Sage Hill boys volleyball rallies to beat San Marino to win first CIF-SS title – Orange County Register

NORWALK — The Sage Hill boys volleyball program made history Saturday by defeating San Marino in five sets, 19-25, 25-22, 22-25, 25-18, 15-13, in the CIF-SS Division 5 final at Cerritos College.

The opening match of the four-game slate at Cerritos College featured two teams looking for their program’s first CIF title and it did not disappoint.

The suspenseful, five-set thriller was a back-and-forth affair that was a test of will and determination, and in the end the Lightning prevailed.

Sage Hill (24-8) dropped the third set and was down 2-1 in the match, but it won the final two games to secure the program’s first CIF-SS championship.

“The mental side of us is very mature,” Sage Hill coach Shelby Young said. “We’re able to have our backs against the wall, look in the mirror and say, ‘what are we made of?’ and respond.”

Sage Hill’s Jackson Cryst, a 6-10 junior outside hitter, had a sensational performance with a match-high 53 kills.

He had 10 of his 53 kills in the final set, including championship point.

Cryst was proud that he and his teammates set a new standard in the volleyball program by bringing home the title.

“I think it’s great, honestly, I’m really happy for my guys, especially for my seniors and my coach as well,” Cryst said. “It’s great for the school, kinda building culture in volleyball. It’s already huge in Orange County, but I think it would be great if more schools could get that level of high, competing programs. Like, we’re competing with Beckman and other teams, and I think it can only go up from here.”

The fourth-seeded Titans (26-7-1) came into the final without having dropped a set in the playoffs.

San Marino kept its run going in the opening set but the momentum shifted in the second set and Sage Hill settled down and tied the match.

“We came out shaky, for sure,” Young said.

The Lightning used its postseason battles, which included a five-set win over Camarillo in the second round, to its advantage.

Meanwhile, once the Titans got to the fifth set, they looked uncomfortable at first as Sage Hill jumped out to a 5-1 lead.

San Marino rallied behind the play of outside hitter Ryan Wang, opposite Casey Chan and middle blocker Luca Moggio.

Senior setter Brayden Brien had an efficient match as did sophomore outside hitter Connor Gapp.

“It played out the way it was written,” Young said. “I fully believe that I’m supposed to be here, helping this group and using the expertise that I have to push this group to reach where they need to go.”

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