A memorable comeback has given the Sierra Canyon High girls' volleyball team a date with destiny and a chance for school history.
Down two games against top-seeded Riverside Christian on Tuesday, the fourth-seeded Trailblazers rallied for a thrilling 19-25, 8-25, 25-19, 25-13 and 15-13 victory in the semifinals of the Southern Section Division V-AA playoffs.
It was a memorable performance for Sierra Canyon, which faces Bermuda Dunes Desert Christian Academy for the title at Cypress College Saturday morning.
"This is great," second-year coach Morgan Wijay said. "The girls never stopped believing. We played a tough schedule all season to prepare ourselves. I'm very optimistic that we will be ready on Saturday."
The Trailblazers were flustered in the early going against Riverside Christian. Wijay noted that the Riverside Christian gym was small and that the atmosphere was "overwhelming" for her team in the beginning.
"The fans were basically on the court right there with us," said Wijay, still hoarse from all her yelling and screaming during the match. "We just had to focus on playing volleyball."
Sierra Canyon gained its focus as the match went along, winning a close third game and then blowing out the Cougars in the fourth. The teams battled to an 11-11 tie in the decisive fifth game. But the Trailblazers scored two of the three next points and freshman outside hitter Kyra Hill closed things out with her team-leading 11th kill.
"We just took things point by point," Wijay said. "We didn't try to get too excited. The girls really showed the eye of the storm out there."
Junior Drew Kohl added 10 kills for the Trailblazers, and Tori Wells came through with eight blocks.
"(Riverside) had two big hitters and Tori came through for us," Wijay said. "She was a big factor."
Sierra Canyon (16-6) will now look to win its first volleyball title in school history as they get ready for their 10 a.m. showdown with second-seeded Desert Christian.
The Conquerors (19-3) have been impressive in their march towards the championship, sweeping all three of their playoff matches, including a Tuesday sweep of Victor Valley Christian.
"From what I know they have a strong middle and setter and a pretty good libero," Wijay said. "They're a really good volleyball team. But we're a pretty good volleyball team, too."