Don Lugo football team gets boost from unlikely source

Last year the Don Lugo team was one of the most improved teams in the area going from last to third in the Mt. Baldy League to make the playoffs.

Many of those players graduated so second-year coach Luis Garcia is counting on newcomers to keep the progress coming.

But one player has come through who wasn’t on the radar three months ago.

Junior Anthony Miller didn’t even play football last year, although he did compete on the wrestling team. Garcia had him penciled in on the junior varsity. But Miller, a 5-foot-10, 170-pounder, has looked so good not only has he earned spot on the varsity, he is challenging for a starting position at running back and/or linebacker.

“He has been a real beast,” Garcia says. “He plays hard, practices hard and he’s tough.”

Don Lugo, 6-4 a year ago, opens the new season on Friday at Walnut. It defeated the same opponent 41-14 to start last season with Walnut ending the season with a 2-8 record.

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Alta Loma volleyball team looks to defend title with new cast

The Alta Loma High School volleyball team had that magical run last year that a coach usually only dreams of.

The Braves went 33-3, cruised to the Mt. Baldy League title, won a Southern Section CIF title in Division 4AA and finished as the STATE runner-up. It was the deepest run by any Chaffey Joint Unified School District team in history . . . in any sport.

But the Braves graduated eight of the 10 players so they will be hard-pressed to repeat that run. Does the new squad feel the pressure to defend that feat? Not really.

“The only pressure they feel is what they put on themselves to be good,” says coach Cindy Gurney, who is taking the reigns as the lone coach after sharing billing with Tishana Pope who resigned. “They realized that was a once in a lifetime team and run that probably won’t happen again.”

The two holdovers from that team are outside hitter Gabrielle Oddo and middle blocker Kylie Szczepanksi, both seniors.

The hardest person to replace is always the setter. The Braves will run a 6-2 with freshman Cassidy Gallahan and sophomore Cecelia White sharing the duties.

Among the other newcomers Gurney is hoping will pick up the slack offensively is junior Jada Sharpe, a standout on the junior varsity last season.

“Our goal is win the league and play well in the preseason and that will hopefully set us up with a good seed and draw for the playoffs,” Gurney said. “We have some younger players who have a lot of potential.”

Gurney says not much has changed from a coaching standpoint. Not only did she coach with Pope, but Caitlyn Hall, who was on the staff last year as well, has returned.

Most of the players from that team went on and will be playing in college. An update on where they are all at. Most are relatively close to home:

Aeryn Owens, Cal State Northridge
Amy Armstrong, Cal State San Bernardino
Breanna Golsch, Cal State Dominguez Hills
Kristen Sanchez, University of La Verne
Taylor Kettle, Troy (Ala.)

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Alta Loma graduates land collegiate soccer honors

A couple of Alta Loma High School graduates have had quite the start to the collegiate season at San Diego State.

Stacie Moran is the MW Defensive Player of the Week.

Freshman forward Leah Pruitt was named the Mountain West Conference Offensive Player of the Week, while sophomore Stacie Moran earned Defensive Player-of-the-Week honors.

Pruitt, who broke the Alta Loma single season scoring record and was the Inland Valley Player of the Year as a senior, was a huge factor in both Aztec victories.

In the 6-0 win over she tallied one goal and one assist.

Stacie  Moran

Then at No. 16/17 Kentucky on Sunday, she assisted on both goals to help her team secure the 2-0 victory.

Meanwhile Moran continued her stellar play from a year ago when she was voted to the all-MW second team as a freshman. She started both games and was the only Aztec to play the full 90 minutes in each outing.

 

 

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Claremont’s Emilee Rohrer makes verbal commitment to USC

Claremont High School volleyball standout Emilee Rohrer grew up a UCLA fan and most of the members of her family her Bruins fans as well.

But the 6-foot-2 sophomore outside hitter went in another direction when deciding where she wants to go to college, making a verbal commitment to USC over the weekend.

“I have been a diehard UCLA fan all my life and always wanted to go there. USC was just an option,” she said. “Then I went to visit USC and I was really blown away. I loved the campus, the coaches were so nice. I loved everything it had to offer.”

Rohrer had a stellar freshman campaign last fall for the Wolfpack, tallying 242 kills and registering a hitting percentage of .303.

She is also a versatile player as evidenced by 146 digs, 22 aces and 15 blocks.

She was a first team Palomares League selection and was chosen the Daily Bulletin’s Newcomer of the Year. More impressive was her selection to USA Volleyball’s A1 Select team made up from top players throughout the country.

She made several other unofficial visits as well, making those to UCLA, Pepperdine, Minnesota, and Washington. The offer came from USC in May.

“I really took my time and thought about the decision,” she said. “It really has kind of taken a weight off my shoulders so I can concentrate on having a great season.”

Rohrer plans to major in occupational therapy.

 

 

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Here are your Week 0 prep football games

THURSDAY
Jurupa Hills vs. Gladstone at Citrus College
Serrano vs. Lancaster Paraclete (at Antelope Valley College)

FRIDAY
Arroyo Valley at San Bernardino
Barstow at Miller
Cajon at Roosevelt
California Military Institute at Aquinas
Chaffey at Lake Elsinore-Lakeside
Chino Hills at Ayala
Citrus Valley at San Gorgonio
Colony at West Covina
Corona Santiago at Redlands
Don Lugo at Walnut
Duarte at Diamond Bar
Eastside at Adelanto
El Rancho at Claremont
Norco vs. Etiwanda (at Colony)
Ganesha at Keppel
Granite Hills at Yucca Valley
Heritage Christian at Ontario Christian
Hesperia at Fontana
Los Osos at Carter
Mayfair at Grand Terrace
Montclair at San Gabriel
Ontario at Garey
Pomona at Oak Hills
Rancho Christian vs. Arrowhead Christian (at Citrus Valley)
Rialto at Victor Valley
Riverside Prep vs. Brethren Christian at Ocean View
Rowland vs. Alta Loma (at Chaffey)
Santa Paula vs. Indian Springs (at Pacific)
Schurr at Bonita
Silverado at Apple Valley
South Hills at Diamond Ranch
Sultana at Eisenhower
Trabuco Hills vs. Rancho Cucamonga (at Los Osos)
Upland at Palmdale Knight
Webb at Hamilton
Western Christian vs. Calvary Murrieta (at Vista Murrieta)

SATURDAY
Excelsior vs. Big Bear (at Big Bear Middle School)

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Western Christian football has gone from bottom to top before

Of all football programs, Western Christian shouldn’t be intimidated by it’s current predicament.

The Lancers finished last in the Ambassador League last season, but perhaps even more revealing is that new coach Michael Khoshkbariie began spring practice with just 18 players on the roster.

Western Christian has beaten the odds before – quickly. The Lancers went from three wins to an undefeated regular season in just two years, surging to the CIF-SS semifinals in 2013. But just as quickly, Western found itself at the bottom of the league again.

The Lancers have their work cut out again in an Ambassador League that is deeper than it was two seasons ago. But Khoshkbariie already has 40 players out for the team. Continue reading

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Chino Hills volleyball has head coaching change

The Chino Hills High School volleyball team has had a coaching change, well sort of.

Kassandra McInteer has stepped down after four years heading the program after getting a full-time job with a schedule that didn’t allow her to continue coaching.

The program has been handed over to Dana Buzzerio who is no stranger to the position. She has been in the program for eight years. The first four of those were as head coach with McInteer her assistant. The two then flipped positions.

“We think a like and have always been on the same page so not much will change,” Buzzerio says. “We just have a lot of new players this year.”

Buzzerio’s daughter Meghan was the Inland Valley Player of the Year last fall as a senior. Another daughter, Courtney, will be the starting setter this year. The entire family has been active on the club scene for the last 10 years as well.

McInteer also had to step down from her duties as a club coach and says she will miss the sport.

“It has been part of my life for a long time but I’m leaving the program in good hands,” she said.

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Diamond Bar football looks to regroup after tough season

Last year was a learning one for Marcus Hughes, who had just taken the helm of the Diamond Bar football program. It’s hard enough to come into a program new. Try coming in when you’re from another part of the country.

So the New York native comes into this season feeling a whole lot more comfortable.

Last year the Brahmas were also hit with some key injuries late in the season, many of those to skill position players.

“We’re light years ahead of where we were last year,” Hughes says. “Just having a whole off-season has been huge. “The learning curve when you’re from the outside is much steeper than people think.”

Much of the cast that contributed to last year’s 3-7 showing has graduated so this will be a young Brahma squad.

Hughes thinks the strength of this team will be in the offensive line which is led by senior David Omana, a three-year starter who is drawing some looks from smaller Division I colleges. Junior Bryan Kwon has moved from guard to center and will also be counted on heavily.

Junior Grant Mestas is the newcomer at quarterback. He directed the junior varsity team a year ago but did get some playing time on varsity late last season when starter Tyler Peterson was injured.

The entire backfield will be new. Hughes is looking at senior Dimaggio Rico, used primarily as a cornerback and return specialist, to shoulder much of the load.

The wide receiving core is also unproven but Hughes likes the potential. Top players there are sophomore Koby Duru, who is up from the freshman team, and junior J.C. Holmes, up from the junior varsity.

Top athletes on defense should include senior linebacker Connor Donohue, senior lineman Blake Goodman, who has made a transition from fullback, senior defensive end Andrew Gomez and defensive back Christian Kim.

A couple of sophomores are in pivotal positions on defense with Hughes singling out sophomores Ryan Vargas and Wayne Schuster who will be in the linebacking spots with Schuster a converted quarterback.

Hughes has taken over offensive coordinator duties and is changing up the offense. He will be looking to emphasize the run a bit more.

“Last year I took what I had been used to and tried to combine that with what they were used to here and it never really worked,” he said. “We as a coaching staff down and put thought into what was the best fit for our personnel.”

There is also a change defense as J.D. Thompson and Eddie Hernandez will coordinate that side of the ball. Hernandez was on staff last year as a line coach while Thompson is a new addition.

The Brahmas open the season on Friday against Duarte, which is coming off a 2-8 showing in 2014.

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Rancho Cucamonga volleyball looks to regain league title

Kylie Miller unleashes a shot in match last year against Los Osos.

Last year Chino Hills came into the Baseline and swiped away the league title the Cougars had won the previous year.

Well it’s a new season and Rancho Cucamonga looks like it is poised to that that crown back, with Chino Hills and St. Lucy’s looking like the most formidable foes.

Coach Aaron Flores is back at the helm after a year away in which he served a an assistant at Division I UC Irvine.

Senior Kylie Miller, who committed to UCLA as a sophomore, will lead the way. The most versatile player in the Inland Valley tallied 288 kills, 225 digs, 71 service aces and 27 total blocks. She divided time between and setting but this year will be used as an outside hitter with junior Mary Bagshaw, who transferred from Bonita last year assuming setting duties full time.

“This is going to be a great year for her,” Flores said. “Playing just hitter will also allow her to focus more on defense and passing which is a little tougher when you’re setting.”

The other reason for such optimism is the cast of players around Miller. Last year Karson Bacon burst on the scene as a freshman and notched 147 kills and a team-high 43 blocks. She has grown a bit and now stands 6-4 and Flores says she is drawing the same interest Miller did two years ago.

Other key returning players are junior outside hitters Sydney Culpepper and Bria Beale who combined for 395 kills last year. Last year Beale injured an ankle right before the playoffs which was a major blow to the team’s postseason hopes and the Cougars suffered a second round loss to Hart.

“This is the best team the school has ever had,” Flores says boldly. “We have a lot of potential and I am very excited.”

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Chino Hills, Ayala battle in rivalry game for season opener

VIDEO: Chino Hills football coach Matt Bechtel talks about the rivalry game against Ayala.

When Chino Hills was dispatched from the Sierra to the Baseline League last year, so went the rivalry between Ayala and Chino Hills separated by just 4.3 miles.

But the teams will square off in the season opener for both at 7 p.m. Friday at Ayala.

Chino Hills is coming off a second-place finish last year in the Baseline, the lone team finishing in front of it being Upland. The Huskies finished 8-3 overall, with a first-round playoff loss to Temecula Great Oak.

Meanwhile, Ayala is coming off a 6-4 regular season in which it was tied for third in the Palomares but missed out on the playoffs because of a tiebreaker.

The Huskies hold an 8-3 lead in the series and Ayala hasn’t won the rivalry game since 2008. Here’s how the previous games between the two have played out.

2014 – Did not play
2013 – Chino Hills 52, Ayala 28
2012 – Chino Hills 49, Ayala 34
2011 – Chino Hills 40, Ayala 17
2010 – Chino Hills 36, Ayala 8
2009 – Chino Hills 14, Ayala 7
2008 – Ayala 18, Chino Hills 17
2007 – Ayala 19, Chino Hills 10
2006 – Chino Hills 42, Ayala 21
2005 – Chino Hills 20, Ayala 7
2004 – Chino Hills 21, Ayala 16
2003 – Ayala 21, Chino Hills 17

VIDEO: Ayala coach Randy Reams talks about rivalry game against Chino Hills

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