Danika Hitchcock, Hemet High School senior, prepares to receive a serve during Thursday’s match against Twentynine Palms High School. Phtos by J.P. Crumrine

For the third consecutive year, the Hemet High School girls’ volleyball team will play in the CIF-SS semi-finals Tuesday evening, Nov. 13.


The Bulldogs, seeded second in Division 4AA, had a first-round bye. In the second round, they easily defeated Twentynine Palms High School in 3 games (25-15, 25-6 and 25-14). Saturday night, Hemet defeated Ontario’s Colony High School, 3-1, in the quarterfinals.

Hemet lost a tight first game, 23-25. After trailing in the second game, the Bulldogs pulled their act together, as coach Janie Washburn had told them, and won the next three games (25-15, 25-17 and 25-16).

Each game went back and forth until about the midpoint and Hemet would then run off streaks of 4 and 5 points to earn tough wins.

This sign was posted in the Hemet High School gymnasium prior to the Bulldogs second round CIF SS match against Twentynine Palms High School.

After the match, Washburn said, “I love these games where you’re fighting for every point.”


While Idyllwild’s Danika Hitchcock has played an important role in Hemet’s march through the tournament, her Idyllwild teammate Savanah Loutzenhiser has had to watch from the bench and nurse her injured knee.

When asked what it would be like playing the tournament without Loutzenshiser, Washburn replied, “It’s tough. She’s a defensive machine and the attitude she brings.”

Hemet’s CIF-SS semi-final match was 7 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 13. They played at Loara High School (the Golden West League champs) in Anaheim. Colony was 20-0 for the season and seeded third, behind Hemet, in the 4AA Division. They beat Connelly High School (the team which Hemet beat in the CIF finals last year), 3-0.

In the other semi-final match, San Jacinto High School, which tied Hemet as Mountain Pass League champs, faced number-one seed, Saddleback Valley Charter.