By Jeremy Balan
Sacred Heart Cathedral took its first step toward a fourth consecutive CIF-Central Coast Section Division III title Saturday, cruising to a 25-19, 25-17, 25-15 win over fifth-seeded Live Oak of Morgan Hill in the section quarterfinals.
The Fightin’ Irish (26-10) were led by junior outside hitter Jacqueline Shim, who was their most consistent threat on offense, tallying a match-high 13 kills. Junior Kelly Ostello also had a solid contribution with 10 kills in the match.
“Our team as a whole did pretty well,” Shim said. “I had my share of kills, but also errors. We brought it together as a team, though, and were able to push through at the end.”
Sacred Heart looked like the better team throughout, but often surrendered sustained runs to Live Oak (23-11), allowing the Acorns to stay close.
“Live Oak looked way better than they did when I scouted them [in the first round] on Wednesday,” said Sacred Heart coach Margi Beima. “Sometimes you play matches and you can absorb mistakes, like out-of-rotation errors and bad passes, but in other matches those could be the determining factors.”
Those errors were absorbed by a stellar defensive effort, as the Irish limited Live Oak to just 15 kills in the match. Senior outside hitter Gabriela Cinkova led the Acorns with seven kills.
“I was happy with how our defense made adjustments and dug balls,” Beima said. “They had a couple of really good hitters and a big block. Overall, we just had to play a really clean game.”
Sacred Heart will face top-seeded Aptos in the semifinals on Thursday. Aptos won decisively over eighth-seeded Willow Glen on Satuday. The matchup would be a rematch of the 2009 semifinal, where Sacred Heart defeated then top-seeded Aptos in four games.
On the other side of the bracket, third-seeded St. Ignatius (31-6) defeated sixth-seeded Notre Dame of San Jose (18-13) 25-21, 18-25, 25-21, 25-20 on Saturday at Harker School in San Jose.