It was more dramatic than Otto Lacayo would have preferred.
But the Westridge volleyball coach is happily headed to the CIF-SS Division 4 semifinals, thanks to a gutsy and clutch group of young women.
Westridge won the first two games in Saturday night’s quarterfinals, but Monrovia lived up to their gritty reputation, and forced a fifth and final game.
The Tigers, though, saved their best for last, and won by scores of 25-15, 25-21, 23-25, 23-25, 15-12.
It’s rare when playoff pairings and rankings live up to their billing, but this had everything that should be in a postseason match up between a No. 4 seed (Westridge) and the fifth-seeded Wildcats.
Westridge (25-5) will travel 73 miles on Tuesday to take on top-seeded Elsinore with a spot in the finals at stake.
Elsinore (30-5) was also taken to the limit, but won in 5 games at Bonita High School in La Verne.
Allison Martinez and Makana Meyer, the Westridge dynamic duo led the way, but it can not be overstated that every player on the Tigers roster had a part in the back-and-forth, 5-set win on Saturday night.
Martinez had a match-high 32 kills and 13 digs, while Meyer added 15 kills, 21 digs and 7 aces.
Martinez was so dominant, that she had more kills than the top two Monrovia players, who combined for 26.
Riley Carius has 15 kills and Da’Niesha Davis added 11 kills for the Wildcats.
Meyer was especially effective serving late in the match. She got two consecutive aces and had the Tigers at 14-11 in the fifth set, and then after a sideout, Martinez’ kill finished off the Wildcats and the match.
“I think we got a little complacent in the third set,” Martinez said. “Props to them for coming back and pushing us to change our defense. We were able to adjust and showed a lot of heart and passion in coming back and winning in 5.”
Meyer and Martinez really seem to feed off the other.
“I was confident in my team and knew we could do it,” Meyer said. “I think I was focused on the next play and next point and really trying to execute (during the highs and lows of the match). I am really proud of our mentality and our ability to reset after each point.”
Also starring for Westridge was Angelica Raymundo and her 58 assists and 13 digs, her sister, Krystal Raymundo, had 17 digs.
Quincy Foster’s 16 digs and Eryn Boken’s 11 kills were also huge.
“I feel like we had control in the first two sets, but Monrovia got into it and were relentless and play great volleyball,” Lacayo said. “Angelica Raymundo and her sister Krystal were phenomenal and made some quality plays.”