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Array ( [0] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 30097 [title] => On the Set: Mira Costa's Skylar Caputo [alias] => on-the-set-mira-costa-s-skylar-caputo [catid] => 10 [published] => 1 [introtext] =>

Skylar CaputoShe is not alone, but Skylar Caputo is part of a group dealing with changing trends in the world of volleyball.

A senior at Mira Costa, Caputo is headed to Pepperdine next fall to play on the sand. Her indoor days are numbered. She won’t be playing club in the spring, instead focusing on sand while she finishes high school.

Caputo was going through her recruiting process just as sand volleyball started to emerge and some NCAA Division 1 programs began offering scholarships. Before that, she pictured herself playing indoor somewhere as a libero. With the explosion of the sand game on the next level she suddenly had more options to explore.

Girls starting the recruiting process now know that sand is a possibility, but Caputo wasn’t sure what would come of it when she started looking at colleges. On top of that, Caputo was still deciding where her focus should be.

She started playing indoor at 9 and took up sand when she was 11. It was during her recruiting process that Caputo realized her love for the sand game and that became the path she wanted to pursue if possible.

It’s looking like a great call, for Caputo had a spring and summer full of success on the sand. She captured the Cal Cup playing with Redondo Union’s Abril Bustamante, a USC-commit that is also done with club volleyball and focusing on the sand in the spring.

Last month, Caputo spent more than two weeks in Nanjing, China participating in the Youth Olympic Games. There, she teamed up with Notre Dame/SO’s Zana Muno, a UCLA commit.

Though Caputo left Sunshine midway through the club season last year to focus on sand, she never wavered on wanting to finish her high school career at Mira Costa.

A four-year varsity member, Caputo is the team’s do-it-all outside hitter. She was one of the main cogs on last year’s team that reached the quarterfinals of the CIF-SS Division 1-AA playoffs.

With so many returning players, there was no way Caputo was walking away.

Mira Costa is in an interesting spot, as they are the only squad in this weekend’s 64-team Durango Fall Classic in Las Vegas that hasn’t played a competitive match yet this season. It means the Mustangs are making their season debut Friday when they start the tournament against Clovis West in pool play.

While it’s a late start to the year, Mira Costa will have plenty of time to tune up for its biggest matches of the season. Mira Costa doesn’t face Bay League rival Redondo for the first time until Oct. 16.

By then, Mira Costa will have competed at the Durango Fall Classic and California Challenge tournaments, played three league matches, as well as nonleague contests against Notre Dame Academy, Los Alamitos and Marymount.

Caputo recently spoke with DailyPrepTalk.com about the season, college and more.

What did it come down to with you choosing to focus on sand over indoor?

Caputo: I was looking at colleges where I could play. During that time, I started falling in love with the beach game. It’s very independent compared to indoor. You are getting so many mindful reps every time you practice. I also think it’s more mentality tough and challenging. There are long days in the sun and that’s one of the challenges of the sport. But being at the beach so much is easier on my body. I love indoor. I love hitting indoor, but I like doing everything on the beach and getting as many touches as possible. On the beach, you are getting 50 percent of the balls. I started seeing more and more in the game and wanted to be part of it. I like having more control of the game.

You probably never imagined you would be going to college to play beach volleyball?

Caputo: I did get to see how invested the AVP was when I was younger. It went downhill for a little bit but it’s coming back up. The sport is growing, especially with so many more colleges on board. The sport is going to keep growing. It’s going to be more competitive when I’m in college, that’s why I want to be 100 percent focused and invested in beach volleyball. I want to be the best I can be. When I started looking at colleges, I didn’t know what was going to happen. I didn’t know if the sand game in college was going to happen. It may happen, it may not. Watching it grow, I finally made my decision.

Did you ever consider not playing your senior year at Mira Costa?

Caputo: I always watched Mira Costa girls volleyball growing up. To finally be a part of it my freshman year, I knew I wanted to be part of it for four years if I had the opportunity. Last year, we lost in the quarterfinals. We were almost there. That was upsetting, but I was really happy with the year we had. Everyone is pretty much returning. All I want is a ring and the Bay League title. We all do. Those are some of our goals. I didn’t want to let one season go by. I definitely wanted to finish out my senior year, especially with the new coaches we have. It’s been amazing so far. There was never a doubt in my mind. Last year, it was amazing how we integrated all levels of play from seniors to the freshmen. It’s been an amazing experience to make new friends. There’s no doubt in my mind without Mira Costa volleyball I would not be the person I am today.

What do you think about the team not playing any competitive matches heading into Durango this weekend?

Caputo: The practices we have had have been a lot of playing. We have a big roster, so we play against each other. Honestly, I think it’s been good to practice so hard. We’ve been running more drills, doing different things on offense and different things of defense. We are trying to be really discipline with each contact we have at practice to prepare for this tournament. We haven’t been able to see any opponents, but we are a team that comes out strong. We don’t care who it is, we are determined to beat them. We enjoy the competition aspect. We don’t have much match experience, but we have 20 girls on the team and we are fully energized and ready to play.

How did you decide on Pepperdine?

Caputo: Living so close, I would always pass by it. It’s such a pretty campus. When I started getting letters, my first trip was there. I absolutely fell in love with it. I know they tell you as a young athlete to look at other schools and see what you like and don’t like. It was my first school and nothing I looked at compared to Pepperdine. I verbally committed my sophomore year and I couldn’t be more stoked. I’m so confident in my decision and that it’s the college for me. I’m so excited to officially sign in November and compete there next year.

Were there any unknowns during your process or did it go smoothly?

Caputo: It wasn’t a for sure thing. At that point, I wanted to play both indoor and beach. I started looking at colleges where I could do that. I would have been a libero in indoor most likely. At times I didn’t know exactly what I wanted. Then it became evident that beach is the sport I wanted to compete at 100 percent of the time.

How was the experience in China, and how much did you get to play with Zana before going?

Caputo: It’s one of the best experiences I’ve had. To be able to wear red, white and blue on our backs made me so proud. It felt like a mini-Olympics. We flew over with the boys team and the coaches. Zana was sitting next to me on the plane. I couldn’t ask for a better group to go with. It was eye-opening getting to compete against other countries and their best players. I was so happy to play with Zana. We actually only played in one tournament together before. We played in the Marine Open and took second. That’s about it. We always played against each other, but we’ve never been on the same side. I was so unbelievable happy to get the experience. When I found out, it was pure excitement, but I didn’t know what to expect going over there.

What type of things went on while you were there, other than playing and competing?

Caputo: We were with a group at all times and were part of the Olympic Village. They had food at the village so we didn’t have to go outside of the secured area to eat. We were playing a few matches a day. When we weren’t playing, we would watch other teams play. It was definitely exciting because of the long experience of it. Our sport lasted the longest. We were competing so much and using days as preparation, that we didn’t do much. One day we had a scavenger hunt through the village. Other teams were a part of it as well. It was pouring down rain and we were running through the forest part of it. We went to the market one day and did some bargaining. I mainly stuck with what I knew with food. I brought food over with me. Oatmeal was a main product.

What’s it like to play against Abril and Redondo in one of the biggest matches of the year for both teams?

Caputo: Abril, she is my best friend. Our chemistry when we play together is ridiculous. We got to play in a lot of tournaments this summer. I can’t wait to see how we do this upcoming winter when we both are officially playing beach full time. It’s definitely a big rivalry, Costa and Redondo. It’s such a high level out here in So Cal. It’s all left on the court. Whoever wins, we are happy for each other. But we both want to win. It should be a good match this year. 

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[numOfComments] => 0 ) [1] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 30096 [title] => Durango Fall Classic: The Clash of the Mascots [alias] => durango-fall-classic-the-clash-of-the-mascots [catid] => 10 [published] => 1 [introtext] =>

The most anticipated high school tournament of the season in the Durango Fall Classic is Friday and Saturday at various high schools in Las Vegas.

Pool play starts at 1 pm Friday, with bracket play beginning at 8:30 am Saturday. There are 16, four-team pools for a total of 64 teams.

Teams must finish first in their respective pools to advance to championship qualifying round action Saturday at Durango.

The winners of those matches advance to the championship bracket, with the losers going to silver bracket.

The final is scheduled for 5:30 pm.

A rundown, with pools and predictions following:

Teams to Watch For

Torrey Pines is the two-time defending champion and opens up as the No. 1 seed. The thing about Durango is Torrey Pines was among the top contenders two years ago when it first won the championship. But last season the Falcons could hardly be called tournament favorites. That victory came more unexpectedly.

The field is more open this season than in recent years, so it should make for a fun and unpredictable tournament.

Torrey Pines is among the So Cal teams that could finish the highest from the region over the weekend. Others include No. 4 Lakewood and No. 6 Redondo Union.

There is a slew of strong teams not far behind. Those are teams like Santa Margarita, La Costa Canyon, Mira Costa, Villa Park and Marymount.

On top of that, Chino Hills and Flintridge Sacred Heart are in the field this season.

There are other teams that might not be contenders, but it’ll be interesting to see what happens. Los Alamitos had a rough go at the Dave Mohs last weekend and is looking to bounce back. Same goes for a squad like Laguna Beach.

Mater Dei’s had a week and it’ll be interesting to see how the Monarchs respond to it.

In terms of teams outside of So Cal, there are the usual suspects like No. 2 Archbishop Mitty out of Nor Cal, No. 3 Kamehameha from Hawai‛i and No. 5 Assumption of Kentucky.

Best So Cal Day 1 matches

Flintridge Sacred Heart v St. Lucy’s – The teams scrimmaged against each other during the preseason. Now they will do it for real. FSH is the No. 2 team in Pool 13, while St. Lucy’s is the No. 3 squad. With Pleasant Grove the No. 1 team, both face an uphill fight to win the pool. There’s a chance this match could be for second. El Dorado is also in the pool, making for three Division 1-A teams. That means these matches could have some bearing on the CIF rankings.

Santa Margarita v Long Beach Poly – There’s a chance this match could be for first place, as they are the Nos. 1 and 2 teams respectively in Pool 9. This is another match that features teams from the same division (1-AA) and will have an impact on the rankings. It’ll also help determine overall league strength this season. Santa Margarita fought Lakewood tough in Monday’s Dave Mohs final and beat Long Beach Wilson earlier in the tournament, so the Eagles are facing their third Moore League team in a week.

Cathedral Catholic v Edison – With Redondo Union the No. 1 team in this pool (6), there’s a good chance Cathedral and Edison are playing for second place, should both beat Faith Lutheran, the No. 4 team. This is an intriguing matchup, because both have seen strong teams so far. Cathedral has played Torrey Pines, while Edison has played Lakewood. On top of that, Cathedral is currently ranked in DPT’s Top 25, so it could be a quality victory for Edison should it pull it out.

Villa Park v Redlands East Valley – This takes place as the 1 v 2 match in Pool 15. Both teams are in Division 1-A, so it’s yet another meeting that’s going to have implications in the rankings. Villa Park has played a stronger schedule so far, but Redlands East Valley can’t be taken lightly. This is definitely one of the best pool matches from a So Cal perspective.

Vista Murrieta v Long Beach Wilson – A match like this goes toward the overall league strengths at the end of the season. Vista Murrieta is trying to rep for the Southwestern, while Wilson wants to pump up the Moore. Wilson has played more matches to date, as the Bruins are in their third consecutive tournament, just like Los Al and Lakewood. That could give Wilson an advantage over Vista Murrieta in this one.

Mira Costa v Francis Parker – Two of the most storied programs in So Cal get to hook up in Pool 8. It’s a 1 v 2 meeting, meaning there’s potential for it to determine first place. The Mustangs are seeing their first action of the season, so it’ll be interesting to see what comes of it. Either way, it should be one of the better ones of pool play for So Cal.

Scheduling Might Matter

The pool-play format varies from what most people are familiar with in terms of club volleyball. The pool begins with the 1 v 3 and 2 v 4 matches like normal, but then varies from there.

The third round is the 1 v 2 meeting, followed by the 3 v 4 match. The final two rounds, in order, are the 2 v 3 and 1 v 4 contests.

That puts the No. 2 team in a spot to play back-to-back matches. That can be a good or bad thing depending on what happened the match before. In either case though, fatigue can be an issue. The No. 1 team is going to be rested, whereas the No. 2 won’t be.

The flip side though is the No. 2 team gets to leave the earliest, as the No. 3 team must ref the 1 v 4 match. If a No. 2 team can finish in first place, that’s extra rest at night could be beneficial come Saturday.

It’s something to keep an eye on.

Pools are Must Win

Before the field expanded to 64 teams, there were three-team pools with crossover matches between the first and second-place teams for a spot in the championship qualifying round.

Now, it’s win the pool or bust if you hope to make gold bracket. It makes the seedings a little more important. At the same time, it’s hard to make an argument that a team was good enough to win the tournament if it couldn’t make it out of pool play.

The goal for everyone is to make it to Durango on Saturday. Even if teams are a true contender, just getting into that gym Saturday means good match after good match. It’s a great for experience and that’s why everyone wants to get there.

It’s a big deal.

Pools and Predictions

The tournament is wide open and there doesn’t seem to be a clear-cut favorite or even favorites this fall. So instead of trying to go with the normal which team is better routine, it’s time to throw a change-up.

Call it the clash of the mascots.

Have you ever sat around and wondered which mascot is the ruler of them all? That’s a rhetorical question because of course you have.

It’s really not much different from looking at the volleyball side of things. Either way, it’s all about the match ups.

Some mascots fare better against some than they do others. They might have drawn a tough pool and are out. Or maybe the draw was in their favor and they advanced.

Here’s predicting the 2014 Durango Fall Classic champion on the sole determinant of which mascot is superior and why.

Pool 1 – Torrey Pines; Laguna Beach; O’Gorman; Durango

Mascots: Falcons, Breakers, Knights, Trailblazers

A pool featuring a varied style of mascots, this could get interesting. Being the Breakers is a different mascot from most. Being the Knights or the Trailblazers is fine on the surface. But what are the Knights and Trailblazers supposed to do if giant Breakers batter them repeatedly. They are done for. Think about a tsunami-like wave crashing into the Knights and the Trailblazers. The Breakers are eliminating both of those teams. Meanwhile, Falcons aren’t affected by Breakers, because they sore in the sky, away from the danger of crashing waves below. Therefore, Torrey Pines moves on.

Pool 2 – Archbishop Mitty; Clovis; Harvard-Westlake; Green Valley

Mascots: Monarchs, Cougars, Wolverines, Gators

Lock these four mascots together in a room and only one thing is certain. The Monarchs are in trouble, because Monarchs are ruling elite and probably aren’t going to be able to fend off Cougars, Wolverines and Gators with their bare hands. So the Monarchs are out. Cougars aren’t to be messed with, but they are much more dangerous when launching a surprise attack. That won’t be possible, plus Wolverines can take down prey much bigger than it. The only issue is how do Wolverines damage Gators. Just not seeing that one, so the Gators survive the rumble and escape with the pool.

Pool 3 – Kamehameha; Coronado; Los Alamitos; Galena

Mascots: Warriors, Cougars, Griffins, Grizzlies

Again, Cougars are at their best when able to launch a surprise attack. It’s hard to hide in a gym, so not liking their chances in this pool either. That leaves the Warriors, Griffins and Grizzlies fighting it out. Grizzlies are a mean beast and it would have to take a group of special Warriors to take them down. Since it’s not clear what type of weaponry these Warriors have, we have to assume the Grizzlies tear them apart. That leaves the Griffins, a mythical creature that is a mix between a lion and an eagle. Griffins are used to guarding or protecting, so they aren’t afraid of a little scrap. The fact that Griffins can go airborne, changes the fight against the Grizzlies. Eventually, the Griffins would prevail, though it wouldn’t be a pretty sight to watch.

Pool 4 – Lakewood; Ponderosa; Central Valley Christian; Arbor View

Mascots: Lancers, Mustangs, Cavaliers, Aggies

This pool comes down to the Lancers against the Cavaliers. Mustangs by themselves aren’t necessarily dangerous. Put a sword or lancer-wielding person on top a horse and that changes everything. Aggies is a little unclear, but one possible explanation is it could be a some sort of short-form for agricultures. Therefore, we are back to the Lancers against the Cavaliers. Since a lancer is bigger than a sword and can cause more damage when riding on top a horse, the Lancers look to be the best in this pool.

Pool 5 – Assumption; Mater Dei; Bishop Manogue; Centennial

Rockets, Monarchs, Miners, Bulldogs

Monarchs are great for ruling, but they typically have armies to do the fighting for them. A pack of Bulldogs is a scary thought, especially if you are a pack of Miners needing to fight them off with your bare hands. Miners are tough, tough people though and know how to get down and dirty. This brings up an interesting point once the Rockets start flying. Can Miners dig deep enough to avoid the blast of the Rockets. Surely, Bulldogs and Monarchs couldn’t survive the Rockets coming at them, but the Miners might have something up their sleeves. This is a really tough call. Ultimately, the Miners could dig deep enough to avoid the Rockets blasts, but the explosions could cover the mine up with dirt and debris, making it impossible for the Miners to get back out of their shelter. Therefore, Rockets are the winners.

Pool 6 – Redondo Union; Cathedral Catholic; Edison; Faith Lutheran

Mascots: Sea Hawks, Dons, Chargers, Crusaders

The mascot hurting here is the Sea Hawks. They are outclassed by the other three mascots. If you’ve seen the Godfather, you know the power Dons can have. You don’t think the Dons can deal with some Sea Hawks. No problem. The Dons have a much tougher fight against the Chargers and Crusaders. The Crusaders are about fighting, so they welcome the chance to show what they have. They are no match for the Dons. It leaves the Chargers against the Crusaders. The main question is how do the Crusaders get to the Chargers. The Crusaders can’t do anything to damage lightning. However, the Chargers definitely can cause a world of hurt to the Crusaders by stinging them over and over with lightning bolts. Chargers win.

Pool 7 – La Costa Canyon; Branson; South Torrance; Bonanza

Mascots: Mavericks, Bulls, Spartans, Bengals

Bengals can be mean cats, but they aren’t a match for the other three mascots. If even the Bengals could scratch and claw their way to victory past the Mavericks and Spartans, what can they do against Bulls. Bulls are just too big for the Bengals to hurt. The hard call is with the Mavericks. They can be viewed as outcasts, but how do they get at either the Bulls or the Spartans. Just don’t see that happening. Spartans are soldiers and wouldn’t be afraid of a bunch of Mavericks. The real fight comes down to the Spartans and the Bulls. The reality is it would come down to which side had more numbers, but let’s say both sides have equal numbers. Bulls are big, powerful animals. If they got a running start, sure the front line of Bulls might go down but how long can the Spartans fend off the rush. Eventually, the Bulls wear down the Spartans forces and run wild.

Pool 8 – Mira Costa; Francis Parker; Clovis West; Foothill

Mascots: Mustangs, Lancers, Golden Eagles, Falcons

Off the top, we’ve already shown Lancers are superiors to Mustangs, so the Mustangs are gone. And it sure sounds like the Golden Eagles are a superior bird to the Falcons. So right away it’s down to the matchup between the Lancers and the Golden Eagles. Lancers are going to have protective gear on because that’s what Lancers wear. It just doesn’t seem like the Golden Eagles would be able to take down the Lancers in a fight. The Lancers would be well-protected and able to knock the Golden Eagles from the sky with their weaponry.

Pool 9 – Santa Margarita; Long Beach Poly; Shadow Ridge; Liberty

Mascots: Eagles, Jackrabbits, Mustangs, Patriots

A weird pool of mascots. It’s a tough call. For argument sakes, we have to assume Patriots are like revolutionaries fighting for their country, you know, the Boston Tea Party. That conceivably makes them dangerous because they are fighting for what they believe in most. You look at the other three mascots and have to think if the Patriots had their backs against the wall, when push came to shove the Patriots could overtake Eagles, Jackrabbits and Mustangs. Heck, the Patriots could probably defeat all three at the same time.

Pool 10 – Sacred Heart; Valley Christian; Desert Hills; Buchanan

Mascots: Valkyries, Crusaders, Thunder, Bears

Almost instantly, the Thunder are eliminated. Thunder makes loud noises and can be startling, but how much damage does Thunder cause. Unless you are a window, not much. And there aren’t any Windows in the pool for the Thunder to crack. It comes down to the Valkyries, the Crusaders and the Bears. By now, most are probably wondering what the Valkyries are. According to Norse mythology, Valkyries are a group of female figures which choose who may die and who may live in battle. That’s serious. The question is does it extend beyond humans and crossover into animals. There’s no way the Crusaders would be a match for the Valkyries, because the Valkyries would simply choose for all the Crusaders to perish in battle. That leaves the Bears. But how are the Bears supposed to get to the Valkyries and vice versa. This can’t end in a draw, so someone needs to win the pool. Perhaps, the Valkyries leave the Crusaders alive long enough to fight off the Bears, before sentencing them to death in battle. That’s probably how it would go down. Valkyries are moving to the gold bracket.

Pool 11 – Marymount; Lone Peak; McQueen; Palo Verde

Mascots: Sailors, Knights, Lancers, Panthers

For argument sakes, we have to say the Knights are the ground troops while the Lancers are riding around on horses. It sounds like the Lancers would have the advantage and probably so. But skilled Knights could dodge the attacking Lancers and retaliate, knocking the Lancers from their horses and thus gaining the advantage. It’s a tough call. Either way, the Knights or Lancers could take down the Panthers because both should be armed. So with the Panthers eliminated, the question is where do the Sailors fit in the equation. It all comes down to the interpretation of the Sailors. Are we talking Christopher Columbus or are we talking something like the US Navy, which is full of Sailors you wouldn’t want to mess with. It makes a difference. Since this is a tournament, let’s going with the latter, because if you could sail anywhere you wanted to, why would you sail to a volleyball event. So let’s assume these Sailors are showing up because they mean business. In that case, they could overcome either the Knights or the Lancers because they could attack from sea and still stay out of harm’s way.

Pool 12 – Bingham; Vista Murrieta; Wilson; Los Osos

Mascots: Miners, Broncos, Bruins, Grizzlies

Again, Miners are tough people are won’t go down without a fight. The question is what type of tools can the Miners use to fend off the other three. One way of looking at it is, Miners do use dynamite and probably have lots of it. Clearly, the Grizzlies would win the fight against the Bruins, or commonly known as a brown bear. The showdown between the Broncos and the Grizzlies would be something to see. It’s just how would the Broncos ultimately take down the Grizzlies. The Grizzlies just seem like they could go with multiple fighting styles, i.e. climb a tree and jump on the Broncos’ backs and cause problems that way or use their teeth and claws. The Broncos are much more limited in fighting style, so the Grizzlies move on. But only long enough to face a dynamite blast from the Miners, who are the winners.

Pool 13 – Pleasant Grove; Flintridge Sacred Heart; St. Lucy’s; El Dorado

Mascots: Vikings, Tologs, Regents, Golden Hawks

No one really knows what a Tolog is, but FSH’s mascot is called Teddy ‘Tolog’ Bear. So we’ll go with that. Either way, the Tologs wouldn’t be a match for the Vikings. What do you think of when you think of Vikings? Some hard-core folk, that’s what. Regents refer to someone who reigned during the Roman times. It sounds like a Regent would own Golden Hawks as pets or keepsakes, so let’s assume the Regents take down the Golden Hawks. We are faced with the Vikings against the Regents. Vikings are vicious fighters and it just seems like the Vikings are a stronger group, at least in terms of brute force, than the Regents. Vikings win the pool.

Pool 14 – Xavier; Lehi; Saddleback Valley Christian; Thousand Oaks

Mascots: Gators, Pioneers, Warriors, Lancers

A fun mascot fight here. The Pioneers are resourceful people. Think of the Pioneers that settled west during the 1800s. At the same time, this isn’t about being led across country, this is a volleyball tournament. About the only case you can make for the Pioneers is they probably carried an old-form rifle or two around with them. That’s good enough to fend off Gators, but what about a bunch of Warriors or Lancers. Not going to happen. It comes down to the Warriors facing off against the Lancers. Warriors is so much more vague than Lancers. We know what Lancers are. Warriors could be anything in this case. It just sounds like in this case the Warriors have the advantage.

Pool 15 – Villa Park; Redlands East Valley; Flagstaff; Beckman

Mascots: Spartans, Wildcats, Eagles, Patriots

It looks pretty clear that this pool is really between the Spartans and the Patriots. Wildcats are beasts and Eagles can do damage with their claws. However, Spartans and Patriots are not getting conquered by either the Wildcats or the Eagles. The question now is which mascot wins between the remaining two. We’ve established that Patriots can be a dangerous group, especially when fighting for a cause that’s important to them. The Spartans aren’t strangers to conflict either and that’s where it’s almost impossible to call. The Patriots might be carrying some old-style rifles, but they take so long to reload, that once the Spartans closed in and it became hand-to-hand combat, the Spartans would likely prevail.

Pool 16 – Campolindo; Chino Hills; La Salle; Rim of the World

Mascots: Cougars, Huskies, Lancers, Fighting Scots

Cougars have already been proven to be an ineffective mascot in a situation like this. And it just doesn’t seem possible for the Huskies to fend off the Lancers and the Fighting Scots, both of which are presumably equipped with weaponry. Narrowed down to the Fighting Scots and the Lancers, it’s difficult not to go with the mascot that has the word fighting in it. What else do you want? Fighting Scots advance from the pool in first.

Championship Qualifying Round

Falcons v Fighting Scots – This figures to be a giant mismatch. Unless we are talking about falcons the size of Terrordactyls, how do the Fighting Scots not overcome the Falcons. It’s just not going to happen for the Falcons.

Lancers v Patriots – This is what the play-in matches should look like. Two tough mascots going at it for a right to finish in the Top 8. The Lancers are a strong group, but the Patriots are too. It comes down to variety. The Lancers are restricted to riding houses and jousting at people. Patriots, well that is much more open to interpretation. Plus, even if we are talking Boston Tea Party patriots, the weaponry is more advanced than the Lancers have. It makes for a Patriots victory.

Rockets v Miners – We’ve already seen this before and nothing changes. The Miners might be able to dig a deep bunker to withstand the Rockets. But if used correctly, the Rockets could eventually bury the Miners in the bunker with no way out.

Lancers v Vikings – The Lancers have proven a feisty bunch to contend with, to make it this far and all. However, the Vikings seem like a heavy favorite in this one. There’s no stopping them in this fight.  

Griffins v Warriors – An extremely close call on this one. Griffins are mythical creatures and that has to account for something. A flying lion/eagle coming at you is a serious situation to find yourself in. There is some ambiguity still around Warriors. What type of Warriors? Probably more ninja than The Warriors, like the film. Still, it would take a brave warrior to stick around when they saw the Griffins flying at them. Griffins win again.

Chargers v Sailors – Total mismatch. Where’s the one place you don’t want to be when lightning strikes. Near water. Besides, how can Sailors get to the Chargers. Unless they are carrying some anti-matter lightning device, the Chargers roll in a rout.

Bulls v Valkyries – A weird matchup and one that is difficult to predict. Are Valkyries real or spirits or maybe they come in both forms. We know they control who lives and dies during battles, but that supposedly relates to people. What about the Bulls? Do the Valkyries control the Bulls’ fates? This is only producing more questions than answers. While we know Bulls are limited to charging and using their horns, we aren’t sure of the extent of the Valkyries limits, or if they even have any. Therefore, based on mystic and mystery alone, the Valkyries are declared the winner.  

Gators v Spartans – Unless the Spartans have to take this fight into the water, there is no way they can lose it. If this was a water polo or swimming event, the clear favorite is the Gators. But it’s a volleyball tournament and it’s played on land. So we have to go with the Spartans rather easily.


Fighting Scots v Patriots – This is by far the hardest call of the quarterfinals. Both groups are prideful and won’t go down quietly. It’s going to get ugly. This one isn’t for the wife and kids. In the end, the Patriots made a good run but the Fighting Scots just sound like a crazier bunch to contend with.

Rockets v Vikings – This is going to be short and it’s not going to end well for the Vikings. My guess is the Vikings probably haven’t seen the Rockets before and will have no idea how to take countermeasures. Poor Vikings.

Griffins v Chargers – Not liking the Griffins’ chances. They might be able to duck and dodge the Chargers to a good degree, but at some point the Chargers will land a strike. And there is just no way for the Griffins to get back at the lightning. The Chargers in a landslide.

Valkyries v Spartans – The one mascot the Spartans didn’t want to see ever was the Valkyries. Another blowout is happening here. Obviously, the Valkyries are going to pick all the Spartans not to make it out of the battle intact and run away with victory.


Fighting Scots v Rockets – The Rockets avoided the one mascot it didn’t want to see and that was the Chargers. Maybe a lightning bolt could cause the Rockets to malfunction and fly off course. What are the Fighting Scots going to do though against the Rockets. What can they do? Not much and this one is over quickly.

Chargers v Valkyries – The Chargers can’t strike what it can’t see, but how can the Valkyries control the fates of lightning bolts. It’s like the old dilemma of an unstoppable force meeting an immovable object. Unfortunately, we need a winner here. All the science lovers are pulling for the Chargers because lightning is an earthly phenomenon. All the mythology enthusiasts are rooting for the Valkyries. It also brings up the question have the Valkyries ever used lightning to kill someone during battle and determine their fate that way. In that case, maybe the Valkyries have some control over lightning. Therefore, until this mystery can be proved with hard evidence, the Valkyries take down the Chargers to reach the final.

Finals - Rockets v Valkyries

This is a worthy championship match. A final at the Durango Fall Classic should be impossible to call. There are some of the exact same arguments as the semis showdown between the Valkyries and the Chargers. There is one major difference though. Where it might be conceivable that the Valkyries once used lightning to determine someone’s fate in battle, it’s highly unlikely the Valkyries were dealing with Rockets. So the Valkyries are in for a much different type of fight in the final. In fact, the Rockets could employ a drastic strategy for the victory. No one is going to like it. Not at all. At the same time, everyone should respect it because you don’t come to this tournament to lose. You can’t go home knowing you didn’t try everything you could have. That’s no way to participate in any athletic event, let along something like the Durango Fall Classic. Understanding this, the Rockets launch an all-out attack destroying mankind. With no human beings left on the planet, no more battles or wars can break out. What’s the point of being able to control someone’s fate in battle if there is no battling going on. In this case, the Rockets would render the Valkyries totally useless. That’s called victory.

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[event] => stdClass Object ( ) [postType] => [link] => /girls-volleyball/high-schools/item/30096-durango-fall-classic-the-clash-of-the-mascots [featuredIntroImage] => images/11DFCfeat.jpg [featuredIntroImageMedium] => images/11DFCfeat.jpg [featuredIntroImageSmall] => images/11DFCfeat.jpg [featuredImageThumbnails] => stdClass Object ( [image_620x340] => media/k2/items/cache/620x340_11DFCfeat.jpg [image_290x160] => media/k2/items/cache/290x160_11DFCfeat.jpg [image_140x90] => media/k2/items/cache/140x90_11DFCfeat.jpg [image_50x50] => media/k2/items/cache/50x50_11DFCfeat.jpg ) [featuredIntrotext] => The most anticipated high school tournament of the season in the Durango Fall Classic... [numOfComments] => 4 ) [2] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 30092 [title] => Third set charm carries Torrey Pines past LCC [alias] => third-set-charm-carries-torrey-pines-past-lcc [catid] => 10 [published] => 1 [introtext] =>

Three things from host Torrey Pines downing La Costa Canyon in four games, 25-19, 18-25, 25-23, 25-17, in nonleague action Tuesday night, the Falcons’ third straight victory in the rivalry.

1. The third set was gigantic. After Torrey Pines pulled away late in the opening set and La Costa Canyon responded by dominating Game 2, it was hard to know what to expect out of the third set. It did feel like the winner of Game 3 was going to end up winning the match though and the intensity of play was in accordance.

It was back-and-forth early, with Torrey Pines leading 3-1 before a LCC used a 3-0 run to go up 4-3. Torrey Pines went on a 5-1 spurt and was leading 8-5. However, LCC came back with a 5-0 run and led 10-8.

It started a stretch of 17 points where LCC controlled the action. The Mavericks couldn’t pull away but anytime Torrey Pines threatened to tie LCC maintained the advantage.

That was until Torrey Pines caught LCC at 16 on sophomore middle Chiara Spain’s block. Senior opposite Savannah Rennie’s ace gave the Falcons the lead on the next point at 17-16. LCC went back in front at 19-18 on consecutive kills by senior outside Cady Francis.

Sophomore middle Rachel Mills delivered a block to put LCC in front 23-22. Yet, Torrey Pines scored the next three points to come back and win, somewhat taking the wind out of LCC’s sails with it.

“We had to have set three,” Torrey Pines coach Brennan Dean said. “In this gym, with them traveling well with a good crowd, they could have squashed our hopes. Winning that set gave us a little oomph. After that set I reminded them of a quote that we wrote on the white board. It said when you are done with the match, make sure your tank is empty. I told them it’s time to empty the tank right now and let’s finish this.”

The third set saw some lineup changes for Torrey Pines.

Sophomore Brynn Chandler came into set, while junior Carly Kutschke was inserted at middle blocker.

Kutschke came up with arguably the biggest play of the match and without doubt swung momentum all the way in Torrey Pines’ favor. After LCC went in front 23-22, Rennie tied the score at 23 with a slide winner off the block and out of play.

LCC had an open slot on the right side on the next point and was about to take advantage of it, except Kutschke got in the way in a hurry and suddenly Torrey Pines had set point just like that at 24-23.

Savvy Simo took a set in transition from Chandler and put it away on the next play and the game was over.

The fourth set started off like the one before only for Torrey Pines to pull away late. Spain’s block pushed the advantage to 21-12.

LCC was down 2-0 against Mater Dei last Wednesday before rallying to win in five games. But it was a different task to do so in such an emotional match that this rivalry is. Another difference was LCC was in control of the third set until the end.

Torrey Pines had too much going its way at that point.

“I feel Game 3 was the key,” La Costa Canyon coach JJ Van Niel said. “We had a couple of opportunities but if you don’t take advantage of what they give you then they’ll make you pay for it. I’m proud of the kids. They fought really hard. We played some of the best volleyball we played this season. I know we beat Mater Dei, but that match was more about serving lights out.

“Here, we did a lot of really good things. It would have been nice to pull that game out, but give them credit because they were down a lot in Game 3 and they kept fighting back. That’s what great teams do, they keep fighting. I thought our team did great too, because we kept fighting.”

2. The match within the match. The extra layer in a contest like the one between Torrey Pines and La Costa Canyon is the inter-weavings of club volleyball and the situations that happen between girls used to playing with each other now playing against each other.

There’s the Wave-Coast element, with Dean the owner of Wave, and Van Niel a coach at Coast.

LCC’s sophomore outside Bronte Zlomek and Machado played with Chandler and Simo for Wave 15s last season, which was coached by Dean.

Meanwhile, Spain played for Coast 15s last season, which was assisted by current LCC assistant Said Souikane. LCC’s Rachel Mills, sophomore setter Jonny Baham and sophomore outside Jamie McQuarrie – who wasn’t available Tuesday – were also on that team.

LCC senior libero Casey Jacobs was on Wave 18s last season with Rennie, while LCC starting opposite Sierra Lyle and Francis were on Van Niel’s Coast 17s team.

Torrey Pines junior libero Cailin Onosko was on Coast 16s with LCC’s junior opposite Stephanie Doak.

It goes on and on.

There were moments when it was Onosko trying to dig Doak, or Jacobs trying to pick off a Rennie attack. Or when Spain and Mills found themselves matched up at middle and going at each other.

Another entertaining one was watching Chandler and Machado set for their respective teams. They were the setters in Wave 15s’ 6-2 during club. So it was great watching Chandler trying to dump the ball in front of Machado.

In fact, the final point of the match was Chandler dumping the ball down for victory.

It’s an intense rivalry and inter-weavings of club plays its role in it.

There’s another match within a match and it revolves around who is stepping up and when. A team like Torrey Pines with a player like Rennie knows what it’s going to get from Rennie. To win a match like it did against LCC, it takes others contributing at key times.

Kutschke’s block late in Game 3 is a prime example of that.

Machado had a stretch that propelled LCC in Game 2 that was clutch. With the score tied at 6, Machado subbed in as part of the 6-2 with Baham and went back to serve. She delivered a tough serve then made a dig that led to LCC scoring in transition.

On the next play, she made a strong dig on a ball Rennie slammed cross court off a slide. It was the first time in the match LCC made a play on Rennie’s ball like that and the point eventually went LCC’s way. On her third serve, Machado forced an overpass that Zlomek slammed down. By the time Machado left the service line a 6-6 score was now in LCC’s favor at 11-7.

A player like that for Torrey Pines was junior outside Jillian Strockis. Her strong start to Game 4 carried Torrey Pines early on. She recorded kills on three of four points and the Falcons were in front 4-1. She served an ace later on to put Torrey Pines up 8-7.

One last note, Torrey Pines had more firepower and that proved huge. LCC just doesn’t have the same type of attack as Torrey Pines, which had three players reach double figures. Rennie led the way with 14 kills, while Strockis and Simo each had 12.

LCC had one player reach double digits in kills. It was Francis with 10.

3. Class act. LCC isn’t going to know anything new regarding its playoff situation for a while. The Mavericks were banned from the postseason because the school’s athletic program had its second dead-period contact violation within a five-year window.

Understanding the rivalry that is Torrey Pines-La Costa Canyon and the rivalry that is Wave-Coast, it said a lot about Dean, unprompted, to show his support for LCC afterward.

“I really hope LCC’s appeal goes through,” Dean said. “I hope they have an opportunity to play in the playoffs, because there are a lot of really good seniors that have worked hard. I think JJ is a man of integrity. I don’t think CIF wants to go through with it, I just think their hands are tied with the rules the way they are. Hopefully, they are able and willing to look at it and make an adjustment. I hope to see them in the playoffs.”

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[event] => stdClass Object ( ) [postType] => [link] => /girls-volleyball/high-schools/item/30092-third-set-charm-carries-torrey-pines-past-lcc [featuredIntroImage] => /media/k2/items/src/0f306a5e57fe87a027d3a4bd3ea84e55.jpg [featuredImageThumbnails] => stdClass Object ( [image_620x340] => media/k2/items/cache/620x340_0f306a5e57fe87a027d3a4bd3ea84e55.jpg [image_290x160] => media/k2/items/cache/290x160_0f306a5e57fe87a027d3a4bd3ea84e55.jpg [image_140x90] => media/k2/items/cache/140x90_0f306a5e57fe87a027d3a4bd3ea84e55.jpg [image_50x50] => media/k2/items/cache/50x50_0f306a5e57fe87a027d3a4bd3ea84e55.jpg ) [featuredIntrotext] => Three things from host Torrey Pines downing La Costa Canyon in four games, 25-19... [numOfComments] => 0 ) [3] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 30090 [title] => Girls HS: Weekly Wrap (Sept. 15) [alias] => girls-hs-weekly-wrap-sept-15 [catid] => 10 [published] => 1 [introtext] =>

Santiago of Corona was in a unique position entering 2014.

The program was coming off a historic season, one that ended with the Sharks capturing a CIF championship for first time. Defeating Oaks Christian in the CIF-SS Division 2-AA final, Santiago lost a set for the first time all season.

Santiago advanced to the CIF State Division 2 final against defending champion Archbishop Mitty. The Monarchs handed Santiago its only loss of the season.

There was enough returning pieces this fall to know Santiago wasn’t going to suffer a serious slippage after such a captivating run a year ago. At the same time, there was no questioning the team on the court was going to have a different design.

The team graduated three seniors it used on the left side last year – Chanel Hoffman, Cheyenne Richards and Kim Voegle. Hoffman, now at UCSB, was the go-to attacker. Her departure, along with Richards, took away the size the team had on the left.

That was the main difference coming into 2014 and in a sport that is left-side heavy, there were questions surrounding Santiago. Without players like Hoffman and Richards, Santiago’s mission was clear.

It needed to work toward a new identity. It figured to be a process, yet it’s one that is taking place quicker than expected.

Santiago went undefeated, without dropping a set, at the season-opening Inland Empire Classic two weekends ago to defend its title. The Sharks knocked off Big VIII rival King in the final.

Playing in Division 1 at the Dave Mohs Championships over the weekend provided a tougher test and was a bettering measuring stick of where Santiago stood early in the season.

The answer came in the form of a semifinal appearance, where Santiago took its first loss of the season when it fell to Lakewood in three games, 25-21, 21-25, 15-13. Lakewood is currently No. 1 in DPT’s Top 25 and hadn’t lost heading into Monday’s final with Mater Dei.

Santiago’s run included picking up victories over Los Alamitos, the defending Division 1-AA champion, and Corona del Mar, another top program in So Cal.

“Those are two all-time name teams, that’s what I told the girls,” Santiago coach Arlen Elvik said. “We swept them both. It was a good day for Santiago volleyball. It was good to get in here. It was good to compete with the best in the top divisions.

“It’s our first time here, so for us to go against the teams we always hear about is nice. We can come out of here saying we are as good as these teams. We may not win every match, but we are as good as these teams. We can compete.”

Rebuilding the left-side attack was the top objective, because the other pieces were in place.

Seniors Lauren Lee and Natalia Betancourt are tri-captains, along with junior Jessie Prichard. Lee plays a vital role in that she hits on the right and can set on broken plays as well. She does a little bit of everything and her leadership role can’t be overlooked.

Prichard, who one opposing coach called the best player in the gym Saturday, runs a 5-1. She’s such a good defender that she records her share of digs. That’s where Lee comes in. She can take the second ball and set it without the Sharks skipping a beat.

Meanwhile, Betancourt provides the stability at libero successful teams need.

Junior MaKayla Wolfe, at 6-foot-3, is a big presence in the middle. She is joined by junior Natalie Shollin, who also provides size and is starting in place of graduated senior Alex Kloehn.

It came down to the outsides and how quickly Santiago could get them up to speed and integrated in the lineup.

One is junior Bailee Turang and the other is senior Jordan Koehnke. While both undersized, Turang could be the team’s best server. She gave Lakewood fits in the semis.

Where Santiago makes up for it is in the familiarity the girls have with each other.

Lee and Betancourt played club together for Mavericks 17s. Prichard, Turang and Shollin played together on Mavericks 16s. Prichard played with Lee and Betancourt in club two seasons ago, while all of them, including Wolfe, have played with each other for three or four years at Santiago.

They know each other well and it translates to the court.

That’s not the only thing.

There’s a winning mentality that permeates the program currently.

Going back to last season, the team lost four sets and one match all season. That type of success breeds confidence, a winning mentality.

Looking at the past club season, Wolfe took home a bronze medal with Club West in 17s Open, while Mavericks 16s qualified for the Open Division at Junior Nationals.

Put simply, Santiago has a roster full of players that are used to being success and winning. So coming into a tournament like Dave Mohs and performing well wasn’t a fluke nor did it catch anyone off guard familiar with the team.

The only question was how quickly the integration process with the redesigned lineup would happen for Santiago. Looks like the answer came over the weekend.

“Especially for this early in the season,” Elvik said. “We’re hitting on all cylinders most of the time. We are ahead of where I hoped to be. We don’t start league for two more weeks. We have some young girls that’ll keep getting better.

“Honestly, losing our top three outsides from last year I was wondering when we get out of system what are we going to do. That’s still the area that we have to work the hardest on.”


There are two facts to know about Santa Margarita this season. The Eagles have just two seniors – outside Claire Archibald and libero Brooke Hertel – on a roster that includes five freshmen, three sophomores and six juniors.

So, yes, Santa Margarita is young, but it’s not something Coach Katy Daly wants to talk about.

“Last year we were young and this year we are young, it’s true,” she said, “but we can’t use it as a crutch. We are young, but we have a ton of experience. Our core group have been playing club since they were 9-years-old.”

Santa Margarita reached the semifinals of the Dave Mohs Championships on Saturday, suffering its first loss of the season when Mater Dei earned the sweep to advance to the finals.

Santa Margarita defeated Long Beach Wilson and Villa Park, both in three games, in the Round of 16 and quarterfinals respectively.

Those were probably matches Santa Margarita loses last fall.

Part of the transformation started last year, when the Eagles were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs on the road at Chaparral, which won in four games after Santa Margarita took the opening set.

After that loss, Daly told her girls to remember the feeling. If they didn’t want to keep feeling it, they needed to close matches when the opportunity was there.

Fast forward to this season, when Santa Margarita was up 2-0 on Sage Hill in a nonleague match earlier last week. The Lightning fought back and forced a fifth set. Last year, Santa Margarita probably comes apart and Sage Hill goes on to win the match.

However, Santa Margarita regrouped and held on for the victory.

On Saturday, the Eagles lost the opening set to both Wilson and Villa Park, only to respond and win both in three. It included outscoring Wilson and Villa Park a combined 30-8 in the Game 3s.

“We’ve shown so much growth from last year,” Daly said. “We had a tough preseason last year. We have a tough preseason this year. There were times we were down this weekend and to Sage Hill as well. They’ve shown growth. We’ve been here before. We know how to fight harder. We can’t let teams take wins from us. We are showing that fight and it’s so exciting to see us mature.

“That Villa Park match is why I coach. You could see the fight in the girls’ eyes. They weren’t going to let a ball drop. We were playing good volleyball.”

Daly said she didn’t think her team played all that bad against Mater Dei in the semis.

She pointed more toward a Mater Dei team that was playing well.

It was also a weekend for the Trinity League in general. Santa Margarita reached the semis, while Mater Dei is in the final, but JSerra advanced to the quarterfinals. With Orange Lutheran defeating San Clemente last week, the league is going to be another minefield to navigate.


When it comes to Corona del Mar and Newport Harbor, the teams could be playing a pick-up game for charity and both sides would still want to come out on top.

It’s one of the best rivalries in So Cal and there was a sneak peak Saturday, when Corona del Mar swept Newport Harbor, 26-24, 25-21. The teams play again Thursday in their annual nonleague clash, labeled Battle of the Bay.

Both teams were missing starters on Saturday due to ACT testing, making Thursday’s showdown something new.

“I think it worked out nicely that we didn’t both have full rosters,” Corona del Mar coach Steve Astor said. “It wasn’t a full Battle of the Bay. I liked it that way. It’s going to be a different match with everyone playing and everyone watching. The girls on both sides don’t know how lucky they are to play in a match like that. There’s nothing like the Battle of the Bay. I’m excited to play them again. We aren’t going to think about Saturday’s match at all.”

Just three weeks into the season and the rivals will have played twice already.

With the programs entered in two more tournaments together, there could be more coming. CdM and Newport are in the Chicago Mother McAuley and the Santa Barbara TOC.  

“Usually, CdM doesn’t go at the same time as Newport Harbor,” Astor said of the Chicago event. “With the coaching change last year we didn’t get to schedule it, so I wanted to go this year so the seniors on the roster get to experience it.”

As for CdM, the Sea Kings’ only loss of the season so far came to Santiago in the quarterfinals of Dave Mohs on Saturday.

CdM picked up victories against Marymount and Laguna Beach in nonleague matches and then beat Mater Dei in pool play.

There was a perception that CdM would see a big drop off this season with Hayley Hodson, who spent time with the National team this winter, not playing her senior year. It’s safe to assume CdM would be better with a player like Hodson.

In reality, which team does she not make better is she was on the roster?

At the same time, underestimating the returning players is a mistake.

“We have a lot of good players still here,” Astor said. “We have done a good job of playing team defense. Our three captains in Katie Craig, Jessie Harris and Paige Migliori and done a great job leading the way. I think Katie Craig is one of the most under-rated outside hitters around. She hit close to .400 this week at Dave Mohs. With the competition we played, that’s pretty phenomenal.

“The process is one of the main phrases I use. We want to win league and then peak in November. We are on the right track. The nice thing is we still have room for improvement. We are still figuring out our options and lineups. I’m still exploring with the roster.”


1. Lakewood (2) – Lakewood takes over the top spot after knocking off previously No. 1 Redondo Union in last week’s Molten Classic final. Lakewood will have to reschedule its Moore League opener with Cabrillo on Wednesday because of a heat advisory that cancelled athletics in the Long Beach school district. Lakewood heads to the Durango Fall Classic this weekend.

2. Redondo Union (1) – Redondo dropped one spot in the rankings after suffering its first loss of the season. Redondo has a nonleague match with Orange Lutheran on Tuesday before heading to Vegas for the Durango Fall Classic.

3. Mira Costa (3) – Mira Costa has yet to play a competitive match and finally opens the season this week at the Durango Fall Classic. It should be interesting, considering the lack of matches for the Mustangs. A tournament like that is not the type to get your feet wet at.

4. Torrey Pines (4) – The Falcons opened their season by beating Cathedral Catholic in three games last Friday. It was a solid start for Torrey Pines, which faces rival La Costa Canyon on Tuesday before going to Vegas. Torrey Pines remained at No. 4 in the rankings.

5. Notre Dame/SO (7) – Notre Dame continues to climb the rankings. It hasn’t played the same caliber of schedule as some of the other teams. The competition remains a bit light with Thousand Oaks and West Ranch scheduled for this week. It won’t take long for the schedule to ramp up though for the Knights. Mission League play is around the corner, as is the California Challenge. We’ll get a much better idea of Norte Dame then.

6. Westview (8) – Speaking of find out, we’ll find out a lot about Westview this week. The Wolverines swept Rancho Bernardo last week. It has a pair of good matches this week, first traveling to Del Norte on Tuesday before going to Great Oak on Thursday. Those are big matches and victories in both would assuredly keep Westview in the Top 10.

7. Flintridge Sacred Heart (10) – The Tologs are another team that hasn’t played too tough of a schedule yet. That changes this week when FSH goes to Vegas. That’s going to be a great measuring stick for the team. FSH defeated La Salle and West Ranch last week and moved up three spots to No. 7.

8. La Costa Canyon (12) – The Mavericks make their Top 10 debut after knocking off Mater Dei in five games last week. LCC faces Torrey Pines on Tuesday and then head to Vegas.

9. Santiago (21) – Santiago is the big winner of the week, reaching the semis at Dave Mohs and jumping 12 spots in the ranking to crack the Top 10 for the first time this season. Santiago hosts Chino Hills on Tuesday in giant 1-A clash.

10. Corona del Mar (9) – CdM dropped one spot after losing to Santiago in the quarterfinals at Dave Mohs. It’s the Sea Kings’ only loss so far this season. CdM faces long-time rival Newport Harbor in the Battle of the Bay on Thursday.

11. Marymount (13) – Marymount swept Oaks Christian last week and climbed up to No. 11 in the rankings. Marymount’s only loss so far is to CdM. Marymount is also entered in the Durango Fall Classic.

12. Mater Dei (n/r) – Just when Mater Dei showed signs of life, the Monarchs had to forfeit their victories at Dave Mohs in those matches in which it used an ineligible player. We’ll see what happens moving forward, but it’s going to be a tough ride for Mater Dei now at Durango this weekend.

13. Santa Margarita (11) – Santa Margarita dropped two spots after losing to Mater Dei at Dave Mohs. That loss of course now counts as a victory for Santa Margarita and that should be reflected in next week’s Top 25. The Eagles are another team traveling to Vegas this weekend.

14. Aliso Niguel (5) – Aliso plays SVC and JSerra this week. Aliso fell nine spots after losing to Mater Dei at Mohs. The ineligible wasn't used in that match by Mater Dei, so the loss stands for Aliso. 

15. Villa Park (15) – The Spartans remained at No. 15 after losing to Santa Margarita at Dave Mohs, the only loss there for VP. The Spartans continue their tough schedule to open the season by going to the Durango Fall Classic on Friday and Saturday.

16. Chino Hills (16) – Chino Hills picked up one of the biggest victories of the week last week by topping previously No. 6 Great Oak in five games. It was a solid victory for Chino Hills, the best of the season so far for the Huskies. That could change this week with a nonleague match against Santiago, plus a trip to Vegas. We’ll see where it leaves Chino Hills in next week’s rankings.

17. Great Oak (6) – Great Oak dropped 11 places after losing its first match of the season, a five-game loss to Chino Hills. Westview comes to Great Oak on Thursday in a fun meeting between one of San Diego’s top teams and one of the better ones in 1-AA.

18. Francis Parker (18) – Parker clawed out a five-game victory over Scripps Ranch last week to notch its first victory of the season. It kept Parker at No. 18. The Lancers are in the Durango Fall Classic this weekend.

19. Cathedral Catholic (13) – The Dons lost for the first time this season when Torrey Pines pulled off the sweep. It dropped Cathedral six places in the rankings. Cathedral faces Scripps Ranch on Wednesday before going to Vegas this weekend.

20. Valencia (20) – Valencia had a close call with Notre Dame Academy last week, winning in five games for the team’s first victory. Valencia followed that up by sweeping Thousand Oaks. Valencia hosts Dos Pueblos in a showdown between 1-A teams on Tuesday.

21. Long Beach Poly (22) – Poly also has to reschedule its Moore League opener with Jordan because of the heat advisory in the district. Poly is another team heading to Vegas.

22. Village Christian (n/r) – Village Christian makes its debut in the Top 25. The team’s only loss so far this season came to Santiago. Village Christian visits Saugus on Tuesday.

23. St. Lucy’s (n/r) – With a pair of victories last week, St. Lucy’s cracks the Top 25 for the first time this season. St. Lucy’s goes to Vegas as well, so how the Regents perform there will determine if they stay in the Top 25 or not next week.

24. Vista Murrieta (n/r) – The Broncos are in a similar spot as St. Lucy’s, cracking the Top 25 for the first time. Vista Murrieta plays Los Osos and goes to Vegas, so we’ll see if the Broncos can perform well enough to stay in the Top 25.

25. Del Norte Nighthawks (24) – After falling to LCC last Tuesday, Del Norte falls one spot but remains in the Top 25. With matches against Westview and Canyon Crest Academy this week, we’ll find out a little more about Del Norte.


It was a tough week for Los Alamitos, which lost to JSerra and Santiago and missed out on the gold bracket at Dave Mohs. Los Al then lost to San Juan Hills in silver bracket play. With Newport Harbor, Edison and Huntington Beach all making the gold bracket, who would’ve thought Los Al would’ve been the Sunset League team on the outside looking in.

Mayfield, of 2-AA, took down Windward, of 2-A, in five games in a nonleague match last week. Mayfield came back the next night and opened Prep League play by downing Westridge in five games.

There was a key match last week in 2-A.

Louisville topped Viewpoint in five games. Louisville dropped to 2-A with the Sunshine League. Viewpoint was ranked No. 3 in 2-A in the preseason polls. Louisville wasn’t ranked.

Division 2-A didn’t report updated rankings Monday, so look for Louisville to break into the Top 10 in 2-A next week.

In CIF-SDS Division 1 action, Point Loma squeaked out a win over La Jolla in five games, 25-18, 23-25, 25-14, 19-25, 15-13, last week. Results like these help shape the seedings at the end of the season for the playoffs.


San Marcos defeated Clovis North, 25-18, in the one-game final of the San Luis Obispo MidState volleyball tournament Saturday.

Junior outside Chloe Allen was named MVP.

San Marcos knocked off La Reina, 18-25, 25-14, 18-16, in pool play. San Marcos then beat Sonora and El Toro in the playoffs, both in one game.

In the Burbank tournament, Quartz Hill topped Culver City, 25-21, in the one-game final.

Culver City defeated Quartz Hill at last year’s event, but settles for the runner-up finish for the second straight year. Burbank defeated Culver City in last year’s final.


With Santa Margarita defeating Sage Hill in five games, 25-22, 25-21, 24-26, 25-20, 15-12, last Tuesday, there were some big numbers from several players. Santa Margarita freshman setter Devon Chang dished out 50 assists and made 16 digs. Sage Hill senior setter Maddy Abbott ended with 42 assists, while senior outside Halland McKenna put down 24 kills.

Senior setter Heidi Dyer had a match for Saddleback Valley Christian against St. Margaret’s. SVC won in four games, 25-22, 22-25, 25-18, 25-13, with Dyer posting a double-double with 17 assists and 17 digs, to go with 5 kills and 2 blocks.

Tesoro defeated Woodbridge in five games, 24-26, 25-23, 25-19, 26-28, 15-9, in nonleague action. Senior outside Sierra Bates led Tesoro with 20 kills. Sophomore opposite Rachel Ahrens just missed reaching the 20-kill mark, finishing with 19. Senior setter Macy Looft finished with 49 assists as well.

Alta Loma swept Los Osos, 25-20, 25-12, 25-23, in nonleague play. Senior outside Aeryn Owens was nearly unstoppable for Alta Loma. Owens recorded 17 kills, while hitting a more-than-respectable .469. She also made contributions on defense, making 9 digs and coming up with 4 blocks.

Speaking of defense, few did it better last week than sophomore libero Dani Dennison. She recorded 30 digs in Edison’s five-game victory over San Clemente, 26-28, 25-19, 25-16, 16-25, 16-14, in nonleague play.

Cathedral Catholic downed Santa Fe Christian in five games, 25-18, 25-19, 24-26, 15-11, in nonleague play. Junior outside Lauren Woodard contributed all over. She had a team-high 22 kills for the Dons, while also making 15 digs and delivering 5 aces. Senior setter Jeni Clark was shown to record 92 assists, which is probably inaccurate considering Cathedral Catholic scored 113 points total. With Woodard having 5 aces, that would mean Clark recorded assists on 92 of 108 points, which is hard to imagine.

Junior outside Savannah Slattery posted a solid double-double for Notre Dame/SO when the Knights beat Notre Dame Academy in four games, 25-18, 27-25, 23-25, 25-14. She finished with 14 kills and 14 digs. Senior setter Zana Muno added 29 assists and 13 digs for the Knights.

Marlborough knocked off Chadwick in five games, 15-25, 27-25, 20-25, 27-25, 17-15, in nonleague play. It didn’t stop freshman middle Clare Lenihan from having a big night. She finished with 16 kills and 15 digs. The stats also list Lenihan with 18 blocks, but that seems like it wasn’t recorded accurately, but it’s probably safe to say she touched a lot of balls at the net.

Westview swept Rancho Bernardo in a match between Division 1 teams. Westview won, 25-18, 25-17, 25-21, with senior outside Kolby Bird registering a team-high 20 kills and 14 digs. Junior outside Izzy Guzik had 16 kills and 13 digs for Westview, which also received 38 assists from Stephanie Rolfson.

Canyon Crest Academy downed Santa Fe Christian in four games, 25-16, 25-23, 23-25, 25-13, in more Division 1 action last week. Junior outside Jolie Rasmussen led CCA with 22 kills and 6 aces.

Eastlake defeated Our Lady Peace, 23-25, 25-22, 25-19, 26-24, in nonleague play. Despite the loss, Jessia McRoskey recorded 27 kills for OLP.

West Hills beat Rancho Bernardo in four games, 25-17, 16-25, 26-24, 25-16. West Hills senior outside Katherine Brouker finished with 23 kills and 28 digs.

In Chino Hills’ victory over Great Oak in five games, 24-26, 25-20, 24-26, 25-23, 15-12, senior outside Meghan Buzzerio had 28 kills. Senior setter Sarah Dixon had 41 assists and 4 blocks for the Huskies as well.


It’s the week of the Durango Fall Classic. It always makes for a great time.

With many of the top-ranked teams heading there, the nonleague schedule is light later in the week.

There are still big ones taking place this week, as well as some leagues starting play as well.

A full Durango preview will be out late Wednesday or early Thursday.

Until there, here are the matches to watch for this week:

5. Dos Pueblos at Valencia, Tue

With Valencia currently ranked in the Top 10 of Division 1-A, this is a great chance for Dos Pueblos to show it can be a factor too in the division. Dos Pueblos is coming off the Dave Mohs Championships and that means Dos Pueblos has played a tougher schedule to start the season than Valencia. The Vikings picked up a pair of victories last week, but could be challenged more in this match. The good thing for Valencia is the match is at home and it gets to avoid the travel. Valencia could remain in the Top 10 either way, but a victory by Dos Pueblos should propel the Chargers into the Top 10 next week.

4. Del Norte at Canyon Crest Academy, Thu

In a showdown between Division 1 teams, potential playoff seedings are on the line. This is a pecking order match, because Del Norte defeated Santa Fe Christian in the finals of the San Diego Fall Classic two weekends ago. Canyon Crest Academy beat SFC last week in nonleague play. So we know Del Norte and CCA is better than SFC right now. We’re about to find out which team is better between Del Norte and CCA in this one.

3. Newport Harbor at Corona del Mar, Thu

Corona del Mar is currently ranked No. 4 in Division 1-AA. Newport Harbor is not ranked. That could change is the Sailors can upset the Sea Kings in the annual Battle of the Bay. It’s one of the longest and most intense rivalries in all of So Cal. CdM has been the team to beat in the series lately, including CdM’s victory over Newport in the Dave Mohs over the weekend. However, both teams were missing starters so throw that result out. The teams switched the match to Thursday this year, a day ahead of the football teams that’ll also meet up in the Battle of the Bay.

2. Chino Hills at Santiago, Tue

This match is going to have huge ramifications. Santiago had a great run at Dave Mohs over the weekend and its only loss so far this season is to undefeated Lakewood. Chino Hills is feeling good coming off last week’s victory over Great Oak in five games. The feeling here is Chino Hills is in for a tough one. Santiago causes matchup problems because of its size. Santiago is also a solid defensive team and is also feeling confident because of its recent play. Santiago can be a tough serving team and sometimes Chino Hills can struggle passing. So the most important thing for Chino Hills is to pass. If the Huskies don’t pass, this match could be lopsided. Bigger yet though is both teams reside in Division 1-A, so this is going to have a direct impact on the rankings. This would be the biggest match of the week most any week, but …

1. La Costa Canyon at Torrey Pines, Tue

As big as Chino Hills and Santiago might be, nothing can overshadow the rivalry between two storied programs in San Diego like LCC and Torrey Pines. The two could be the best teams in San Diego this season, so beyond the all important bragging rights, this result could establish the top team in the county. LCC is riding high after beating Mater Dei last week. No doubt that victory gave LCC the confidence to take down a team like Torrey Pines. The Falcons opened by beating Cathedral Catholic, but should get a much tougher test in this one. Torrey Pines is also looking for its third straight victory in the rivalry after LCC dominated it for so long. It doesn’t get any bigger than this on the week in terms of nonleague matches.

More to watch for:

Redlands at Redlands East Valley, Tue – The Citrus Belt League schedule gets underway in this one. REV is the league favorite, but Redlands will be looking to open with an upset.

Sierra Canyon at Viewpoint, Tue – The Gold Coast also gets going this week. Viewpoint figures to fight for the league title with Windward, so beating a team like Sierra Canyon is a must.

Oaks Christian at Rancho Cucamonga, Tue – This match features two teams from Division 1-A, so the result will have impact on the rankings. Rancho Cucamonga is currently ranked No. 10 in the division.

Saddleback Valley Christian at Aliso Niguel, Tue – SVC can use this match as a measuring stick. SVC is the Division 3-A favorite and will look to take down the No. 1 ranked team in 1-A.

Los Alamitos at Long Beach Wilson, Tue – A nonleague meeting between 1-AA teams, Los Al is ranked No. 9 despite losses to JSerra and San Juan Hills last week. Wilson already made improvement from the first week of the season, so this is a toss-up.

Westview at Del Norte, Tue – A big Division 1 meeting in San Diego, Westview is looking to keep its strong start to the season alive.

Aliso Niguel at JSerra, Thu – JSerra is another team that has already showed improvement since the start of the season. Aliso Niguel must be careful not to overlook the Lions.

King at Murrieta Valley, Thu – This match doesn’t have much ramification on anything, as King is in 1-A and Murrieta Valley is in 1-AA. Still, it should be a close match that help determine the pecking order in So Cal.

Poway at Bishop’s, Thu; Scripps Ranch at Our Lady Peace, Fri; Fallbrook at Rancho Buena Vista, Tue; Bishop’s at La Jolla, Tue; Eastlake at Point Loma, Tue – These five matches all fall under the same category. All the teams involved are in Division 1 in San Diego, so all the results are going to matter in terms of seedings and pecking order. 

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The program was coming off... [numOfComments] => 0 ) [4] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 30087 [title] => Lakewood makes it 2-for-2 with Dave Mohs title [alias] => lakewood-makes-it-2-for-2-with-dave-mohs-title [catid] => 10 [published] => 1 [introtext] =>

Lakewood's Sarah Miller (1) keeps the ball under control during Saturday's action. Lakewood added its second tournament title to its collection with Monday's victory. (Photo: Dave Peeters/sportog.com)

Lakewood woke up Monday morning expecting to play Mater Dei in the Division 1 final of the Dave Mohs Championships, only to learn before noon the match wasn’t going to happen.

The Long Beach Unified School District said no athletics could be played from Monday-Wednesday due to the excessive heat. However, with the championship scheduled at Edison in Huntington Beach, the superintendent made a special exception for Lakewood’s girls volleyball team and granted it permission to play.

A few hours later, Lakewood learned that Mater Dei had to forfeit all of its matches this season because the Monarchs used an ineligible player. That meant Lakewood was playing Santa Margarita instead. The Eagles lost to Mater Dei in the semis and had just started practice on campus when the athletic director informed the squad of the news.

It was an unorthodox day for both sides, one that ended with Lakewood sweeping Santa Margarita, 29-27, 25-22, for the title. It was the first time Lakewood finished first at the event and the victory kept Lakewood undefeated at 12-0 after winning the Molten Classic last Tuesday by beating Redondo Union.

Lakewood’s senior opposite Megann Delgado was selected tournament MVP. Teammates Megan Kruidhof and Sarah Miller joined her on the all-tournament team, which also included Santa Margarita’s Ashley Campbell, Meghan McClure and Brooke Hertzel and Santiago’s Natalie Shollin and Lauren Lee.

“We looked a little worn out,” Lakewood coach Mike Wadley said. “We had three starters sick. That’s not an excuse but we were running a little slower today. We didn’t have any of the emotions, but we were able to pull it out. Santa Margarita is a really good team.

“We weren’t into the match and we should’ve been into it more for a championship match. But again, it’s our second week of tournaments. We’ll get a couple of days off before Vegas. We wanted to win this tournament, but we’ve never been this far before so we’ve never had to deal with this.”

The teams were tied at 19 all in both sets, so it was a matter of which team executed better down the stretch of each of them.

That proved to be Lakewood both times.

“It came down to the seniors and Shelbie (Dobmeier) getting them the ball,” Wadley said. “Megann needed the ball more this match. We knew she was going to have a mismatch on the outside. Our passing wasn’t bad toward the end either. We weren’t making silly mistakes like we did earlier in the sets.”

Junior middle blocker Jackie Ghindia put Santa Margarita in front at 20-19 in Game 2 with a slide winner off the block.

The lead grew to 21-19 when Lakewood misconnected on the next play, forcing a Lancers timeout. McClure scored off a ‘2’ set by pounding the ball down and the Eagles tied the score at 22 all after Lakewood went on a 3-0 run.

Miller came up with a pair of kills, including the match winner, with Delgado and Amanda Henderson delivering a block in between.

The first set started off with Santa Margarita leading 1-0 after Lakewood was penalized a point because the numbers of the front of its jerseys was too low.

Tied at 19, Lakewood scored five of the next seven points to lead 24-21, capped by Kruidhof’s kill. McClure and Claire Archibald scored on consecutive plays, followed by Hannah Dolan’s block and it was tied at 24.

Archibald and Ghindia teamed on a block and Santa Margarita held set point at 26-25, its only one. Brooklyn Schirmer’s kill brought up set point for Lakewood at 28-27. Santa Margarita hit out on the next play and the set was over.

“When they called that timeout (in Game 2), I think we were feeling some of the pressure,” Santa Margarita coach Katy Daly said. “We didn’t fight back as well as Lakewood did. We had control of the match, but it was our errors that were killing us. It’s the maturity of playing in these environments. That’s why I was stoked to play in it and so were the girls.”


St. Margaret’s d Woodbridge 23-25, 25-20, 17-15

The Tartans fought off a match point against before pulling out the three-game victory to claim the Division 2 championship.

Considering there were 12 Division 1-AA or 1-A squads in the 32-team field, the fact that Division 3-AA St. Margaret’s topped them all is no small accomplishment.

The final set was wild, featuring 14 ties and seven lead changes.

Woodbridge had the first shot at winning, going up 14-13 on Madison Burnside’s right-side winner. However, Emily Miller answered with a kill down the line for St. Margaret’s and it was 14 all.

Ariana Delgado’s ace gave St. Margaret’s its first match point at 15-14, but Renee Roeder scored out of the back row for Woodbridge and it was 15 up.

Miller took Charlotte Duran’s ‘2’ set on the next play and put it away, putting St. Margaret’s in front at 16-15. Woodbridge hit out on the next play and the match was finished.

After giving up a 6-0 lead in the opening set, St. Margaret’s trailed 6-1 in Game 2 and was in danger of losing touch. St. Margaret’s fought back, taking the lead at 10-9 and didn’t trail again in the set. The lead ballooned to 20-14 at one point.

Woodbridge overcame its slow start in the opening set, going up 24-21 late in the game. 

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