Granada Hills Charter girls volleyball falls to Venice in City Open final – LA Daily News

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LAKE BALBOA – Missed opportunities and lack of momentum summarized how Saturday night’s match played out for the Granada Hills Charter girls volleyball team.

After being up by for a large portion of the first set, Granada Hills let Venice come back late, tying the score at 23-23. Venice scored the next two points and not only took the set, but the momentum for the rest of the match as the No. 3-seeded Highlanders fell to No. 1 Venice in straight sets (23-25,15-25,15-25) of City Section Open Division final at Birmingham Charter.

“The tide kinda turned in the first set when we didn’t put it away,” said Granada Hills coach Tom Harp. “Hats off to Venice, they took the momentum and played an excellent game. Venice earned this match.”

The first set was a hard fought. Granada Hills’ offense was going through junior outside hitter Hannah Berstein. She got the first three kills and finished with more than 11 points in the match.

Venice takes care of business in second set, winning 25-15. They are one away from becoming Open Division champions. @Tarek_Fattal

— Mano Baghjajian (@manob007) November 7, 2021

The team was playing great defense as well, anchored by senior middle blocker Lilly Minton, who recorded three blocks in the set, to go along with six total blocks.

“We played all around well in the set, but we just couldn’t get those last two points that we needed,” said Harp. “Our passing broke down and made some errors, that was a big problem for us.”

Venice came out on fire in the second set, going up 7-1 early. Granada Hills wasn’t able to make a run happen offensively, never getting closer than nine points. Venice’s top offensive weapons were Daniella Kensinger and Biko Hollie.

“I haven’t seen Granada this season, but I know that they are a well-coached team and a phenomenal team,” said Venice coach Raul Aviles. “The first set was the one that changed things, winning that changed our confidence and composure.”

The third set played very similarly to the second, with Granada Hills going down early and never being able to create any sort of comeback. Venice stayed in control throughout the set to complete the sweep.

“That is something we really talked about this year, our mental fortitude,” said Aviles. “We kept our composure and kept trusting each other and knew we could win.”

Venice completes the sweep with a 25-15 win in the third set. They are City Section Open Division champions. @Tarek_Fattal

— Mano Baghjajian (@manob007) November 7, 2021

It was Granada Hills’ 10th City final appearance in 14 years under Harp, and would have been the Highlanders’ seventh City crown in the highest division. However, the season is not over. Granda Hills will continue its season in the CIF State playoffs next week.

“We’ll rebound and we will give it a good shot,” said Harp.