REDLANDS - The Redlands East Valley volleyball team had to wait a little bit longer than other teams to get their playoff run started.
That's the benefit of having a first-round bye as the No. 1 seed in Division II-AA.
The Wildcats (21-1) opened their bid at a second-straight CIF title by bouncing visiting Torrance (16-11) in three straight games, 25-16, 25-8 and 25-13 on Thursday night.
"We had to get this one out of the way to move on," said REV's Krista Vansant, who led the team with 11 kills. "It's a good confidence builder for us."
In Game 1 the Tartars stayed close with the Wildcats but with the score locked at six REV used the serving of Kyla Orpeza to build a four-point lead.
In the closest game of the match, the Wildcats stretched to a 17-10 lead, stringing six consecutive points with Tori Brummett serving, two on blocks by Casey Tidwell. Vansant then had three late kills to get the score at 24-16 before a Torrance service error won the game for the Wildcats.
"In the first game we were kinda shaky getting started but as we kept going our momentum starts building up and we get more points," Brummett said. "Finally when we broke away, our momentum just started picking up a lot."
Wildcats setter Johnna Fouch, who finished with 26 assists, put her team in the right position to win in the last two games.
Fouch's serving got REV out to a 4-0 lead in Game 2 and then a 7-0 lead in Game 3. From there, her hard-hitting teammates had gotten into rhythm.
"I put her there for a reason," REV coach Tricia Vansant said of Fouch. "She's an awesome server and obviously takes charge of our offense, she's huge."
Brummett had eight of her nine kills in Game 2 alone but the intimidation factor that came along with her team-high seven blocks had many of Torrance's kill attempts sailing high and out of bounds.
"They deserve their ranking, their record is earned, they've got a lot of polish," Torrance coach Nathan Jones said. "Winning helps, and when you win that much and you win that well, they play with a lot of confidence and it shows."
Redlands East Valley will host West Covina South Hills on Saturday at 7 p.m. in the quarterfinals.