Alta Loma volleyball team closing in on a CIF title

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It’s one more to go for the spirited Alta Loma High School volleyball team.

The Braves (32-2) turned in a convincing 3-0 win over Garden Grove on Tuesday night in one Division 4AA semifinal to earn a spot in Friday’s title game against La Reina (29-8) which defeated St. Paul 3-1.

Many will say they’re making a run because they dropped from Division 1A to 4AA, the result of moving from a competitive Baseline League to a not-competitive at all Mt. Baldy League.

This one has been a few years in the making for coach Tishanna Pope who has eight seniors on her 10-person squad. It’s a tight-knit squad and has been since the core of the team arrived as freshmen.

But this team can play. I don’t care what division they’re in. Among their wins this season was one over Riverside King, which made the semifinals in 1A and eventually lost to top seed Aliso Niguel.

They also have a win over 2A finalist South Torrance.

One of their two losses was to Village Christian, the team that will play South Torrance for a title.

Pope has done a masterful job of bringing this team along and she had a pretty big challenge ahead of her this year. Yes she had an experienced team that seemed to poised to make a run. But she also had to find a way to keep this team focused and sharp when it had no equal in the league.

It’s a lot easier to get fired up and focused when you’re playing longtime rivals like Los Osos and Rancho Cucamonga. When you’re competition is the other schools in the Mt. Baldy, well, not so easy to get up to play every match.

Aeryn Owens has emerged as one of the area’s premier players. But the Braves a lot of solid players around her, all of whom have excelled in the role they’re asked to hold down.

This team has also been No. 1 all season and it’s not always easy to play with the target on your back.

They’re so close to finishing the job!

Alta Loma coach Tishana Pope talks about making it to the final

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All-CIF selections out in girls volleyball

Here are the complete All-CIF teams:

Division 1-AA
Players of Year
– Crissy Jones, Los Alamitos, Frankie Shebby, Mater Dei
Coach of the Year – Dave Huber, Los Alamitos

Players – Haley Hobson, Corona del Mar; Tia Scambray, Dana Hills; Cadie Bates, Great Oak; Megan Kruidhof, Lakewood; Reni Meyer Whalley, Marymount; Skylar Caputo, Mira Costa, Taylor Wheatley, Orange Lutheran; Norene Iosia, Redondo Union; Rylee Hunt, Los Alamitos; Annie Hale, Los Alamitos; Jaden Pickell, Mater Dei.

Division 1-A
Player of Year
– Haley DeSales, LaSalle
Coach of Year - Adam Black, Harvard-Westlake

Players – Lindsay Ruddins, Aliso Niguel; Meghan Buzzerio, Chino Hills; Kelly Clues, El Dorado; Sofia Coffey, Flintridge Sacred Heart; Josephine Kremer, Harvard-Westlake; Nicole Elattrache, Harvard-Westlake; Caroline Knop, La Salle; Alyssa Taveras, La Salle; Sussanah Muno, Sherman Oaks Notre Dame; Sydney Bast, St. Lucy’s; Peyton Grahovac, Villa Park; Katherine Bloch, Sherman Oaks Notre Dame.

Division 2-AA
Player of Year
– Chanel Hoffman, Corona Santiago
Coach of Year - Arlen Elvik, Corona Santiago

Players - Aeryn Owens, Alta Loma; Ashten Smith-Gooden, Los Osos; Ashley Kaylor, Los Osos; Kalei Greeley, Martin Luther King; Shelby Livingston, Oaks Chr.; Grace Napolitano, Oaks Chr.; Kylie Miller, Rancho Cucamonga; Jessie Prichard, Santiago; Alexandra Kloehn, Santiago; Kori Kutsch, South Torrance; Sabryn Roberts, North Torrance; Claire Kiffer-Wright, South Pasadena.

Division 2-A
Player of Year
– Deanna Blaine, Whittier Christian
Coach of Year - Shawn Hunter, Whittier Christian

Players – Lexi Resch, Whittier Chr.; Claire Lenihan, Chadwick, Alina Smith, Cypress; Natalie Johnson, Mayfield; Olivia Mediano, Palm Springs; Madison Holl, Oxnard; Selby Schnobrich, Village Chr.; Kylee Wolfe, Whittier Chr.; Jennifer Washlee, Whittier Chr.; Aspen Potter, Yorba Linda; Kayla Chapman, Troy.

Division 3-AA
Player of Year
– Collette Franz, Viewpoint
Coach of Year – Frank Pontello, Viewpoint

Players – Lara Schwieyer, Viewpoint; Christina Cornelius, Viewpoint; TaeLeon Butler, Windward; Kyra Hill, Sierra Canyon; Cassidy Paperny, Culver City; Melissa Martinez, La Serna; Claire Kovensky, Citrus Valley; Ifeoma Ufondu, Quartz Hill; Lauren Purdon, Valley View; Rachel Furash, Viewpoint; Maria Difranco, Santa Monica.

Division 3-A
Player of Year
– Kekai Whitford, Sage Hill
Coach of Year - Dan Thomassen, Sage Hill

Players – Halland McKenna, Sage Hill; Maddy Abbott, Sage Hill; Kayla Scheel, Crean Lutheran; Katie Kyckelhahn, Crean Lutheran; Amanda Kirtley, Aquinas; Daisia LaBrie, La Sierra; Gabrielle Benk, St. Margaret’s; Itali Andrade, Western Chr.; Autumn Russell, Templeton; Alexandria Carlson, Santa Ynez, Amanda Reifer, Jurupa Valley.

Division 4-AA
Player of Year
– Heidi Dyer, Saddleback Valley Chr.
Coach of Year – Carmen Strattonm Saddleback Valley Chr.

Players
– Jaelyn Green, Saddleback Valley Chr.; Tristan Self, Hemet; Baylee Christian, Hemet; Riley Kelly, St Paul; Ayana Knowles, Don Lugo; Alyssa Cazares, Shadow Hills; Rayven Roman, Summit; Rachel DeArman, Colony; Nada Dragovic, Cantwell Sacred Heart; Jade Anderson, Fairmont Prep; Elyse Vega, West Valley; Gisela Govea, Fontana.

Division 4-A
Player of Year
- Grace Minchin, Pacifica Chr.
Coach of Year – Julie Bennett, Pacifica Chr.

Players – Maile Lane, Pacific Chr.; Clara Madsen, Laguna Blanca; Phoebe Madsen, Laguna Blanca; Olivia Leventhal, Crossroads; Cydney Pierce, Cate; Natalie Stephanus, Vistamar; Marielle O’Campo; St. Anthony; McKenna Clawson, Nordhoff; Catherine Collins, Paraclete; Kathy McKiernan, La Puente; Carolyn Urquieta, La Puente; Kaity Bailey, Villanova Prep.

Division 5-AA
Player of Year – Deana Seno, Pomona Catholic
Coach of Year- Randy Bohlman, Pomona Catholic

Players – Leah Miranda, Pomona Catholic; Justine Zepeda, Bishop Conaty-Loretto; Kelly Berger, Mammoth; Taylor Webster, Faith Baptist; Shauna Cyr, La Sierra; Madison Zelenski, Lancaster Desert Chr.; Kylie Brown, Santa Clarita Chr.; Elizabeth Shelton, Desert; Bethany Young, Coastal Chr.; Jeni Ecklund, Apple Valley Chr.; Olivia Hough, Hesperia Chr.; Lauren Peters, San Gabriel Mission.

Division 5-A
Player of Year
– Sami Whitaker, Riverside Chr.
Coach of Year – Joyceann Duncan, Riverside Chr.

Players – Megan Holmes, Riverside Chr.; Karina Muneton, West Shores; Kirtsen Mueller, Hillcrest Chr.; Julie Cameron, Nuview Bridge; Jannet Olvera, Orangewood Aca.; Michelle Mole, Excelsior Charter; Ana Tse, St. Monica; Emily Curtin, Lake Arrowhead Chr.; Vanessa Sanchez, Avalon; Graecyn Boyd, Rancho Chr.; Emily Cook, Palm Valley; Danielle Cox, Trona.

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