Girls CCS Volleyball: Mt. Madonna returns to D-V championship game

Mariners, Knights set for another meeting in D-III

WATSONVILLE — Mt. Madonna’s season was a few points from being over.

Coach Erin Mitchell said it was just what her Hawks needed.

Outside hitters Mara Peruzzi and Paola Jacobs combined for 21 kills, 20 digs and seven aces, setter Savannah Cambell had 30 assists, seven digs and three kills and No. 2 Mt. Madonna looked refocused in a 25-22, 25-18, 25-14 sweep of No. 6 Summit-Shasta in the semifinals of the Central Coast Section Division V playoffs on Thursday.

For the second straight season, the Hawks (15-10) will play for a section championship. The opponent will be different, but the location will be the same.

Mt. Madonna will play top-seeded Notre Dame-Salinas (15-9) on Saturday back at Watsonville High. Opening serve is set for 3 p.m.

Two days ago, the Hawks were on the ropes, but managed to fight off No. 10 Nueva — and a few premature tears — for a 25-23, 25-21, 21-25, 23-25, 16-14 win in the quarterfinals.

Mitchell wouldn’t have taken the win in any other fashion.

“I really think that totally benefited us,” Mitchell said. “I think we could’ve won in three (sets), but I’m really glad that we didn’t.”

The Hawks didn’t see much drama on Thursday night against Summit-Shasta (20-7) .

Peruzzi and Jacobs were firing away from the outside, Cambell was distributing the ball effortlessly and junior libero AnMei Dascbach-Prisk was in impenetrable wall in the backline on defense.

Dascbach-Prisk recorded a team-high 17 digs for Mt. Madonna, which also earned a spot in the upcoming California Interscholastic Federation Northern California playoffs for the second straight season.

The Hawks last fall also advanced to the CIF NorCal championship game, but finished the season bannerless after falling a five-set heartbreaker.

They’d like to change that this season.

“I’m so excited for NorCals,” Campbell said. “I think it’s going to be an exciting time for us.”

But first, Mt. Madonna will focus on five-time CCS champion ND-Salinas.

It won’t be a completely unfamiliar matchup for either.

The two teams played for a CCS title in 2014. ND-Salinas won in a sweep.

Peruzzi was still in junior high school when that happened, and almost half of her team was stuck in elementary.

The powerful outside hitter is the lone senior on a team featuring four freshman and two sophomores. She is also one of seven returning players from last year’s roster of 14. Some of the faces in the huddle might be similar, but the Hawks insist the team is very different.

And very young.

“It’s really new for them, but I really see their confidence coming out already,” Peruzzi said. “That’s what my goal is, to bring out their confidence, and I see it happening.”

In other local CCS volleyball action:

Aptos 3, Hillsdale 1 - The rematch is on.

Santa Cruz Coast Athletic League rivals Aptos and Soquel will battle it out in the CCS Division III championship game for the second consecutive season.

Top-seeded Soquel (29-6) won the section title over No. 2 Aptos (25-8) last season.

The Knights also swept the SCCAL season series this fall to put an end to the Mariners’ five-year reign over the league.

There will be plenty of history between the two teams on Saturday at Watsonville.

First serve is slated for 5 p.m.

Aptos advanced with a 25-17, 20-25, 25-15, 25-20 win over No. 3 Hillsdale, and Soquel beat No. 4 Notre Dame-San Jose to earn a spot in the championship.

More In Sports