Don Lugo wins first Mt. Baldy volleyball title

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The Don Lugo volleyball team is celebrating a Mt. Baldy League title and it has been a long time coming. In fact, it is believed to a first in the sport for the Conquistadores.

This should have come easy but didn’t. On the court the Conquistadores went undefeated in league play but they had to forfeit four matches, three of those Mt. Baldy matches, due to incorrect information provided on what was later ruled an eligible transfer.

So officially Don Lugo is 11-8 overall, 9-3 in league. It looked like the team would have to settle for a tie for first but when Chino knocked off Colony the last match of the season it gave the Conquistadores an unshared title. Call it poetic justice.

The rise of the program has come thanks in part to the arrival of the Chino Volleyballerz, a club team started by Don Lugo coach Eve Knowles who had recently moved into the area and was looking for a place for daughter Ayana to play. There wasn’t one so she started one. That’s never an easy chore.

When the Don Lugo position opened she was asked to take it and she did.

Like other sports, volleyball has become a year-round game. You can’t compete unless the balance of your team plays year-round. Clubs provide feeder programs for area high schools and colleges but you can’t control who goes where. So as a club coach you could be grooming players for rival high schools. So those who work with clubs are doing it for the advancement of the sport as much as anything.

Hopefully the progress of the Don Lugo program and the Chino club program will be the catalyst for improvement in other Inland Empire programs as well. That would benefit everybody.