Vista volleyball team earns chance for three-peat with win over Vanden

By: Brett Ransford/Telegraph Correspondent
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There were no surprises and there was no upset.

Vanden’s two-game Cinderella storied run through the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III girls’ volleyball playoffs ended abruptly on Tuesday night. A semifinal match against host and defending section champion Vista del Lago lasted three games, 25-14, 25-21, 25-11.

aThe win advanced the Eagles to their third-straight Div. III championship game with a chance at a three-peat win. They play the Oakmont Vikings at 6 p.m. Thursday at UC Davis.

Oakmont (32-2) won its league undefeated 10-0. The Vikings haven’t lost since Sept. 20.

Six Vista players will play in their third consecutive championship game – junior Summer Nichols, senior captains Kelsey Sampson and Caroline Sipiora and fellow seniors Kendall Moore, Jordan Cryderman and Hallie Robertson.

Against Vanden Sampson led both teams with 21 kills, adding three aces.

“It feels unreal,” said Sampson of heading back to the title game. “This is my senior year and this is all we’ve worked for -- to defend our section title -- and it just feels good.”

Sampson said she found her zone and just kept swinging. Her last two matches included a combined 38 kills.

Vista’s other kill leaders were Campbell with 13 and Moore with nine. Campbell also had three aces and 17 digs.

Vanden trailed by double digits in all three sets, thanks in large part to 43 assists and 16 digs from Cryderman and 11 digs and an ace from Sipiora.

The four-year varsity star has done well, adjusting to her new role this postseason as the team’s libero.

“We’re hoping for a three-peat, but we’re going to work hard. We’re ready for this,” said Sipiora.

Vista will lose its most successful and arguably talented class of seniors regardless of how the season ends.

Sipiora said it hasn’t quite hit the seniors yet, but the section championship will be a good gauge of emotions.

“I think there will be some tears, but we’re all just really excited to play,” said Sipiora.

Coach Patrick Sanders is also headed to his third consecutive appearance.

In response as to whether his team is bored of its routine in heading back, again, to the championship game he was clear.

“Are you kidding me?” said Sanders. “We’re not there yet and ultimately what goes on over the next couple weeks, especially with our seniors, we’ve been very lucky to have these opportunities and these girls.”