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Vista volleyball team advances to semis with win over Falcons

By: Brett Ransford/Telegraph Correspondent
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It might have seemed like a flashback from last season, but not quite.

A rematch of the 2011 Sac-Joaquin Section Division III girls’ volleyball championship gave No. 7 Christian Brothers (23-13) a chance for revenge at No. 2 Vista del Lago (23-11) in the quarterfinals on Thursday night.

The Falcons rallied through eight ties and nine lead changes in the fourth game, but the Eagles emerged victorious in five; 25-13, 19-25, 25-16, 22-25, 15-7.

The Eagles advance to take on No. 14 Vanden on Tuesday, who upset No. 3 River Valley and No. 6 Placer in four games.

Technically, it would have been an upset if Christian Brothers beat Vista, but the Falcons won five-straight  titles from 2005-2009. The growth of Vista’s program has turned the tables.

The Eagles won the last two Div. III championships, beating Christian Brothers 3-1 last season for the title.

Christian Brothers still holds a 5-2 overall record against Vista through five seasons, but those two Vista wins were both in playoffs.

A junior then, but a senior captain now, Kelsey Sampson was pivotal in both wins.

She had 14 digs along with 17 kills, two of which were the first and last points of the night. Her cousin, Colleen Donovan, is a senior on Christian Brothers.

“Things tend to work out when I just swing and that’s what I did,” said Sampson. “My aunt said they were fired up and wanted blood. They wanted to take back their title, but we came out strong and I feel confident. If we play like we did tonight we can go far.”

Kara Campbell led with 18 kills, adding 16 digs. Given the back-and-forth nature of game four, she said she was pumped when Sampson laid down the final kill.

“We knew they would come out strong and they did. We’ll have to keep fighting, but all this momentum will carry into the next game,” said Campbell.

Jordan Cryderman played just her second game at setter, except for maybe one game in sixth grade, according to her coach Patrick Sanders. Cryderman had 45 assists.

Caroline Sipiora led with 18 digs in her adjusted role as libero.

Sanders said he knows nothing about Vanden, adding that River Valley and Placer didn’t either, so he won’t be taking anything for granted.

“Anytime you play a team like Christian Brothers it’s a budding rivalry,” said Sanders. “As much as we don’t know about Vanden, volleyball is volleyball and hopefully we’ll be up to the task.”