Volleyball beat

first_img IMMEDIATE IMPACT Some freshmen have not only made the jump to varsity in their first year, they are playing valuable roles for their teams. Some of the area’s leading ninth-graders: Jennifer Brandon, Palmdale The 6-foot-1 middle blocker, starting for a team that returned six seniors, had a team-high 15 kills and seven blocks in Thursday’s loss to Lancaster. “She’s definitely one to watch,” Palmdale coach Colleen Nua said. “She’s still got some things to learn, but she’s such a natural athlete.” Rachael Kidder, Moorpark The 6-foot middle blocker is helping the Musketeers remain in contention to repeat as Marmonte champions despite graduating key players from last season. She contributed a season-high 10 kills in a Sept. 22 victory over Royal of Simi Valley. Elizabeth Kpachavi, Notre Dame The defensive specialist is receiving the most consistent playing time of the Knights’ three varsity freshmen. She’s helped the young team to a No. 3 ranking in Div. III-A. Ashley Thierry, Viewpoint The No. 9 team in Div. IV-A is in good hands with Thierry at setter. ON TRACK TO REPEAT? The first month of the season hasn’t been encouraging for teams hoping to dethrone defending City Section champion San Pedro. The Pirates on Saturday claimed their second tournament title of the season, winning a Venice tournament filled with City teams. San Pedro defeated Chatsworth in the final. “San Pedro’s definitely the No. 1 team in the City,” said Verdugo Hills of Tujunga coach Will Reinhart, whose team lost to Venice in the tournament quarterfinals. “They’re beatable, but to me, they’re clearly the top team now.” NOT SO ROYAL SEEDINGS After finishing third at Saturday’s Royal of Simi Valley tournament at Pacifica High in Oxnard, Flintridge Sacred Heart of La Canada Flintridge couldn’t help but think it might have had a better shot at the title if it hadn’t done so well in pool play. An unusual format for the tournament’s playoff bracket left the third-seeded Tologs facing top-seeded South Hills of Covina in the semifinals. Simi Valley, which Flintridge Sacred Heart defeated during pool play, faced second-seeded Upland. Traditionally, Nos. 1 and 4 seeds are placed in one half of the bracket and Nos. 2 and 3 seeds in the other half. Such a format would have prevented the Tologs from facing South Hills until the final. “We got robbed,” Flintridge Sacred Heart coach Shelli Orlandini said. Her team lost 26-24, 26-24 to South Hills, which won the title. CONFIDENCE BOOSTER Despite being swept in league play by Thousand Oaks and Westlake, Simi Valley is thinking of itself as a playoff contender in the difficult Marmonte League. A strong showing at the Royal of Simi Valley tournament can do such wonders. The Pioneers were the surprise of the day Saturday, upsetting league rival Moorpark and fourth-seeded (and previously undefeated) Oak Park en route to a fourth-place finish. “This definitely gives us a lot of confidence,” Simi Valley coach Ryan Meek said. “To beat teams like Oak Park and Moorpark, we know we can play with the best in the county. Maybe now when we go into matches, there won’t be that seed of doubt, Can we play with a team like this? They can remember, ‘Hey, we beat Oak Park, and they were, like, 15-0.’ ” Much of the Pioneers’ success stemmed from seniors Christine Vaughen and Megan Metcalf, who made the all-tournament team. Simi Valley will be tested next week with rematches against Moorpark and Thousand Oaks. LEAGUE UPDATES Alpha League Paraclete of Lancaster tuned up for this week’s league opener by finishing second at Saturday’s Brentwood tournament. The Spirits lost 25-15, 25-14 to Brentwood in the final. Jenna Novelli and Angela Hupp made the all-tournament team. Golden League A year after finishing out of playoff contention, Littlerock is a frontrunner for this year’s league title. Few anticipated the Lobos’ success, considering the nine-player team features three sophomores and two freshmen. Only one player remains from Littlerock’s 2003 league-championship lineup. The Lobos, who improved to 4-0 in league play with a four-game victory Tuesday over Lancaster, can solidify their title hopes when they face defending champion Quartz Hill next Tuesday. Highland of Palmdale is saving its victories for when they count. The Bulldogs started 3-4, but all three wins were in league action, including a five-game victory over Quartz Hill last week. Mission League Several teams received a preview of the league race at Saturday’s Royal of Simi Valley tournament. Defending league champion Flintridge Sacred Heart of La Canada Flintridge, Louisville of Woodland Hills, and Alemany of Mission Hills faced each other during pool play. Notre Dame of Sherman Oaks also was in the tournament and was on target to face Flintridge Sacred Heart in the Gold Division quarterfinals before being upset by Los Osos of Rancho Cucamonga. “I think its good for the other teams – they get up to face us and get to see what to expect,” Flintridge Sacred Heart coach Shelli Orlandini said. “But I don’t think it’s very good for our girls. They remember those teams from last year, and it’s hard to get them as excited for those games. I would have rather played teams we don’t see all the time.” Sunset Six League Verdugo Hills of Tujunga senior setter Jennifer Espindola set the team record for career assists when she recorded her 833rd Saturday during a pool-play game against San Pedro at the Venice tournament. Monday’s match between Grant of Van Nuys and Poly of Sun Valley was suspended when an air vent in the ceiling came loose during the first game. Poly was leading 18-14. West Valley League Taft of Woodland Hills took the upper hand in the league race by sweeping defending champion Chatsworth last week. But the Chancellors, led by outside hitter Chelsea Duran and middle blocker Lauren Cornell, rebounded with a solid showing Saturday at the Venice tournament, losing in the final to defending City champion San Pedro. San Pedro has defeated Chatsworth three times this season. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREThe top 10 theme park moments of 2019 POTENTIAL UPSET Valencia is favored to win its fourth consecutive Foothill League title, but the Vikings won’t have an easy path. One of their biggest challenges comes Tuesday at Saugus against a Centurions lineup hungry to make amends after missing the playoffs last season. Saugus’ hot start this season is highlighted by an upset last week of Buena of Ventura, which was ranked No. 1 in Div. II-A. GAME OF THE WEEK Flintridge Sacred Heart at Harvard-Westlake, Friday, 5 p.m. The first of two league meetings, a matchup of two of the Southern Section’s highest-ranked teams, provides Flintridge Sacred Heart of La Canada Flintridge with potentially its biggest obstacle to a third consecutive Mission League title. Harvard=Westlake of Studio City, rebounding from a program-worst fourth-place finish last season, are ranked No. 1 in Div. III-A. The Tologs are No. 2 in Div. IV-AA. POTENTIAL HERO Quartz Hill setter Kayla Cherland made the all-tournament team at last weekend’s Royal of Simi Valley tournament and could be in the spotlight again when the defending Golden League champion plays Tuesday at first-place Littlerock. Cherland is one of three returning seniors – with Tara Henn and Stefannie Svieven – that anchors coach Larry Vocke’s team. center_img TOP 10 No., Team, Record, LW 1. Flintridge Sacred Heart 12-2 1 Showdown Friday with Harvard-Westlake. 2.Valencia 10-2 2 Undersized Wells a huge threat. 3. Thousand Oaks 6-1 3 Closes first round of league against Westlake. 4. Harvard-Westlake 11-3 5 Sizzling Sebastian had 78 assists vs. Brentwood, Rosary. 5. Oak Park 16-1 4 Unbeaten streak ended by Simi Valley. 6. Westlake 11-2 6 Johnson and Lane meeting high expectations. 7. Oaks Christian 4-3 NR Tough schedule makes record deceiving. 8. Notre Dame 10-1 7 Candelas’ absence felt at Royal tournament. 9. Verdugo Hills 12-2 9 Disappointing showing at Venice tournament. 10. Saugus 11-1 NR Entered rankings this week, No. 9 in Div. I-A. Records through Tuesday. SEVEN-DAY FORECAST last_img read more