Girls Volleyball Starts CIF Playoffs on Thursday Night

Plays Upland in First Round

The Lady Centaurs host Upland in the first round of the CIF SS Division 3 on Thursday night at 6:00 pm on campus at the Del Goodyear Gymnasium. Culver City (23-7) finished #1 in the Ocean League, while the Upland Highlanders/Scots (18-11) finished tied for second in the Baseline League.

If the Centaurs win, they will move on to face the first-round winner of Marlborough (13-6) versus University (18-13) on Saturday, October 26th--site and time--to be determined.

In 2016-17, under new head coach, Tanner Siegal, Culver City went unbeaten in the Ocean League and finished 32-4 overall. They went on to win their first CIF championship in Division 4. As champions, Culver City competed in the CIF State Tournament where they got all the way to the Regional Finals before they lost to the ultimate winner Valley Christian. The following year-2017-18, the Lady Centaurs made school history by winning consecutive CIF championships.

In 2018-19, the Centaurs split their league matches with their rivals the Santa Monica Vikings and finished in a tie for first. They made it to the semi-finals where they lost a tough match to Valley Christian. Invited, once again, to the State Tournament, they made the regional finals in the State Tournament, where they ran into host Valley Christian once again; Valley Christian went on to win the State championship.

After having so much success in post season play under Coach Siegal, the Centaurs are looking for more, by going deep into the playoffs again. The Centaurs enter the playoffs losing only 3 games in their last 10 matches. This year they won't have to face Valley Christian, because the Crusaders have been moved up to Division 2.

Q & A with Coach Tanner Siegal:

There seems to be more parity among the playoff divisions this year.

With this year's seeding, it's going to be a tough tournament, because every opponent is going to be tough. There will be good volleyball played through every round of the bracket.

This year the Lady Centaurs are seeded thirteenth.

We feel like a number doesn't represent who we are as a team. We could have come in as the thirteen seed, an eight or as a number one seed. Whoever we play, we feel we have a really good chance of beating them, if we play our game that night.

Who are your team leaders this year?

Senior Jayli Nealy has been playing very well lately. She is not a very vocal captain, she leads more, by example. This year's team does not lean heavily on one player. Everybody will have to contribute for us to be at our best.

What will it take to go deep in the playoffs?

Experience-wise, with all the playoff tournaments and championships we have won, we are a well-seasoned team. We have the players who have been there and seen it before; they know what approach to take.

We don't want to get too high or too low. We try to ride a consistent medium to a point where no matter what the situation is, we have the mental toughness to play at our best--no matter the situation.

Is this team peaking at the right time?

It's always been our goal to peak at the end of the season; not to peak too early or in mid-season, but to peak at season's end.

You're coming into the playoffs on a ten-game winning streak and Ocean League champions; having lost only three games over that span.

How important is it to protect your "home court?"

Since my time here as coach, we have put an emphasis on defending our home court and our home record is tremendous. We have only lost three or four games over last four years, at home and those have been to schools that have gone on to win state championships or made it to the finals. We take a lot of pride in defending our home court.

What about your supporters?

The fans! What can I say? The city is really behind this team. Supporters come out from all around the local areas, all ages, ethnicity and genders. This helps push us even further along the way.

Volleyball is such a unique sport. It is a game of Perfection. You have 25 opportunities to make the most out of your chances each game. Unforced errors count for a point for the opposition a hundred percent of time-unlike other sports. Winning will come down to our attention to detail, how well we focus and how well we can execute at a high percentage during the playoffs.


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