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Array ( [0] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 30157 [title] => Mater Dei's comeback stuns Santa Margarita [alias] => mater-dei-s-comeback-stuns-santa-margarita [catid] => 10 [published] => 1 [introtext] =>

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(End of Game 5, won by Mater Dei 15-13.)

There was no doubt where Mater Dei was going with the ball.

All it needed was a pass, sophomore Shannon Scully delivering a dime and putting the final attack in motion.

Seniors Payton Chang and Alyse Ford did the rest, Chang shooting a set to the outside and Ford going over the block and down in front of the back row for her 32nd kill.

It capped Mater Dei’s dramatic rally over visiting Santa Margarita in five games, 21-25, 20-25, 25-21, 25-22, 15-13, in Trinity League play Wednesday night. Santa Margarita took the first league meeting in five games, but trails Mater Dei by a half game in the standings after the latest result.

Mater Dei is 5-1 with two matches remaining, while Santa Margarita is 4-1 with three to play. Should the teams end tied for first place, a coin flip will determine which squad goes to CIF as the first-place representative.

“It was cool to see the girls fight being down 10-7 in Game 5,” Mater Dei coach Dan O’Dell said. “We came out with the mentality to keep fighting, fighting, fighting and figure out how to win. We had some good serves and got them out of system. Our block was a little better and we made some plays. We just happened to get the right swing at the right time to take the game.”

Three Things:

1. Race to 15. The thing about the fifth set is it has a tendency to overshadow anything else that happened in the match. It’s difficult for the final set not to carry more significance than the four that came before.

Game 5 Wednesday between Mater Dei and Santa Margarita was a near-perfection summation of what happened prior, Santa Margarita starting hot and positioned well only to have Mater Dei pull the rug out from underneath.

Santa Margarita was six points from a sweep, four points away from winning in four, and then rushed out to an 8-5 margin in the final set. When junior middle Jackie Ghindia connected on a slide, Santa Margarita was up 10-7.

Those final five points needed for victory never came, Mater Dei catching Santa Margarita at 12. The Eagles were still only three tantalizing points away, but another error forced the Eagles to call timeout and Mater Dei had its first lead of the set at 13-12.

Ford, junior middle Mckenna Martin and senior opposite Jacqueline Wolfe combined on a triple block to give Mater Dei match point at 14-12. Junior opposite Ashley Campbell’s kill kept Santa Margarita in it at 14-13.

The final point was quite simple.

Mater Dei was going to go to Ford, whose rhythm kept improving as the match went on. Santa Margarita did a good job early on of serving Mater Dei short and breaking their timing up. However, Santa Margarita went away from that tactic as the match went on and it seemed like Mater Dei started picking up its rhythm.

Some of it also had to do with senior night and Mater Dei playing its seniors in Game 1. It affected the normal lineup, as Ford didn’t play in the back row until Game 2 and Chang didn’t hit front row until the second set as well.

That’s when Scully and Martin entered as well, with freshman Siena Secrist playing libero the final four sets.

From Mater Dei’s perspective, that was a gutsy victory because Mater Dei only looked sharp in spurts. And it fought from behind, not only in Game 5, but late in Game 4 as well when Santa Margarita led 21-20 after senior outside Claire Archibald went off the block.

It was big for Mater Dei because there chance at gaining a high seed for CIF remains alive if it can win the coin flip.

That’s about the only silver lining in this for Santa Margarita, that the Eagles still have a shot at being the first-place team as well.

It’s not a short trip back to Santa Margarita from Mater Dei and it’ll be that much longer after Wednesday. There is no other way to say it than that is a bitter pill to swallow for Santa Margarita, being up 2-0 and having numerous opportunities to close it out.

What Santa Margarita has shown so far this season is it can be competitive against anybody it plays. The final step is moving from knowing they can compete with anybody to knowing they can beat anybody.

Another thing is Santa Margarita coach Katy Daly doesn’t like talking about the youth on her team, but reality is reality and Santa Margarita has two seniors – Archibald and Brooke Hirtzel.

Freshmen Devon Chang (57 assists), Haley Carmo and Sarah Ciczke all played Wednesday. Outside Meghan McClure is a sophomore, as is middle Hannah Dolan. Libero Jane Horner joins Campbell and Ghindia as juniors.

It’s a process learning how to win.

“I think we have volleyball players but we need to learn it’s not over until the ref blows the whistle,” Daly said. “I think we got caught up in nerves in the end. They can fight with the top teams. I’m trying to convince them they are the top team but they still have that look like are you sure.

“They should be proud that they can play at this level but no to doubt themselves. We doubted ourselves at times.”

2. Wasn’t expecting that. Having watched Mater Dei and Santa Margarita play in the finals of the California Challenge two weekends ago – a match Mater Dei swept – I knew this one was going to be much different. First of all, Santa Margarita isn’t really built for tournaments.

Secondly, Santa Margarita played Mater Dei tough despite being swept. However, I didn’t think Santa Margarita would put Mater Dei in a hole like it did.

If Santa Margarita could bottle the first couple sets and put it on repeat for the rest of the season, the Eagles might not lose. McClure and Archibald were awesome on the outside.

In fact, through the first three sets Ford had 17 kills for Mater Dei, but McClure had 16 and Archibald 14. While Ford was steady numbers wise the rest of the way, Mater Dei started making up the gap some with Chang on the right side and senior Brittany Welsh in the middle.

They each finished with seven kills. Scully chipped in with five.

McClure ended with a team-high 23, while Archibald had 20. Campbell and Ghindia had five kills apiece.

You can see in the numbers where each side can get better.

Neither team produced big numbers in the middle. Part of it was the outsides were playing well. It can be hard not to go to Ford, especially when she was heating up late in the match.

Still, Santa Margarita’s defense was giving Mater Dei fits early on. I’ve seen Santa Margarita play a few times now and those first couple of sets is about as good as I’ve seen them on defense, with Horner (19 digs) anchoring a back row that was making play after play.

I would have never thought Santa Margarita would come into Mater Dei and produce a sweep, but it looked like it was heading that way.

Archibald and Ghindia delivered a block and Santa Margarita was up 17-15 in Game 3. Ford came up with a monster kill off the pipe and Scully followed with a block and it was 17 all.

Tied at 19, a sweep was still in sight, but Santa Margarita made consecutive errors before Emillie Wright’s ace had Mater Dei up 22-19. Wright was a strong serving sub for Mater Dei throughout the match.

Mater Dei was up 17-14 in Game 4, but Archibald went off the block and Santa Margarita was up 21-20 later on. It capped a long rally and Santa Margarita had momentum.

Santa Margarita even had a swing to go up 22-20 but hit out and it was 21 all instead. Ford came up with back-to-back kills and it was 23-21.

There was a focus to Mater Dei’s comeback and some of it started early on in Game 3.

Ford went up and crushed a ball down to tie the score at 5. It was a highlight-type of play but she had zero reaction to it. It was as if there was no time to celebrate, only time to get to work.

I even made a note that she looks mad.

Still, it wasn’t like Mater Dei could totally shake loose of Santa Margarita. The way Mater Dei closed out the fourth set I thought the Monarchs would control the fifth set but that wasn’t the case.

That’s what made this match remarkable, seeing Mater Dei mostly playing from behind and still winning. That rarely happens.

3. Why it matters. Here’s why that loss is so heartbreaking for Santa Margarita. A victory would’ve all but clinched the outright Trinity League title for Santa Margarita. Considering Santa Margarita owns a victory over Lakewood, the Eagles might have been looking at a Top 4 seed for CIF.

Beating Mater Dei would’ve made things a lot clearer.

As it stands, a coin flip is likely to determine which teams goes to CIF as the first-place representative. It’s huge because whichever team wins it is looking at a pretty good seeding for CIF.

If Santa Margarita wins it, Mater Dei would have to be seeded below Santa Margarita. That could set up a possible quarterfinal match with Redondo Union or Lakewood instead of say the teams meeting in the semis instead if Mater Dei were seeded higher.

So if Mater Dei wins in the coin flip, Santa Margarita might be looking at playing someone like Redondo or Lakewood in the quarters.

Mater Dei and Santa Margarita wouldn’t face each other again this season unless they meet in the CIF finals. They have to be an opposite sides of the draw if they finish first and second in league.

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There was no doubt where Mater... [numOfComments] => 0 ) [1] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 30154 [title] => Girls HS: Weekly Wrap (Oct. 20) [alias] => girls-hs-weekly-wrap-oct-20 [catid] => 10 [published] => 1 [introtext] =>

Seven weeks down, seven to go but not for all.

Only teams reaching the semis of the state playoffs will make it to the final week of the season.

There’s only two and a half weeks left in the regular season, so for teams not making CIF the year is almost over.

As for the postseason awards race, things are just getting started. Player of the Year and the All So Cal team reflects the entire season, regular and playoffs.

The bottom line is it’s hard to receive any postseason award recognition if your team didn’t make the playoffs.

In fact, what happens in the playoffs influences things just as much as what happens in the regular season, maybe even a bit more so.

Below is a look at some of the Player of the Year candidates and other possible awards. It’s important to remember a couple of things.

One, things can change and in a big way between now and the end of the year.

Two, the postseason awards aren’t like AYSO soccer where everyone gets a medal for participating. Considering there are roughly 600 schools in So Cal, the final list is exclusive.

The process is also subjective.

I look at a combination of a player’s talent, impact on the team and overall team success as factors.

I thought a good place to start would be with the current Top 10.

Top-ranked Redondo Union has a litany of players in consideration at this point.

The only issue for Redondo is the might be splitting POY votes among each other. Seniors Abril Bustamante (MB), Yassie Bedart-Ghani (OH) and Kristin Hamlin (MB) are all impactful players at their respective positions, as are juniors Norene Iosia (S) and Katie Barkley (L).

They are all in the conversation as being the best at their positions. Iosia might have a slight advantage in the POY race being the setter and being so involved in everything that happens.

Lakewood is another team with multiple players in the award race in seniors Megan Kruidhof (OH), Megann Delgado (Opp) and Sarah Miller (OH). But like Redondo, those three might be splitting potential POY votes among themselves.

Delgado is one of the top opposites in So Cal this season and with Lakewood’s success so far, she is in a good spot. Outside is so much deeper than opposite that nothing is a lock, even for players like Miller and Kruidhof that are vital to Lakewood’s success.

Setting is another position that’s hard to crack. Sophomore Shelbie Dobmeier is doing well for Lakewood and would have to be considered in the conversation, but it’s going to be difficult to break through based on what’s also out there.

Aliso Niguel’s duo of senior Lindsey Ruddins (OH) and junior Kathryn Plummer (S/Opp) are six-rotation contributors and have to be in the running for POY and All So Cal team selections based on Aliso’s success so far. A deep postseason run from Aliso Niguel would make it hard to exclude either.

Santa Margarita has a clear candidate in sophomore outside Meghan McClure. At the same time, outside is a deep position and never easy to break through. Freshman setter Devon Chang is also in the conversation, but it’s a relatively big list through the first seven weeks of the season.

Santa Margarita has switched between senior Brooke Hertel and junior Jane Horner at libero. It’s something to keep on eye as the season progresses, but both would be in consideration if the awards came out at this point.

Santiago has four players in the discussion – junior setter Jessie Prichard, senior setter/opposite Lauren Lee, junior middle MaKayla Wolfe and senior libero Natalia Betancourt. Prichard is in the conversation among best setters in So Cal.

Lee does so much for Santiago and will get a strong look. Middle is another position that can be tough to break through at, but Wolfe has led Santiago in kills in several matches. Betancourt is solid and has to be in the conversation based on Santiago’s success so far.

Corona del Mar’s possible selections at this point would include senior Katie Craig (OH), senior Paige Migliori and junior Jessie Harris (S/Opp). Those players basically don’t leave the court for CdM.

Mater Dei is an interesting case. Senior Alyse Ford is one of the top outsides in So Cal, yet she had to sit out. It brings up the point, be it injury or transfer period, how much time missed is too much time missed to be under consideration.

With the most important part of the schedule still ahead, there’s enough time left if Mater Dei makes a deep enough run to get in the conversation. If the awards were released today, Ford wouldn’t be on it but that could change by the end of the season.

Two others that are in the picture if the awards came out now would be senior Payton Chang (S/Opp) and senior Brittany Welsh (MB). Chang does so much for Mater Dei and was the glue that held Mater Dei together through an eventful first month of the season.

Marymount is an interesting case. Senior Tyler Spriggs is one of the strongest attackers around. At the same time, she subs out in the back row so it makes it a hard call as what to do. Meanwhile, junior Michaela Keefe stays in and is a big part of what the Sailors do.

Senior Kyra Smith and junior Charlie Robinson are both solid middles and in the running at that position. Junior Caitlin Keefe has inherited the libero role this season. She might not be in the conversations quite yet, but if she keeps improving at the rate she has been she could be there by the end of the year.

Torrey Pines has two clear candidates in senior Savannah Rennie (Opp) and junior Savvy Simo (OH). Rennie joins Delgado as one of the few opposites that plays for six rotations. That’s a big plus in her favor.

Simo is fun to watch and is a key cog for Torrey Pines. She just is caught in the deep position of outsides where there are usually no guarantees.

Flintridge Sacred Heart rounds out the Top 10 and has three players in the running – sophomore Kayla Lund (OH), senior Sophia Coffey (S) and senior Emily Develle (L). Take any of the three off FSH and it’s a different team.

A rundown through the rest of the Top 25:

11. La Costa Canyon – Casey Jacobs (Sr, L)

12. Mira Costa – Skylar Caputo (Sr, OH); Emma Smith (Jr, L)

13. Redlands East Valley – Sascha Dominique (Sr, MB); Jayln Knight (Sr, OH); Vashti Knight (Jr, OH)

14. Villa Park – Payton Grahovac (Sr, MB)

15. Chino Hills – Meghan Buzzerio (Sr, OH); Sarah Dixon (Sr, S)

16. Great Oak – Bailee Huizenga (Jr, Opp); Cindy Marina (Jr, S); Amy Underdown (Jr, MB)

17. Village Christian – Meghan Lacey (Jr, OH); Kyra Banko (Jr, OH); Selby Schnobrich (Jr, S)

18. Vista Murrieta – Amanda Pedersen-Henry (Sr, MB); Rachel Woody (Sr, Opp); Brianna Doehrmann (Jr, L); Madison Nunley (Soph, S)

19. Bishop’s – Kate Swanson (Sr, L); Abby Bertics (Sr, OH); Gretchen Cash (Sr, MB)

20. Canyon Crest Academy – Jolie Rasmussen (Jr, OH); Rebecca Maloney (Jr, S)

21. Long Beach Poly – Erin Williams (Sr, MB)

22. Valencia – Lindsey Knudsen (Sr, OH)

23. Westview – Kolby Bird (Sr,OH); Izzy Guzik (Jr, OH); Stephanie Rolfson (Sr, S)

24. Francis Parker (24) – Grace Forren (Sr, OH); Sien Gallop (Jr, OH)

25. Huntington Beach – Cami Sanchez (Soph, OH)

Those are players from Top 25 teams, but the candidates list for All So Cal consideration doesn’t end there necessarily.

Another player to think about is someone like Notre Dame/SO’s Zana Muno. Muno is one of the most talented players around, but how do you balance that with the results of Notre Dame’s schedule so far.

Someone similar is a player like Rancho Cucamonga’s Kylie Miller, who is another fantastic all-around talent. But does Rancho’s season so far warrant her making the list or not.

There’s a player like Fallbrooks’ Kendra Dahlke, who is one of the top outsides around but her team’s results probably aren’t there to get her selected.

There are plenty more examples like these three, where teams have a great player but maybe not the results. It always makes the selection process difficult.

Decisions like them don’t have to be made now, but those are things to think about as the next seven weeks grind down.


*no movement among Top 8 teams

1. Redondo Union – Last week was key for Redondo, which took control of the Bay League race by beating Mira Costa in four. Redondo also defeated Palos Verdes. The Sea Hawks remain undefeated in the standings and are positioned for no worse than finishing with a share of the league title. Redondo’s toughest obstacle before facing Mira Costa in the league finale is against Peninsula next week.

2. Lakewood – Lakewood dropped its first set in Moore League play when it beat Long Beach Poly in four games last week. Lakewood also swept Cabrillo to remain undefeated and on top of the league standings. Lakewood has all but wrapped up the Moore title. Lakewood still has to play Wilson, which is the only team with a realistic chance of upsetting Lakewood left on the Lancers’ schedule. Even if that happens, Lakewood would still be at least a game ahead of Wilson in the standings. Lakewood continues league this week before facing Harvard-Westlake in a nonleague match Friday. With all of its tournament play left, Lakewood is set up to earn a high seed come CIF. If the Lancers win out, they would certainly be seeded no worse than No. 2 in 1-AA.

3. Aliso Niguel – Aliso’s march through the Sea View League continued with two more sweeps – against El Toro and Mission Viejo. Up this week are Laguna Hills and Trabuco Hills.

4. Santa Margarita – It was a routine week for the Eagles last week as they swept Orange Lutheran and JSerra and are still unbeaten in Trinity League action. It’s a huge week ahead for Santa Margarita, which has its league rematch with Mater Dei. Santa Margarita won the first contest and could clinch the outright league title with a victory Wednesday.

5. Santiago – Santiago swept Norco and Roosevelt to stay in undefeated in the Big VIII standings. Santiago faces Corona on Tuesday before taking on King again. Santiago beat King in the first league meeting, but King knocked off Santiago in the finals of the Ayala Tournament two weeks ago.

6. Corona del Mar – Beckman took the opening set off of Corona del Mar before the Sea Kings came back to win in four in Pacific Coast League play last week. CdM swept Northwood the next time out to stay undefeated and in firm control of the league standings. CdM faces Irvine and Woodbridge as league continues this week.

7. Mater Dei – Mater Dei had a week off to rest and recover before beginning a crucial week. Mater Dei takes on JSerra on Tuesday. It could be a potential trap match for Mater Dei, which hosts Santa Margarita the next night. Mater Dei’s only shot at a league title comes by beating Santa Margarita, something Mater Dei did in the finals of the California Challenge.

8. Marymount – The Sailors stayed undefeated in the Mission League by topping Notre Dame/SO in four and sweeping Marlborough last week. Marymount has just one match this week but it’s a big one as the Sailors travel to Flintridge Sacred Heart. FSH is currently in second place and trails Marymount by a game. Marymount won the first meeting in four.

9. Torrey Pines – Torrey Pines climbs up one spot in the rankings after sweeping Canyon Crest last week in its only match. Torrey Pines has a busier week ahead, facing Mt. Carmel, Westview and Rancho Bernardo in league play. Westview and Torrey Pines are currently both undefeated in league so far and still have two matches remaining, counting Wednesday’s clash.

10. Flintridge Sacred Heart – Last week was great for FSH, which swept Harvard-Westlake and Notre Dame/SO in Mission League competition before going undefeated and winning the So Cal Invitational. FSH moved up three spots and back into the Top 10. The Tologs resume league against Marlborough on Tuesday before a critical rematch against Marymount on Thursday.

11. La Costa Canyon – LCC’s in schedule lull currently and hasn’t been challenged recently. The Mavs swept El Camino and Vista last week. League continues with Carlsbad and Sage Creek this week before LCC faces Cathedral Catholic in nonleague action Friday.

12. Mira Costa – The Mustangs dropped one spot after losing to Redondo in four games in Bay League play. Mira Costa has a rematch with Peninsula this week. Peninsula pushed Mira Costa to five games in the first league meeting, so that one could be interesting again.

13. Redlands East Valley – REV’s march through the Citrus Belt went on with sweeps over Redlands and Miller. Up next this week is Eisenhower and Cajon. REV did drop a match to Serrano over the weekend in tournament play.

14. Villa Park – Villa Park climbed up one spot in the rankings. The Spartans swept El Dorado in Foothill last week to finish the first half of Crestview League play undefeated and in first place. Villa Park has nonleague matches against Brea and Esperanza this week.

15. Chino Hills – Chino Hills also moves up one spot and back inside the Top 15. The Huskies beat St. Lucy’s and Etiwanda in Baseline League last week and can put a stranglehold on the standings this week. Chino Hills plays Los Osos and Rancho Cucamonga, which is currently in second place. If Rancho beats St. Lucy’s on Tuesday and Chino Hills wins both matches this week, the Huskies will have a two-game lead with four to play.

16. Great Oak – Great Oak is up two spots to No. 16 and faces a big week ahead. Great Oak stayed unbeaten in the Southwestern League by sweeping Temecula Valley and Murrieta Mesa last week. However, the competition takes an upswing this week as Great Oak hosts Murrieta Valley and Vista Murrieta. Murrieta Valley is a game behind Great Oak, while Vista Murrieta is seeking to avenge an earlier league loss to Great Oak. Two victories this week puts Great Oak in great shape toward winning league.

17. Village Christian – Village Christian’s run through the Olympic League continued by sweeping Heritage Christian. Village Christian then swept La Canada in a nonleague match between 2-AA teams. League play continues with matches against Maranatha and Whittier Christian this week.

18. Vista Murrieta – Vista Murrieta picked up a pair of Southwestern League victories against Murrieta Mesa and Chaparral last week. The Chaparral match was close to a must-win one for Vista Murrieta. The Broncos close the first half of league against Temecula Valley on Tuesday before facing Great Oak in a rematch Thursday. Vista Murrieta would still need help from Great Oak to get a share of the league title, but beating Great Oak on Thursday could go a long way toward Vista Murrieta finishing second in league after opening up 0-2.

19. Bishop’s – Bishop’s is up to a season-high No. 19 after beating Parker in four games in Coastal League action last week then finishing third at the Nike Invitational. Bishop’s lost to Xavier Prep in the semifinals. Bishop’s continues league this week against La Jolla Country Day.

20. Canyon Crest Academy – Canyon Crest fell to Torrey Pines in league play last week, then took third at the So Cal Invitational. CCA picks up with league action this week against Mt. Carmel and Poway. 

21. Long Beach Poly Poly remains in second place in Moore League after falling to Lakewood last week. Millikan is up this week as Poly continues its league schedule.

22. Valencia – Valencia was upset in five games by Hart in Foothill League competition last week. It dropped Valencia eight spots in the rankings, but the Vikings remained in the Top 25 on the strength of a couple of strong victories. Valencia also played in the Nike Invitational, where it came in ninth place. The Vikings face West Ranch and Saugus in a pair of Foothill matches this week.

23. Westview – The Wolverines beat Rancho Bernardo in four games last week and had a bit of a tough go at the So Cal Invitational. Westview lost to La Jolla and Bishop Montgomery and fell three spots to No. 23. Westview has Torrey Pines and Mt. Carmel in league matches this week. The match against Torrey Pines is for first place.

24. Francis Parker – Parker lost its only match last week to Bishop’s in four games. It dropped Parker to second place in the Coastal standings. Parker looks to get back on track this week with league matches against Santa Fe Christian and Calvin Christian.

25. Huntington Beach – The Oilers re-enter the Top 25 this week. Huntington Beach beat Fountain Valley and Marina last week to stay unbeaten in the Sunset League standings. Two key matches await the Oilers this week, as league continues with Edison and a road trip to Los Al.


South swept North, 25-15, 25-16, 25-21, in a key Pioneer League showdown last Thursday. South was ranked No. 2 and North No. 3 in Division 2-AA heading into the match, so there were ranking implications on top of the league standings.

South now leads North by one game for first place. The two teams have split the past two league titles. South won the first meeting each of the past two years, so the rematch between the teams is going to be huge.

Santa Barbara had a solid week in the Channel League race. The Dons capped the week by sweeping Dos Pueblos, 25-12, 25-19, 25-20. Dos Pueblos beat Ventura earlier in the week to take over sole possession of first place.

As it stands, Dos Pueblos, Santa Barbara, San Marcos and Ventura are separated by a half game. Dos Pueblos is 4-2, while Santa Barbara, San Marcos and Ventura are 3-2.

San Marcos clipped Buena in five, 25-17, 24-26, 25-23, 24-26, 15-11, Thursday to stay in the three-way tie for second.

Dana Hills swept San Juan Hills 30-28, 25-12, 25-22, in South Coast League action. Dana Hills upset San Clemente on Tuesday and after beating San Juan Hills, the Dolphins are 2-2 and lead San Juan by a game.

Not bad considering Dana Hills began the week 0-2 in league and now sits in a three-way tie for second at 2-2 with Tesoro and Capo Valley. San Clemente is 3-1.

Tesoro defeated Capo Valley in four, 25-20, 26-28, 25-20, 25-18, Thursday to help create the three-way tie. It’s another league race that’s bunched together.

Murrieta Valley swept Temecula Valley, 25-23, 25-12, 25-20, to remain in second place in the Southwestern League standings at 3-1. Murrieta Valley trails Great Oak (4-0) by a game. Temecula Valley is 1-3 and in danger of missing out on the playoffs.

Vista Murrieta and Chaparral are tied for third at 2-2.

Palos Verdes downed Peninsula in four games, 19-25, 25-20, 27-25, 25-22, in Bay League play last Thursday. That was surprising considering Peninsula pushed Mira Costa to five games and took a set off of Redondo.

Palos Verdes and Peninsula will meet in the league finale and it’s likely to determine the final playoff spot. Palos Verdes has the upper hand now.

The Olympic League produced a pair of five-gamers Thursday. Valley Christian edged Whittier Christian, 25-19, 13-25, 25-23, 20-25, 15-13, in the first. In the second, Heritage Christian defeated Maranatha, 25-22, 22-25, 16-25, 26-24, 15-10.

Valley’s victory over Whittier (2-2) kept Valley (3-1) in second place, a game behind Village Christian (4-0). Heritage improved to 1-3 after beating Maranatha to keep its playoffs hopes alive.

Palm Springs held off Palm Desert in five, 22-25, 25-13, 18-25, 25-22, 15-8, to remain undefeated and in first place in the Desert Valley League. Palm Desert fell to 5-2 and is tied for second with Xavier Prep.

Flintridge Sacred Heart beat La Jolla, 25-16, in a one-game final for the So Cal Invitational title Saturday.

FSH beat Canyon Crest to start play on Day 2, winning in three. FSH also picked up victories over Poway and Scripps Ranch before beating Bishop Montgomery, 25-15, in the semis.

La Jolla beat Bishop Montgomery in seeding play Saturday, then earned a solid win over Westview in three, 25-20, 23-25, 17-15. La Jolla kept it going, beating Canyon Crest, 25-15, in the semis.

Oaks Christian finished first in the Silver Bracket at the Nike Invitational in Arizona.

Oaks Christian defeated Horizon, 25-27, 25-22, 15-13, in the final. Oaks Christian beat Mayfield, 17-25, 25-13, 17-15, in the semis. Cathedral Catholic went on to beat Mayfield, 29-27, 20-25, 17-15, for third place in silver.


A look at some of the best performances from last week:

Halland McKenna and Kekai Whitford turned in huge games as Sage Hill rallied past St. Margaret’s in five, 22-25, 22-25, 25-13, 25-22, 15-11. McKenna finished with 23 kills and 25 digs, while Whitford had 24 kills and 17 digs.

Marissa Vialpando turned in a double-double with 24 kills and 13 digs as Notre Dame/R beat Ontario Christian, 25-20, 21-25, 25-20, 25-17.

Colette Franz put up 20 kills as Viewpoint clipped Sierra Canyon in five, 20-25, 25-23, 25-22, 21-25, 16-14, in a key Gold Coast League result.

Katie Wiere made 23 digs in La Reina’s nonleague victory over Buena in five, 25-23, 25-17, 15-25, 20-25, 15-11.

Clare Lenihan recorded 17 kills and 11 blocks and Jillian Parks finished with 20 digs as Chadwick downed Westridge in five games, 25-23, 23-25, 25-21, 13-25, 15-8, in Prep League competition.

Lexi Sun registered 17 kills and 15 digs as Santa Fe Christian beat Calvin Christian in four, 35-33, 25-13, 18-25, 25-20.

Katherine Brouker put down 25 kills when West Hills beat Granite Hills, 19-25, 25-12, 25-23, 25-21.

Kianna Smith ended with 14 kills and 21 digs as JW North beat Poly/R, 23-25, 25-21, 25-19, 25-22. Natahlee Wilson added 21 digs for North.

Jewel Hays delivered 7 aces as Aliso Niguel swept Mission Viejo, 25-14, 25-8, 25-13.

Julia Hitzel made 37 digs in Palos Verdes’ victory over Peninsula in four games, 19-25, 25-20, 27-25, 25-22.


With two and a half weeks to go before the close of the regular season, league races are heating up all over So Cal.

It’s the lightest weekend of the season coming up in terms of tournament play, so much of the focus is on what happens during the week.

Top 5 Matches to Watch For:

5. Windward at Viewpoint, Tue

Windward remains undefeated in the Gold Coast standings. However, Viewpoint is only a half-game out of first place. Windward defeated Viewpoint in four games in the first meeting between the teams. Windward is currently ranked No. 3 in Division 2-A, where Viewpoint is No. 4. So not only is the league race on the line, but there are ranking implications resting on the outcome as well. Viewpoint is coming off a five-game victory over Sierra Canyon. It was the only sets Viewpoint lost in league other than against Windward. Meanwhile, Windward hasn’t dropped a set in four consecutive matches since beating Sierra Canyon in five games. Windward received balanced production in the first victory, with Tae-Leon Butler (17 kills), Christina Cornelius (15k) and Erin Davis (10k) all reaching double figures in kills. Viewpoint got 20 kills from Colette Franz in the first go around. Stephanie Libonati added 10 kills, but Viewpoint needs a little more help in the rematch.

Prediction – Windward in 5.

4. No. 23 Westview at No. 9 Torrey Pines, Wed

When the season started there was talk about Torrey Pines and Westview being the best squads in San Diego this season. There’s no denying Torrey Pines has lived up to that expectation. The Falcons haven’t lost to a county team all season. Meanwhile, Westivew has had some mixed results lately. Torrey Pines comes into the match as the favorite, but that was the case last year when Westview extended Torrey Pines to five games before falling. Both teams are undefeated so far through league, so the winner takes over sole possession of first place. There is also one more meeting between the teams yet to come. There’s going to be a lot of excitement and energy surrounding the match. Torrey Pines had a rough time at the California Challenge but rebounded by sweeping Canyon Crest last week.

Prediction – Torrey Pines in 4.

3. No. 18 Vista Murrieta at No. 16 Great Oak, Thu

Great Oak made a statement when it swept Vista Murrieta in the league opener the first time the teams hooked up. No matter what happens Tuesday against Murrieta Valley, Great Oak will still be in first place when the rematch happens with Vista Murrieta. Great Oak sweeping Vista Murrieta the first time was stunning not so much in the victory but how it happened. Great Oak stumbled the week before against Chaparral, while Vista Murrieta was riding a hot streak. The way Great Oak won the first contest surely has the attention of Vista Murrieta in the rematch. The Broncos are sure to play a desperate brand of volleyball. For Great Oak, it’s about not getting complacent and relying on the results of the first outcome. This match should be much different. The good news for Great Oak is a victory over Murrieta Valley on Tuesday gives Great Oak at least a two-game lead over Vista Murrieta heading into this one. That means Great Oak could be playing with the luxury of knowing even if it loses it remains alone in first place. Still, this is a type of match up where both teams are going to be ready for the other. Where the last match was a sweep, it would be just as shocking to see either team produce a sweep this time.

Prediction – Great Oak in 5.

2. No. 8 Marymount at No. 10 Flintridge Sacred Heart, Thu

This is a giant Mission League showdown because the winner of the league race is likely to receive a high seed come CIF. Marymount currently has the upper hand by winning the first clash in four games. The Sailors remain undefeated and atop the league standings. FSH has done well against the rest of the league, so if the Tologs can find a way to pull through they will be even with Marymount in the standings and could be positioned to earn a share of the league title. FSH felt some of its youth showed up in the first match and that the moment might have gotten to the team. This time around should be different. FSH is playing at home and has a much better idea of what to expect. Still, it won’t be easy. Marymount is playing well and is probably even more confident than it was in the first meeting. Marymount is the bigger, more physical team and that gives Marymount more of a margin of error to play with. FSH must win the fundamentals of serving and passing to have a shot. If FSH can win that battle, then the Tologs can win the match. However, the feeling is Marymount has too much for FSH to try and contain.

Prediction – Marymount in 4.

1. No. 4 Santa Margarita at No. 7 Mater Dei, Wed

This is the biggest match of the week. The teams meet for the fourth time, with Trinity League and Division 1-AA implications on the line. Santa Margarita beat Mater Dei in five games in the first meeting of league, but Alyse Ford wasn’t in the lineup for Mater Dei. She returned later that week and helped Mater Dei sweep Santa Margarita in the finals of the California Challenge. Mater Dei is expected to have its full lineup, so it makes Wednesday’s match different than the first league showdown. The thing is Santa Margarita has the upper hand because it won the first meeting. Santa Margarita basically clinch the outright title by beating Mater Dei, while Mater Dei can pull into a tie for first place with a victory. The teams know each other well, so there won’t be many surprises. It’ll simply come down to which team executes better. Mater Dei has the better offense, so Santa Margarita has to find a way to frustrate the Mater Dei attackers. That means getting lots of touches and digs and controlling the ball enough to take advantage in transition. The one thing we’ve learned about these teams is expect a close match, even with Ford in the lineup.

Prediction – Mater Dei in 5.

Others to Watch For:

Beckman at Northwood, Tue – Northwood beat Beckman in five games in the first Pacific Coast League go around. Northwood can put a strong grip on second place by winning the rematch. If not, Beckman and Northwood will be tied for second with a Beckman victory.

Dana Hills at Tesoro, Tue – The teams are tied at 2-2 in the South Coast League. Tesoro won the first meeting in four games. The winner remains in the hunt for the league title, while the loser continues its fight to make the playoffs.

Santa Barbara at San Marcos, Tue – The teams are tied at 3-2 in the Channel League standings, so it’s a big contest. Santa Barbara won the first meeting in three games. That it came in three was a bit of surprise. This one might be closer, with the winner pulling into a tie for first place with Dos Pueblos.

Harvard-Westlake at Norte Dame/SO, Tue – This is a big match for Notre Dame, which is trying to secure at least third place in the Mission League. Harvard-Westlake hasn’t won a match yet in league, but pushed Notre Dame to four in the first contest. If Notre Dame can win the rematch, it stands a good chance of finishing no worse than third and making the playoffs.

Westridge at Mayfield, Tue – Mayfield (5-2) leads Westridge (5-3) by a half game in the Prep League. Mayfield beat Westridge in five games in the first meeting, so anything goes in this one.

Edison at No. 25 Huntington Beach, Tue – Huntington Beach swept Edison in the first Sunset League contest, but nothing is guaranteed in this league this season.

Yucaipa at Citrus Valley, Tue – Citrus Valley (7-2) is trying to catch Yucaipa (8-1) for second place in the Citrus Belt League. Yucaipa won the first meeting in four games.

Alemany at Chaminade, Tue – The final two playoff spots in the Sunshine League could come down to these two teams. Alemany (3-1) is currently in second place and leads Chaminade (2-2) by a game. Alemany swept the first meeting.

Los Alamitos at Newport Harbor, Tue – Newport Harbor (4-1) is trying to hang onto at least second place in the Sunset League. Los Al (3-2) can pull even by taking down Newport Harbor in this one. Los Al lead 2-0 before falling in five games in the first contest.

Santa Fe Christian at No. 24 Parker, Tue – The teams are tied at 3-1 in the Coastal League standings. They haven’t played yet this season, so there is one more meeting between them after this one.

Cathedral Catholic at La Jolla, Wed – It’s La Jolla (6-2) leading Cathedral Catholic (5-3) by one game in the Western League race. However, Cathedral Catholic swept the first showdown between the teams. It makes this one interesting.

Poly/P at Chadwick, Thu – Poly/P (7-0) enters the week with a two-game lead over Chadwick (5-2) in the Prep League standings. Poly/P swept the first meeting. Both teams are ranked in Division 2-AA.

No. 15 Chino Hills at Rancho Cucamonga, Thu – The Baseline League could come down to these two teams. If Rancho can beat St. Lucy’s on Tuesday, then this meeting is going to be for first place. Chino Hills won the first contest in four games, but Rancho can pull into a tie for first by winning the rematch.

Capo Valley at Dana Hills, Thu – The teams started the week tied at 2-2 in the South Coast League. Depending on what happens Tuesday, the outcome of this is going to help shape the playoff race.

JSerra at Orange Lutheran, Thu – The final Trinity League playoff spot is on the line. JSerra beat OLu in the first contest and owns the inside track for third place. OLu winning this time around makes for a tie for third place.

No. 25 Huntington Beach at Los Alamitos, Thu – The teams went toe-to-toe the first time out, with Huntington Beach winning in five games. This one should be just as close.

Chaparral at Temecula Valley, Thu – The Southwestern League standings can get mixed up depending on what happens in this one. Chaparral took the first meeting in five games.

San Marcos at Dos Pueblos, Thu – With the Channel League standings bunched together, every contest matters. Dos Pueblos will try to hold onto first place with a victory.

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[event] => stdClass Object ( ) [postType] => [link] => /girls-volleyball/high-schools/item/30154-girls-hs-weekly-wrap-oct-20 [featuredIntroImage] => /media/k2/items/src/3173b76491a5fc15747cd05ed3d458db.jpg [featuredImageThumbnails] => stdClass Object ( [image_620x340] => media/k2/items/cache/620x340_3173b76491a5fc15747cd05ed3d458db.jpg [image_290x160] => media/k2/items/cache/290x160_3173b76491a5fc15747cd05ed3d458db.jpg [image_140x90] => media/k2/items/cache/140x90_3173b76491a5fc15747cd05ed3d458db.jpg [image_50x50] => media/k2/items/cache/50x50_3173b76491a5fc15747cd05ed3d458db.jpg ) [featuredIntrotext] => Seven weeks down, seven to go but not for all. Only teams reaching the semis... [numOfComments] => 2 ) [2] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 30153 [title] => Girls HS: Weekly Top 25 (Oct. 20) [alias] => girls-hs-weekly-top-25-oct-20 [catid] => 10 [published] => 1 [introtext] =>

(Current ranking. Team (last week’s ranking) – upcoming schedule)

1. Redondo Union (1) – at Inglewood, Tue; Morningside, Thu

2. Lakewood (2) – Cabrillo, Mon; at Jordan, Tue; Harvard-Westlake, Fri

3. Aliso Niguel (3) – at Laguna Hills, Tue; Trabuco Hills, Thu

4. Santa Margarita (4) – at Mater Dei, Wed

5. Santiago (5) – at Corona, Tue; at King, Thu

6. Corona del Mar (6) – Irvine, Tue; at Woodbridge, Thu

7. Mater Dei (7) – at JSerra, Tue; Santa Margarita, Wed

8. Marymount (8) – at Flintridge Sacred Heart, Thu

9. Torrey Pines (10) – Mt. Carmel, Mon; Westview, Wed; at Rancho Bernardo, Fri

10. Flintridge Sacred Heart (13) – at Marlborough, Tue; Marymount, Thu

11. La Costa Canyon (12) – Carlsbad, Tue; Sage Creek, Thu; Cathedral Catholic, Fri

12. Mira Costa (11) – Peninsula, Thu          

13. Redlands East Valley (9) – at Eisenhower, Tue; Cajon, Thu

14. Villa Park (15) – at Brea Olinda, Tue; Esperanza, Thu

15. Chino Hills (16) – Los Osos, Tue; at Rancho Cucamonga, Thu

16. Great Oak (18) – Murrieta Valley, Tue; Vista Murrieta, Thu

17. Village Christian (17) – Maranatha, Tue; at Whittier Christian, Thu

18. Vista Murrieta (22) – at Temecula Valley, Tue; at Great Oak, Thu

19. Bishop’s (23) – La Jolla Country Day, Fri

20. Canyon Crest Academy (21) – at Mt. Carmel, Wed; at Poway, Fri

21. Long Beach Poly (25) – Millikan, Thu

22. Valencia (14) – West Ranch, Tue; at Saugus, Thu

23. Westview (20) – at Torrey Pines, Wed; Mt. Carmel, Fri

24. Francis Parker (24) – Santa Fe Christian, Tue; at Calvin Christian, Fri

25. Huntington Beach – Edison, Tue; at Los Alamitos, Thu

Out – Saddleback Valley Christian (19)

In – Huntington Beach

Others (alphabetical order)

Del Norte – San Marcos, Wed; San Pasqual, Fri

Newport Harbor – Los Alamitos, Tue; Marina, Thu

Rancho Cucamonga – St. Lucy’s, Tue; Chino Hills, Thu

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[event] => stdClass Object ( ) [postType] => [link] => /girls-volleyball/high-schools/item/30153-girls-hs-weekly-top-25-oct-20 [featuredIntroImage] => /media/k2/items/src/966742e277b900f8ff3fec7cc8942e13.jpg [featuredImageThumbnails] => stdClass Object ( [image_620x340] => media/k2/items/cache/620x340_966742e277b900f8ff3fec7cc8942e13.jpg [image_290x160] => media/k2/items/cache/290x160_966742e277b900f8ff3fec7cc8942e13.jpg [image_140x90] => media/k2/items/cache/140x90_966742e277b900f8ff3fec7cc8942e13.jpg [image_50x50] => media/k2/items/cache/50x50_966742e277b900f8ff3fec7cc8942e13.jpg ) [featuredIntrotext] => (Current ranking. Team (last week’s ranking) – upcoming schedule) 1. Redondo Union (1) – at... [numOfComments] => 0 ) [3] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 30152 [title] => Girls HS: How the Top 25 did in Week 7 [alias] => girls-hs-how-the-top-25-did-in-week-7 [catid] => 10 [published] => 1 [introtext] =>

1. Redondo Union – d Palos Verdes in 3; d Mira Costa in 4

2. Lakewood – d Cabrillo in 3; d Long Beach Poly in 4

3. Aliso Niguel – d El Toro in 3; d Mission Viejo in 3

4. Santa Margarita – d Orange Lutheran in 3; d JSerra in 3

5. Santiago – d Norco in 3; d Roosevelt in 3

6. Corona del Mar – d Beckman in 4; d Northwood in 3

7. Mater Dei – no matches

8. Marymount – d Notre Dame/SO in 4; d Marlborough in 3

9. Redlands East Valley – d Redlands in 3; d Miller in 3 - tourney

10. Torrey Pines – d Canyon Crest Academy in 3

11. Mira Costa – d Morningside (forfeit); l Redondo Union in 4

12. La Costa Canyon – d El Camino in 3; d Vista in 3

13. Flintridge Sacred Heart – d Harvard-Westlake in 3; d Notre Dame/SO in 3; 1st place So Cal Invitational

14. Valencia – d Canyon in 3; l Hart in 5; T9th Nike Invitational

15. Villa Park – d El Dorado in 3; d Foothill in 3

16. Chino Hills – d St. Lucy’s in 4; d Etiwanda in 3

17. Village Christian – d Heritage Christian in 3; d La Canada in 3

18. Great Oak – d Temecula Valley in 3; d Murrieta Mesa in 3

19. Saddleback Valley Christian – d Connelly in 3; d Fairmont Prep; ? So Cal Invitational

20. Westview – d Rancho Bernardo in 4; T5th So Cal Invitational

21. Canyon Crest Academy – l Torrey Pines in 3; T3rd So Cal Invitational

22. Vista Murrieta – d Murrieta Mesa in 3; d Chaparral in 4

23. Bishop’s – d Parker in 4; T3rd Nike Invitational

24. Francis Parker – l Bishop’s in 4

25. Long Beach Poly d Jordan; l Lakewood in 4

Others (alphabetical order)

Del Norte – d Mission Hills in 3; d San Dieguito Academy in 3

Huntington Beach – d Fountain Valley in 3; d Marina in 3

Newport Harbor – d Edison in 5; d Fountain Valley

Rancho Cucamonga – d Etiwanda in 3; d Upland in 3

San Clemente – l Dana Hills in 5

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[event] => stdClass Object ( ) [postType] => [link] => /girls-volleyball/high-schools/item/30152-girls-hs-how-the-top-25-did-in-week-7 [featuredIntroImage] => /media/k2/items/src/01e21a9f46d9625f8deccefce06d0cbd.jpg [featuredImageThumbnails] => stdClass Object ( [image_620x340] => media/k2/items/cache/620x340_01e21a9f46d9625f8deccefce06d0cbd.jpg [image_290x160] => media/k2/items/cache/290x160_01e21a9f46d9625f8deccefce06d0cbd.jpg [image_140x90] => media/k2/items/cache/140x90_01e21a9f46d9625f8deccefce06d0cbd.jpg [image_50x50] => media/k2/items/cache/50x50_01e21a9f46d9625f8deccefce06d0cbd.jpg ) [featuredIntrotext] => 1. Redondo Union – d Palos Verdes in 3; d Mira Costa in 4 2... [numOfComments] => 0 ) [4] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 30151 [title] => Redondo keeps streak going against Mira Costa [alias] => redondo-keeps-streak-going-against-mira-costa [catid] => 10 [published] => 1 [introtext] =>

Redondo Union took control of the Bay League standings Thursday night after downing Mira Costa in four games, 25-18, 25-22, 20-25, 25-16, in one of the top rivalry matches in all of So Cal.

Energy and excitement was never the issue, though neither team produced its best volleyball of the season. That didn’t matter as much as the outcome, which had the potential to shake up the Division 1-AA rankings.

As it stands, Redondo owns sole possession of first place in the league standings and will hold onto its No. 1 spot in the division after claiming its sixth consecutive victory between the squads.

That’s no small feat in itself, as Mira Costa went 25 consecutive seasons earning no worse than a share of first in the Bay League before Redondo has captured the past two titles outright.

There was some fresh blood injected into the rivalry this season as Hayley Lawson-Blanchard took over the Mira Costa program, but it was Redondo’s Tommy Chaffins once again talking about his team being in control after the first round of league.

“We want to defend our Bay League title,” he said. “It took us a long time to win it. We aren’t interested in giving it back any time soon. We have to play a tough Peninsula team again, which took Costa to five games, before we get another shot at the Mustangs.”

Three Things:

1. Rivalries can have a life of their own. The Mira Costa coach left the gym before I was able to speak with her, but I would bet anything she would say something similar to what Chaffins said and that was neither team played its best.

Chaffins said he would grade his team’s play at about a B- overall. Having seen Mira Costa play before this season, I can say I have seen them play better than they did Thursday night.

It’s part of the catch in a rivalry match like Mira Costa-Redondo. Some of the most intense rivalry matches that I’ve covered personally included Lakewood-Long Beach Poly, Torrey Pines-La Costa Canyon, Dos Pueblos-Santa Barbara and Newport Harbor-Corona del Mar.

There are plenty more out there that evoke intense passion, but those are definitely some of the biggest.

I asked Chaffins afterward if it’s possible to account for the nerves and emotions that play into a match like Redondo-Mira Costa. A gym that holds 2,200 fans was about 70 percent full and they were a loud bunch on both sides.

All the girls know each other, most growing up around each other, or having played club with each and against each other. It’s big in terms of CIF, with Redondo being No. 1, and it’s the only Bay League match to go at night, as the rest are played in the afternoon.

So it’s a much different atmosphere than in any other match Redondo and Costa plays.

“It was our senior night, you have 1,500-ish people and boisterous student sections and AVP pros coming out to watch,” Chaffins said. “It’s often like a CIF final where it’s about having more veterans that are used to the environment. Both sides have some veterans to the match, but I never played in front of anything like this, so I have no idea what it’s like for 15-17 year old girls to playing in front of a crowd like this.”

2. Finding a lineup. One major difference between Redondo and Mira Costa on Thursday night was it seemed clear Redondo has found the lineup it wants to go with, while Costa is still searching for something to stick with.

Redondo pretty much ran out the same lineup last time I saw Redondo play, which was at the Durango Fall Classic. The only change was Redondo went with sophomore Maddie Relaz at opposite instead of junior Kacey Baker.

Everything else was the same, with senior Yassie Bedart-Ghani (11 kills) and junior Megan Rice (12k) on the left, seniors Abril Bustamante (8k) and Kristin Hamlin (16k) in the middle, junior Norene Iosia (42 assists) at setter and junior Katie Barkley at libero, with Amanda Tsao and Hayes Honea playing back row as well.

I also saw Costa at Durango, as well as last weekend at the California Challenge. Costa started Thursday’s match against Redondo with a lineup that I didn’t see Costa play with at either event.

The contest began with Costa running a 5-1 with sophomore Britt Bommer. The only setter I’ve seen Costa go with a 5-1 with so far is junior Erin McCarthy, who from my understanding might have had a finger injury Thursday night.

I have seen Costa run a 6-2 with any combination of Bommer, McCarthy, junior Sam Snyder and senior Keala Rusher (3 aces).

After sticking with the 5-1 with Bommer through the first set, Rusher started the second set as Costa switched to a 6-2, or really a modified 5-1.

Rusher went out front row and Bommer came in to set front row, still leaving Costa with two attackers. Late in Game 2, Snyder came in to set back row, with Bommer staying in to hit front row and Rusher still coming in to set back row as well.

Senior Skylar Caputo (12 kills) was a fixture at outside, while seniors Katie Rethmeyer (12k) and Erin Sagisi locked down the middle spots and junior Emma Smith the libero jersey.

The second outside spot and opposite spot had some movement. Junior Ashley Anselmo spent the majority of the match at opposite, while sophomore Alexa Underwood played plenty at outside.

Senior Katrina Kernochan came in to play the back row. A couple times she played across the front, but that was it.

To me, it’s clear Mira Costa not playing a match for the first two weeks of the season is coming back to haunt the Mustangs now.

Just compare Redondo’s lineup Thursday to Costa’s. Redondo’s was steady, while Costa’s was in flux. Heading into the biggest match of the season, the last thing a team needs is for the lineup to be in flux.

However, Redondo essentially had two extra weeks to figure it out.

Here is something I couldn’t help but notice with Costa on Thursday.

Before I get to it, observation is part of what I do. My goal is always to bring something that the newspapers covering the match won’t get to, either because they don’t notice or there simply just isn’t enough space and time for them to get to it.

I’m the first to note that I don’t attend practices, so I’m not with Costa on an everyday basis seeing all the reps and or sitting through the meetings. That has to be taken into account when I give observations, because they are that, my observations.

These were the six girls on the court when Costa went up 7-2 to begin Game 2 – Caputo, Sagisi, Kernochan, Rethmeyer, Rusher and Anselmo.

Only Anselmo wasn’t on the court last year during Costa’s quarterfinal match against Los Al, when Costa lost in five sets to the eventual champs.

It just so happens that everyone but Anselmo happened to be seniors.

To me, that’s no small coincidence.

Kernochan had a very limited role in Game 1, while Rusher didn’t even see the court.

In a rivalry match like Redondo-Costa, you need players on the court that have been there before if at all possible.

This is just my opinion, but Rusher and Kernochan should’ve been in key roles in Game 1. Put the seniors out there and roll the dice with them.

Again, this is just my opinion, but you have girls like Rusher, Kernochan, Caputo, Sagisi and Rethmeyer that were in the quarterfinals last year. Those five girls almost helped Costa upset Los Al.

That group has experience in big matches. They need to be on the court as much as possible.

3. Game 2 the swing set. The first words out of Chaffins’ mouth afterward was how different the match would’ve been had Costa held on in Game 2.

Considering how strong Redondo closed the first set – on a 7-3 spurt – I was impressed with how Costa responded in Game 2. The Mustangs brought the fight to Redondo right away, as Anselmo and Rethmeyer ended a long rally with a stuff block.

Costa was up 9-4 before Redondo started to chip away. Redondo tied the score at 11, 12 and 13, but never led. Caputo scored and Costa was up 18-15 and looking good.

Redondo came back with six straight points and was up 21-18, capped by Bustamante’s ace. Costa held strong, ripping off four in a row and leading 22-21.

Keeping with the streaky play, Redondo closed the set on a 3-0 run, capped by Bustamante’s ace.

For the most part, Costa outplayed Redondo in the second set and yet trailed two games to none. At that point, Redondo isn’t losing three sets in a row on its home court.

The way Mira Costa played in Game 3, building a 19-13 advantage, there’s no denying it’s a different match if Costa finishes the second set.

I think Costa got a little too high after winning Game 3 though. It came out flatter in Game 4 than it had in either Game 2 or 3. It was Redondo going up 20-13 at one point in the fourth set, with the match finally ending on an ace from Honea.

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[event] => stdClass Object ( ) [postType] => [link] => /girls-volleyball/high-schools/item/30151-redondo-keeps-streak-going-against-mira-costa [featuredIntroImage] => /media/k2/items/src/389d15253af2e091b8a090efaf22dcd1.jpg [featuredImageThumbnails] => stdClass Object ( [image_620x340] => media/k2/items/cache/620x340_389d15253af2e091b8a090efaf22dcd1.jpg [image_290x160] => media/k2/items/cache/290x160_389d15253af2e091b8a090efaf22dcd1.jpg [image_140x90] => media/k2/items/cache/140x90_389d15253af2e091b8a090efaf22dcd1.jpg [image_50x50] => media/k2/items/cache/50x50_389d15253af2e091b8a090efaf22dcd1.jpg ) [featuredIntrotext] => Redondo Union took control of the Bay League standings Thursday night after downing Mira... 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