The Guards will play in the championship match either Friday or Saturday at Cypress College. Bell-Jeff will take on the winner of Tuesday’s semifinal match between top-seeded Upland Christian Academy and Bermuda Dunes Desert Christian at a time to be determined.
Bell-Jeff, which won its fourth straight Santa Cruz League crown this season, appears to be peaking at the right time. The team has sliced through the playoffs, sweeping three matches and winning a fourth in four games.
The team is also young, as Segura started a freshman, two sophomores, a junior and a senior in the semifinal.
Against the Golden Eagles, Bell-Jeff sophomore outside hitter Jocelyn Cervantes again came up big, notching a match-high 30 kills to go along with 10 assists and four blocks. Teammate Breanna Pedron, also a sophomore, had 17 assists.
“Jocelyn seemed to wait until the playoffs to play her best volleyball of the year,” Segura said. “She is just a monster and you can’t block her one on one.”
Desert Hot Springs (15-5) — the No. 3 team from the De Anza League — had trouble getting its offense in gear early against the Guards. Bell-Jeff took full advantage, easily taking the first game.
Things were tougher in the second game, however, as Desert Hot Springs took a 16-12 advantage. But the Guards were able to turn the momentum in their favor big time, embarking on a 13-3 run to close out the game.
Bell-Jeff was also pushed in the third game, as the Golden Eagles tied the score at 23. But a kill by Cervantes and a hitting error gave the hosts the victory.
“I could have never imagined what this feeling was going to be like,” said senior Kim Van Dyke — a four-year starter — about making it to a championship. “This is a team that never gives up.”