El Capitan girls’ volleyball season with Division III CIF championship

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The El Capitan High School girls volleyball team finished its 2016 season Saturday, Nov. 19, two rounds deep into the Southern California regional playoffs. The Lady Vaqueros finished the season with a 25-5 overall record and San Diego Section Division III championship.

The El Capitan High School girls volleyball team finished its 2016 season Saturday, Nov. 19, two rounds deep into the Southern California regional playoffs. The Lady Vaqueros finished the season with a 25-5 overall record and San Diego Section Division III championship.

El Capitan took an impressive 16-game winning streak into the Division III championship match against third-seeded Classical Academy Nov. 12 at Cathedral Catholic High School after sweeping High Tech High (3-0 win in the first round) and Coronado (3-0 win in the quarterfinals) and topping Sage Creek (a 3-1 in in the semifinals).

Top-seeded El Capitan was the lone East County team to advance to this year’s section finals and didn’t waste the opportunity to win the Lakeside school’s first CIF title by defeating Classical Academy in four sets 25-21, 25-17, 19-25, 25-20.

Freshman Stephanie Adams racked up 15 kills and senior teammates Grace Burkett and Megan Gillette each contributed 20 kills to lead the Lady Vaqueros past the Lady Caimans (23-8).

Adams also recorded a team high three aces while Burket led the team with six blocks.

Senior Savannah Minshew collected 14 digs and 43 assists to lead the team in those departments.

Sophomores Chloe Eustis and Hada Haaland each collected nine kills for Classical Academy.

The history-making win in the section finals awarded El Capitan the fifth seed in the Division IV Southern California regionals and a first-round match-up on Wednesday, Nov. 16, against 12th-seeded Pomona Catholic. The Lady Vaqueros swept the visitors by scores of 25-10, 25-15, 25-14.

Gillette and Burkett led the hosts with 11 kills, senior Katie Swanson had four aces, Burkett had six blocks and 10 digs and Minshew had 31 assists. 

El Capitan advanced to meet fourth-seeded Loma Linda Academy in the regional quarterfinals, with Loma Linda eliminating the Lady Vaqueros by scores of 21-25, 26-24, 25-20, 25-21 in four highly competitive sets.

Burkett paced the San Diego County visitors with 15 kills and 11 digs in the season-ending loss while Gillette recorded seven aces. Minshew contributed 36 assists.

Loma Linda (25-4) advanced to meet top-seeded St. Anthony (28-1) in the SoCal semifinals on Tuesday, Nov. 22.

The Southern California regional championship game is scheduled Nov. 26. The state championship game is scheduled Dec. 3.

On the season, Gillette led the team with 250 kills in 80 sets played this season while Burkett ranked second on the team with 237 kills in 77 sets played. Adams had 200 kills in 80 sets played.

Minshew led the team with 59 serving aces and 746 assists in 88 sets. 

Burkett led the team with 89 total blocks and 195 digs.

The Lady Vaqueros finished 10-0 in league play to capture this year’s Grossmont Valley League championship.

The team’s 2016 CIF championship season has been a building process.

El Capitan also turned in an outstanding season in 2015 when it posted a final 23-6 record (8-2 in league) and runner-up finish to Calexico in the Division IV championship game.

The Lady Vaqueros finished 18-11 during the 2014 season with a loss to Calexico in the Division IV semifinals.

El Capitan finished 16-18 during the 2013 season with a loss to Montgomery in the Division IV semifinals.

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