Hemet girls volleyball team celebrates their championship. Coach Jewel Robinson holds the trophy next to Hemet Principal Dr. Emily Shaw. Photo courtesy of Bill Sanborn

Savannah Loutzenhiser goes high to spike another set and point during the second game of the Connely match.
The Hemet High School Girls Volleyball (23-6) team has returned to the state championships for the second consecutive year. On Saturday, they defeated the Cornelia Connelly School of Anaheim in four games.

Hemet took the first two games easily 25-11 and 25-6. Connelly came back from a 5-0 deficit in the third game and won 21-25, but Hemet won the fourth game 25-11 and the match 3-1.

The team embraces and jumps with joy. They have surrounded the championship trophy. Photos courtesy of Jessica Priefer

Hemet Unified School District Trustee Bill Sanborn made this observation after watching the match, “Other than a hiccup in the third set, [Hemet] totally dominated Anaheim Connelly. In fact, toward the end of the second set, Hemet was so dominant that opposing players were in tears. Sad, unless you’re a Bulldog fan.”

On Thursday, before the Southern Section finals, Hemet Principal Dr. Emily Shaw said, “I think that my [volleyball] team is awesome, not just as players but they are

Savannah Loutzenhiser (4) goes to her knee to dig a serve during the third game., while teammate Shelbi Skinner looks on.
outstanding women as well. Each displays tremendous character, leadership and academic prowess. The accomplishment of our women’s volleyball team is outstanding. Most athletes dream of making it to CIF. My girls can say they not only made it, but they won it and they are on track to do it again.”

A year ago, Hemet defeated Upland Church Academy, the then defending 4A champions, for its first Division 4A Southern section crown. Only four players returned this year from the 2010 championship team. Eighty teams from throughout California will compete for five championships.

The repeat champions will played their first state championship round game Tuesday, Nov. 22 at Cathedral Catholic (31-4) in San Diego. Cathedral is seeded number one in the eight team southern bracket. The winner will play Saturday, Nov. 26 against either Polytechnic (25-4) of Pasadena or Independence High School (23-16) of Bakersfield.

The scoreboard displays final score of the match, Hemet defeated Connelly High School 3-1.

Five Idyllwild girls are members of the championship volleyball team. From the left, (in front), are Savannah Loutzenhiser and Briana Williams; in the back row are Danika Hitchcock, Claudia Huizar and Sage Torrez.