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Liberty, Rancho reach Class 4A girls state volleyball final

Liberty and Rancho rolled to victories Thursday at Faith Lutheran to set up a matchup for the Class 4A girls state volleyball championship.

Now, either the Patriots will claim their first state title or the Rams will grab their first since winning 3A crowns in 1986 and 1987.

Those teams earned the right to meet at 4 p.m. Saturday at Faith Lutheran with semifinal wins.

Liberty got 10 kills and 11 digs from Brooklyn Slater and defeated Sierra Vista 25-16, 25-21, 25-12. Rancho got 12 kills, nine digs and five total blocks from Leah Miller in a 25-15, 25-15, 25-18 win over Arbor View.

“This is amazing. I’ve been around the game for a long time,” Liberty coach Fredrick Williams said. “To be here and take this program where it needs to go, it starts with the kids. They want it. I put them through all types of hell in practice, and they don’t complain.”

All three sets followed a similar pattern for Liberty (30-10). The Patriots led early, had a bit of a letdown that let the Mountain Lions back into the match, then rebounded and pulled away for the win.

Liberty’s blocking set it up for some free balls, and it took advantage of them. The Patriots also served well enough to keep Sierra Vista (24-6) out of system and not allow any big runs.

Alexis Batezel had 19 digs, and Jaylynn McCarthy added seven kills and five blocks for Liberty. Peyton Castillo led Sierra Vista with 13 assists, two kills and three blocks, and Maysen Bruschke added five kills, seven digs, four aces and two blocks.

Rancho (23-4) dominated its match from the service line. The Rams had 18 aces, with six apiece from Jan Duhaylungsod and Gabriella Fernandez and five from Angelina Robles, who also had a team-high 13 digs.

That meant free points for Rancho and kept Arbor View (15-14) stuck in certain rotations. Italya Cloyd had nine kills to help the Rams’ offense, and Rancho never trailed in any set. Tatiana Turgeon had a team-high four kills for the Aggies.

“Coming into this game and state tournament, that’s one thing we stressed on in practice is the serve,” Rancho coach Amanda Weber said. “It was crucial that they got their serves over and placed them where we asked them to.”

Contact Jason Orts at jorts@reviewjournal.com. Follow @SportsWithOrts on Twitter.

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