan is a freelance writer.