When the Garces Rams committed mistakes and service errors, they let Torrance-Bishop Montgomery stick around.
When the Rams played mistake free — or relatively mistake free — they were the better team, and simply put away the opposition.
Garces, seeded No. 7 in the CIF Southern California Division II regional volleyball playoffs, beat No. 15 Bishop Montgomery 3-1 (21-25, 25-20, 25-18, 25-23) to advance to the tournament semifinals. The Rams will hit the road for a 6 p.m. Saturday semifinals match at No. 6 Quartz Hill.
Thursday’s quarterfinals contest saw the Rams get off to a slow start in the opening set. Garces committed seven service errors in the opening stanza, according to head coach John Price, as they tried to get a feel for the Knights.
Bishop Montgomery, fresh off a first-round sweep of No. 2-seed Exeter, was certainly better than its No. 15 seed would indicate, and it simply took a moment for the Rams to get their engine fired up.
“The first game, we didn’t get beat, we lost. It was a lot of our errors,” said Rams senior outside hitter Perri Starkey. “We were giving them easy points.”
But Garces found its groove from there and quelled the Knights’ momentum, cleaning up many of its initial mistakes and winning the second set 25-20.
The third set was the team’s crispest of the night. Price said the Rams went on a good run with their block, and passed the ball better. Starkey and Lailah Green had clean looks and put balls away, and it showed in the 25-18 result.
“We worked really hard and rallied together,” Starkey said. “We started grinding out every single point and played for each other.”
The final frame saw Garces jump out to a 17-10 lead, only to let Bishop Montgomery back into things.
Still, the Rams finished off the Knights and moved on.
Starkey, the heart and soul of the Rams, finished with a match-high 34 kills. She added 20 digs and two aces.
Her partner in crime at outside hitter, Green, had 23 kills of her own along with four blocks.
Haley Martin had 31 assists for the Rams while Claire Dobrzanski added 26 digs.