The magic ran out for Liberty and Garces in the CIF Southern California Division I volleyball playoffs.
After memorable first round wins on Wednesday, the Patriots and Rams each fell in the quarterfinals on Saturday.
Liberty lost 3-0 (25-14, 25-22, 25-20) at La Jolla-Bishop’s, while the Rams dropped a 3-1 match (21-25, 25-20, 25-19, 26-24) at San Juan Capistrano-San Juan Hills.
The season ends for the respective Kern County programs, but not after terrific postseason showings that saw each team make history. The two programs each won first round road matches over much higher seeds on Wednesday — the No. 11-seeded Rams recorded a 3-2 victory over No. 6 Orange Lutheran, while the No. 13-seeded Patriots tallied a 3-1 triumph against No. 4 Studio City-Harvard West Lake.
“I felt like our team played really well. San Juan Hills was a good team. It was a battle. Back and forth,” said Garces head coach Kim Harper following Saturday’s match. “Proud of how the girls played, not just tonight but all year.”
Said Liberty head coach Amy Parker: “You expect tough competition. You’re in Division I, you’re against the top-eight in Southern California. I think my team played really good defense today and were scrappy.”
After taking Game 1, the Rams were on the doorstep a handful of times the rest of the match yet couldn’t get over the hump against the No. 3-seeded Stallions.
Lailah Green (16 kills, 17 digs) and Perri Starkey (15 kills, 14 digs) had standout performances for Garces. Priscilla Miranda added 19 assists while Mckenzie Miller recorded 16 digs and four aces.
“We played aggressive each game and never quit. We made them go out and earn it. They earned that win,” Harper said. “They made a couple of plays at the right time.”
For Liberty, Parker said the team made some uncharacteristic errors. She pointed to Game 2, where the Patriots led 19-18 yet dropped three-straight points and couldn’t recover.
“Game 2 was a big swing,” Parker said. “We were ahead most of the way and made errors and couldn’t get back in front.”
Still, the head coach said she was proud of her team’s defense, highlighted by sophomore defensive specialist Jaleesa Caroccio. She added it was a great year, if not for the memorable playoff victory last week than for the friendships made along the way.
“This is a special group of kids,” Parker said. “One of the things that was said right afterward was, nobody should hang their head.”
Cal City moves on
California City beat Central City Value, 3-0, in the CIF Southern California Division V quarterfinals on Saturday.
The Ravens will move on to play No. 2 Maranatha Christian in the semifinals. The Eagles hold a 31-1 record on the season.