WATSONVILLE—The Mount Madonna School girls’ volleyball team dropped the opening set of Tuesday’s CIF NorCal Division V championship at home, also known as the “Hawks’ Nest.”
But junior Savannah Cambell said they quickly reminded each other why they were the top seed going into the tournament and had to “relight their fires,” yet again.
“We had so much to show them, we’re the No. 1 seed, we have our fans here… let’s just go out and perform and play and that’s what we did,” Cambell said.
Cambell and Co. did exactly that, as the Hawks defeated No. 2 Nueva School in four sets, 18-25, 25-22, 25-18, 25-23, in the D-V championship match. Paola Jacobs led the team with 25 kills and 17 digs.
“I feel beyond amazing,” Jacobs said. “It feels so good to know that we put in so much of our energy and we really worked together tonight.”
Tuesday’s title match was a rematch of the Central Coast Section D-V championship.
The Hawks defeated the Mavericks to capture their second straight CCS D-V championship and fourth title overall—2007, 2009, 2018, 2019.
Now they’re headed back to the CIF State Championship for the first time since 2007, which they won under then head coach Gabrielle Houston.
Current coach Erin Mitchell was a sophomore on that team. She said this year’s team has been just as special.
“I’m super jazzed, they played their hearts out tonight and left it all out there,” Mitchell said.
Jacobs said it’s been a great ride especially with a team she can fully trust and depend on. She said it’s also great to know they’re capable of competing at a high level.
“We’ve proven to ourselves that we can win,” Jacobs said.
Up next, the Hawks (19-9) play against No. 2 University High (35-15) of Los Angeles today at 4 p.m. at Santiago Canyon College in Orange.
The Wildcats won the CIF SoCal D-V championship against top-seeded Mammoth High in five sets.
Jacobs celebrated her birthday on Saturday by extending the team’s season as the Hawks defeated No. 4 Colfax High in four sets in the semifinal.
They won their opener against Oakland Tech in three sets followed up with another sweep against Le Grand High in the second round.
On Tuesday, Cambell led the team with 36 assists along with 11 digs and two aces.
“My dream has come true, we’re going to state,” Cambell said. “We’re so freakin’ excited and I think we’re just so pumped. We just cannot wait.”
Cambell said since her freshman year it’s always been a goal to reach the CIF State Championships. In 2017, she was part of the group that reached the NorCal final but lost against San Marin of Novato.
“Having the opportunity to go to state is incredible,” Cambell said. “It just means so much, I’m just so excited.”
The Hawks and Mavericks battled back and forth in the second set. Nueva took a 19-17 lead and briefly stole all the momentum.
Mitchell called a timeout to prevent the set and championship from slipping through their fingers. Whatever the message was, it worked.
The Hawks soared back to retake the lead at 21-20 and never looked back.
Mitchell said she expected Tuesday’s game to go multiple sets, especially because they were going up against a good Mavericks team that took them to five sets in the CCS title game.
They took their largest lead—23-17—of the match in the third set and had to fight back again in the fourth to capture their second ever NorCal D-V title.
“There was a lot more tension,” Jacobs said. “We played this team before in CCS and it was very tight.”
Jacobs said going into the game there was still a lot of unknown and they knew it was going to be a different type of game.
Sophomore Liana Kithcell had 16 digs, seven kills and a pair of aces, while freshman Eve Willis had nine kills for the Hawks.
“I feel very excited and I’m so happy to be able to keep playing with the team and move on. It’s great,” Kitchell said.
Jacobs has racked up a team-high 71 kills and 67 digs in the NorCal D-V playoffs, while Cambell leads the Hawks with 90 assists.