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By Steve Breazeale
In a season filled with changes, winning became a constant for the Dana Hills girls volleyball team throughout their 2013 South Coast League run. On Monday the Dolphins repeated as league champions and ensured an undefeated league season by defeating visiting San Clemente in three sets, 25-17, 25-22, 25-16.
The Dolphins (22-6, 8-0 league) had to deal with an ever shifting lineup and a coaching change midway through the season. Several players would float in and out of the Dolphins rotation on a nightly basis, due to commitments to club and national teams. When former head coach Bryce Baum departed, assistant Tim Layton stepped in and attempted to mesh together whatever pieces he had. The result was a winning effort.
The Dolphins lineup against the Tritons (12-12, 6-2) on Monday exemplified the mix and match style. While standout senior outside hitter Tia Scambray remained a constant presence in the rotations, the Dolphins relied on several players to get past San Clemente, who could have won a share of the league title with a win.
San Clemente jumped out to a 12-9 lead in the first set but an 8-2 run by the Dolphins put the home team out in front. Junior middle blocker Kendall Smith led a Dolphins defensive effort up front during the run, providing key blocks. The Dolphins closed out the set on a 7-0 run.
The Tritons best chance at winning a set came in the second. After battling back and forth with the Dolphins the Tritons held a slim 20-19 edge until Scambray recorded two consecutive kills to give Dana Hills a lead they would not let go of. Dana Hills won the closely contested second set 25-22.
The Tritons were in the mix throughout the first two sets, but the third set was all Dana Hills. Scambray recorded six of her game-high 19 kills during the third and San Clemente had six unforced errors as the Dolphins coasted to a 25-16 set win and the league championship.
San Clemente sophomore outside hitter Cali Hoye and senior Taylor Brubaker led the team with nine kills each.