No. 1 Vista Murrieta over West Covina South Hills
Norco over Redlands East Valley
Rancho Cucamonga over Corona Santiago
Temecula Chaparral over No. 4 Covina Charter Oak
No. 3 Upland over Temecula Great Oak
Chino Hills over Redlands
Eisenhower over Murrieta Valley
No. 2 Corona Centennial over Los Osos
No. 1 Vista Murrieta over Norco
Rancho Cucamonga over Temecula Chaparral
No. 3 Upland over Chino Hills
No. 2 Corona Centennial over Eisenhower
Seventeen postseason games in two years can’t help but provide the St. Lucy’s volleyball team a little perspective on a regular-season Tuesday night.
Despite first place being on the line in the Sierra League and the two teams separated by two points or less late in each game, St. Lucy’s earned a sweep over Ayala by game scores of 25-18, 25-19 and 25-20.
The No. 1 team in CIF-SS Division 1-A came through when it mattered most, winning the last five points of the first game and the final four of the second and third games to extend their league lead to two games over Ayala (11-7-1, 4-2).
It’s not often the Chino Hills High School football team faces a “must-win” game outside the postseason. Huskies head coach Derek Bub, however, applied that label to last Friday’s game against Ayala.
Coming off a 41-13 loss to Covina Charter Oak Oct. 5 that all but dashed its seemingly promising Sierra League title hopes, Chino Hills would have bigger problems if it dropped a second straight game in league play.
Coming to its side of Chino Hills was not only a fierce city rival but a revived one-loss Ayala team brimming with confidence after a statement win over a 2011 playoff team in its league opener.
“Even aside from the rivalry and all that comes with that, this was a game we needed to win,” Bub said. “If you have any chance of playing in the postseason, you can’t go 0-2 in the Sierra League.”
There is still only one big dog in Chino Hills.
A resurgent Ayala team didn’t go quietly, but Chino Hills pulled away in the fourth quarter for a 49-34 victory over the Bulldogs on Friday night at Chino Hills High School.
The Huskies (4-2-1, 1-1) bounced back from a 28-point loss last week to Covina Charter Oak in what was billed as the Sierra League championship game.
Coming off its most significant league victory in three years, Ayala (5-2, 1-1) couldn’t muster its first win over Chino Hills since 2008.
After the Huskies’ offense was held to 13 points last week, the Chino Hills tandem of quarterback Matt Simko and running back Louis Napoles combined for 385 yards against Ayala.
Thomas R. Cordova/Staff Photographer
After a couple of down years for Ayala, the city rivalry will be renewed tonight when the resurgent Bulldogs take on a Chino Hills program that is seemingly always in the Sierra League championship mix.
Curious timing: Entering league play just two weeks ago, Chino Hills (3-2-1, 0-1) was considered one of the favorites while Ayala (5-1, 1-0) had demonstrated measurable improvement but was still dealing with some uncertainty.
One game into league play their situations are considerably different.
Chino Hills is coming off a loss to defending league champ Covina Charter Oak by a larger than expected margin of 41-13. The Huskies, who lost a 38-7 matchup to Charter Oak last season that determined the league championship, now find themselves facing an uphill battle.
Ayala, meanwhile, only added legitimacy to its 4-1 start to the season with a 49-31 win last week over a Damien team that made the playoffs a year ago. Now a clearly improved Bulldogs team will take on Chino Hills with most of the pressure on the Huskies.
The fun is over for the Sierra League.
Now the teams have to play each other.
The depth of the league was on display as it compiled a nonleague record of 19-9 during the first five weeks of the season, leaving only one of six teams with a losing record before league play begins Friday.
Defending champion Covina Charter Oak and a Chino Hills team that won the previous three league titles appear to again be the favorites. But by all accounts, the league is deeper than it was last season, which is no small statement.
As the wins mount, the games only appear to become more significant for Ayala (3-0), which hosts resurgent Glendora (2-0) Friday night a week after returning from a 56-32 victory at North Las Vegas Cheyenne High School.
Passing the baton: Week 0 it was Jordan Robinson. Week 1 it was the defense. Continuing the trend, last week it was Ayala quarterback Brian Meyette who was the next in line to play a starring role.
The senior completed 11 of 17 passes for 213 yards and four touchdowns, giving him six touchdowns on the season and no interceptions.
Senior Jordan Robinson, who caught two of those scoring passes last week, has been the Bulldogs’ primary threat on the ground. He has 304 rushing yards and three touchdowns through the first three games, but the development of Ayala’s passing game could take some of the focus of Robinson.
This time, Chino Hills would have preferred a tie.
A week after an epic 48-48 tie with La Puente Bishop Amat, the Huskies would have rather made their final field goal attempt and found the end zone on fourth down from the 2-yard line, but neither occurred in a 24-14 loss to Rancho Santa Margarita Tesoro on Friday night.
Chino Hills, the No. 7 in the CIF-SS Inland Division, missed a game-tying 33-yard field goal with 44 seconds left in the third quarter and five plays later found itself trailing by 10. Tesoro (3-0) was carried on the decisive drive by running back Nate Tago, who finished with 227 yards and three touchdowns on 24 carries. The senior preceeded a 20-yard scoring run at the 11:45 mark of the fourth quarter with a game-breaking 46-yard scamper.
Trailing by 10, Chino Hills (1-1-1) elected not to kick a field goal on its next possession, rather, go for it on fourth down from the Tesoro 2-yard line only to be stopped short with 10:18 to play. The Huskies turned it over on downs one final time at the Tesoro 32-yard line.
The St. Lucy’s girls volleyball team graduated its top three players, including reigning Daily Bulletin Player of the Year, setter Jackie Macy. But somehow the two-time defending CIF-Southern Section champions return six starters.
“Well, we rotate so much that I call them starters,” St. Lucy’s coach Sean Douglas said. “They played all the time last year.”
Incorporated with the remaining veterans will be 6-foot-2 freshman opposite hitter Loryn Carter, who will replace graduated CIF-SS Player of the Year Jasmine Warmington. Carter’s club team won a national championship last season. Sophomore setter Juliet McClure, who was brought up to the varsity last season, will replace Macy.
The fact that the Ayala High School football team is already two thirds of the way to last year’s win total may not do justice to the measure of its improvement. The fact that the word “championship” can be mentioned in the same sentence with the Bulldogs may be a more accurate reflection.
Ayala’s 16-15 win over two-time defending CIF champion Monrovia on Friday night gave the Bulldogs a 2-0 record and added much perspective to a season-opening 29-point blowout of Diamond Bar. Scoring a victory over the CIF-SS Mid-Valley champs is the best indication in three years that Ayala is returning to the form that had it regularly contending for the Sierra League title until beginning to slip three years ago.
“To beat a team of that caliber definitely shows that we have a talented team that can compete with that caliber of opponent,” Ayala coach Randy Reams said. “I mean, back to back CIF champs, it doesn’t get much tougher than that.”