Connelly's Koala's defeated Saddleback Valley Christian in four games on Nov. 21 to win the school's fourth consecutive CIF Championship. Connelly lost the first round of the State Championships in a Nov. 24 match against L
The Connelly team went undefeated in League; the only losses all season were in tournament play. Sophomore Nicole Yost, of
Seal Beach, led the team and won MVP for the San Joaquin League. Gecelle de Guia, a junior from
Cerritos, made First Team, and Senior Chanelle Neal, of
Huntington Beach also
won First Team. Haylie Butler was named Second Team all league and Honorable Mentions went to Nicole Han, a junior from
Long Beach and Kathleen Chelling, a junior from Los Alamitos.
Coach Garry Currier said the team played strong throughout the playoffs. "Everyone played in the first two rounds of CIF and with that, the girls got the experience they needed to get through the next couple rounds," Currier said. "The girls stepped up and didn't just want it, they 'took it' from the other teams."
Connelly entered the finals fired up, but fell to Saddleback Valley Christian in the first game. In the second game, Connelly faced a second loss when down 21-15, but Connelly sided out and Co-captain Nicole Yost led the team with her great serving to finish the game 25-21. Scoring volleyed back and forth in the third game. The Eagles had game point twice, but couldn't make a serve to end the game. Connelly was down 29-28 when Saddleback missed a serve to tie the game at 29. Connelly took advantage with great plays to finish it off 31-29. Game four was fun to the Koalas, Currier said. After repeated battles for points, the Eagles were up 22-20, when Connelly sided out to push to 21 points. Connelly subbed in freshman setter Haylie Butler and ended the game with 4 tough serves. The last play of the game was a kill by Senior leader Chanelle Neal. "It was a tough game that the girls played great in," Currier said. "Our unsung hero was Nicole Han. Her leadership took us to the next level and her passing was nails down the stretch to make sure our setters were able to get the ball out to every girl the way they wanted it," he said.
Seven of the Connelly players are former students of St. Hedwig in Los Alamitos and St. Ireneaus in
School, founded in 1961, is a Catholic, independent, college-preparatory high school for young women. Connelly's exceptional curriculum and programs prepare young women to be leaders based on an underlying philosophy of trust, reverence and respect. Connelly's student body is a tapestry of socio-economic and cultural diversity, reflecting the population of
Photo caption: Cornelia Connelly School, four-time CIF SS Division V-AA Volleyball Champions (back - 1eft to right): Coach Garry Currier, Haylie Butler (of Rossmoor), Nicole Han (of Long Beach), Nicole Yost (of Seal Beach), Stephanie Maddox (of Anaheim), Chanelle Neal (of Huntington Beach), Kathleen Chelling (Los Alamitos), Bronte Cummings (Hacienda Heights), Emily Rosales (Villa Park) and Brooke Showalter (of Anaheim);
(front - left to right): Kayla Rastgoo (of
Norwalk), Gecelle de Guia (of
Cerritos), Katherine Han (
Long Beach), Jessica Mediaz (
Whittier), Sarah Virgil (
Cypress) and Vivian Acevedo (