The tradition started at the very beginning of the season, warming up in Hawaii, as Mira Costa coach Cam Green looked up from the bench.
Out of the blue, over the loudspeakers, Lizzo’s “About Damn Time” started blasting. And in a high-pressure situation, Green saw his team start singing, laughing and dancing.
“I thought, ‘We’re going to win this match,’ ” Green said.
The Mustangs did, beating Sierra Canyon to win the Ann Kang Invitational, never looking back in making “About Damn Time” the theme of their season. They’ve played it after every win since, and there have been quite a few — 36, to be exact, after a 3-2 (25-23, 25-20, 22-25, 22-25, 15-11) victory over Mater Dei in the last round of pool play Saturday night to clinch a berth in the Southern Section Division 1 finals.
Funny how life works. The team Mira Costa will play for the title? Sierra Canyon, where “It’s About Damn Time” first began.
The Trailblazers actually had the pool wrapped up before a fifth set Saturday night against Marymount. A step-by-step breakdown under the Division 1 new pool-play format:
- Marymount and Newport Harbor both entered Saturday with 1-1 playoff records while Sierra Canyon was 2-0, setting up a potential three-way tie if Newport Harbor and Marymount both won Saturday night. If Newport Harbor lost and Marymount won, Sierra Canyon and Marymount would play a tiebreaker to decide the pool.
- In the event of a three-way tie, a winner is decided by highest overall percentage of sets won in the pool. Sierra Canyon already had that clinched, meaning a Newport Harbor win would break the possibility of a two-way tie between the Trailblazers and Sailors, and Sierra Canyon would automatically advance.
Phew. Eyes glaze over yet? In any case, Wigfall had told her assistant not to reveal results of the Newport Harbor-Huntington Beach match unless something favorable happened. And before that final set against Marymount, Wigfall’s assistant told her the good news: Newport Harbor had won, meaning Sierra Canyon would win by virtue of set ratio even if Marymount won.
When Wigfall told her players, though, it boosted their spirits, she said, buoying them to a 15-11 win in the final set over the Sailors that left warm and fuzzy feelings rather than slumping into the championship on the heels of a loss.
“It’s important that Mira Costa knows we beat Marymount, and we’re just going to try to get better,” Wigfall said.
The stage for Saturday’s championship at Cerritos College is set: No. 1 seed Mira Costa against No. 2 Sierra Canyon. Individually, it will pit Mira Costa’s energetic 5-foot-10 Drew Wright against Sierra Canyon’s dominant 6-4 Olivia Babcock.
And you’ll know the winner based on whether you hear the echo of a postgame rendition of Lizzo’s song by the Mustangs.