CIF-SS GIRLS VOLLEYBALL PLAYOFFS: La Salle, Arcadia, La Canada, Mayfield, San Gabriel and Alverno advance

Haley DeSales makes a great save during volleyball game against Redlands East ELITE EIGHT: Haley DeSales helped La Salle reach the CIF-SS quarterfinals with a five-set victory over Redlands East Valley on Thursday.
Staff photo by Walt Mancini

It turned out to be a terrific Thursday as seven area girls volleyball teams advanced to Saturday’s quarterfinals. The big shocker was Arcadia’s win at traditional power Troy. Joining the Apaches in the Elite 8 are La Salle, La Canada, Mayfield, San Gabriel and Alverno.

Arcadia 3, Troy 2
FULLERTON - Arcadia High School wasn’t sure how it matched up with traditional girls volleyball power Troy on Thursday night. But one thing the Apaches knew, they weren’t going to go down without a fight.
Lexi Resch had 17 kills and Allison Stevenson had nine to lead Arcadia to a 25-20, 16-25, 25-14, 19-25, 15-11 victory over the Warriors in a CIF-Southern Section Division 2A second-round match.
The Apaches, also getting seven kills from Kristen Mueller, improved to 21-7 and will host No. 2 seed Chadwick in Saturday’s quarterfinals.
Troy, getting 17 kills from Alison Beattie, finished 19-9.
Arcadia coach Charles Freberg: “In volleyball, it really is how you can adjust to what the other team is doing. (Troy), toward the end, started dumping down the line, and we were able to rotate over to it.”
Arcadia hitter Lexi Resch: Our team just came in here like there was nothing to lose. We told ourselves, if we are going to go out, we’re going to go out swinging. That’s what we did. I just felt that there was nothing to lose at this point. I wanted to go out (and have them say), `She did what she had to do.’ We just really pulled together in those last few points. It was a great match for us.”
La Salle 3, Redlands East Valley 2
PASADENA - La Salle High School’s Katrina Palffy smashed a shot into the middle of the court to rally the host Lancers to a dramatic fifth-game win over Redlands East Valley in a CIF-Southern Section Division 1A second-round match on Thursday night.
The Lancers advanced to Saturday’s quarterfinals with a 25-16, 20-25, 19-25, 25-16, 17-15 victory. They will play San Juan Hills, a winner over Harvard-Westlake.
La Salle (31-2) rallied from a game down and then from a 5-1 deficit in the fifth game. The Wildcats had two match points. Kayla Fitzgerald gave Redlands East Valley (33-7) its first match point when a soft shot over the La Salle blockers hit the floor for a 14-12 lead.
La Salle coach Tiare Tuitama: “At the very end I told my setter (Alyssa Taveras) to set to win and she knows what that means. She did a great job of doing that. Haley did a great job.”
La Salle outside hitter Haley DeSales: “We just tried to keep pumping each other up. That was all we could do. We fought the whole time.”

La Salle def. Redlands East Valley, 25-16, 20-25, 19-25, 25-16, 17-15
La Canada def. Arroyo Grande, 25-10, 19-25, 25-17-25-22
Arcadia def. Troy, 25-20, 16-25, 25-14, 19-25, 15-11
Pasadena Poly def. LaQuinta, 25-7, 25-15, 23-25, 25-20
Mayfield def. Pacifica/GG, 23-25, 28-26, 25-17, 25-21
St. Margaret’s def. Gabrielino, 25-9, 25-16, 25-23
San Gabriel def. Jurupa Valley, 25-22, 28-28, 25-19
Sage Hill def. Rosemead, 25-10, 25-18, 25-11
Alverno def. San Gabriel Academy, 25-13, 25-15, 25-22
Division 1A

La Salle at San Juan Hills
Oaks Chr. at La Canada
Chadwick at Arcadia
Whittier Chr. at Mayfield
Burroughs/Burbank at Poly
Aquinas at San Gabriel
Excelsior Charter at Alverno
All matches are scheduled for 7 p.m.

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CIF-SS Mid-Valley Divsion Preview: 3-Peat for the Cats? You bet! Green to reign surpreme

3PEAT?. You can expect Monrovia to 3-peat in the Mid-Valley Division.
Staff photo by Keith Birmingham

This won’t go well in the desert area of Lancaster, but I see a 3-peat for Monrovia, which is on a quest to match those legendary Temple City teams of the 1970s. I like the way the Wildcats are playing and remember, there only losses are to two teams — South Hills and Ayala — who would likely win this division. I see Monrovia leaving Sierra Canyon and Paraclete in its wake en route to a three-peat and CIF State Region Bowl title.

First round

Paraclete over Temple City
El Monte over Montebello
San Marino over Schurr
San Dimas over Windward
Northview over Sierra Canyon (sorry, had to do it for my Vikings)
Arroyo over Bell Gardens
Covina over South El Monte
Monrovia over Viewpoint
Paraclete over El Monte
San Dimas over San Marino
Northview over Arroyo
Monrovia over Covina
Paraclete over San Dimas
Monrovia over Northview
Monrovia over Paraclete

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CIF-SS Southeast Division Preview: It’s a battle of the La’s, but don’t count out Muir

DOUBLE CELEBRATION?: Can Muir celebrate again, like it did after the Turkey Tussle? Possible, but not likely.
Staff photo by Sarah Reingewirtz

Ask anyone, and this is a two-team race between top seed La Mirada and No. 2 La Serna. I, having seen both, can argue with that, with a lead toward La Mirada and the Matadores vaunted run game. But it would be wrong to overlook Muir, which has advantage over each in team speed. In fact, no team in the division — yes, including Dominguez — has the speed advantage like Muir. I like the Mustangs to get to the semifinals, where their title train will be stopped by La Serna. The Lancers rolled the Mustangs in the semifinals last season and that was a more experienced Muir squad. At the big dance, go with La Mirada’s bigger line.

First round

La Mirada over Arcadia
Bonita over Santa Fe
Norwalk over Burbank
Rowland over Downey
Muir over California
Paramount over West Covina
Dominguez over Bellflower
La Serna over Diamond Ranch
La Mirada over Bonita
Norwalk over Rowland
Muir over Paramount
La Serna over Dominguez
La Mirada over Norwalk
La Serna over Muir
La Mirada over La Serna

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CIF-SS Northeast Division Preview: Looks like back-to-back for the Prepsters

BACK TO BACK?: Colby Rivera gives Rio Hondo Prep a solid chance to repeat in the Northeast Division.
Staff photo By Sarah Reingewirtz

This is a two-team race, with top seeds Mission Prep and Rio Hondo Prep solid favorites to win it all. Mission Prep, ranked ahead of the Kares, in CIF-SS division poll and the CIF state rankings, have to be tabbed as the one to beat, but although Mission whacked Rio earlier in the season, I like the Kares in the rematch.

First round

Mission Prep over Frazier Mountain
Ribet Academy over Flintridge Prep
Bishop Union over Desert Chr./Lancaster
Salesian over Capistrano Valley Chr.
Boron over Hamilton
Kern Valley over St. Monica Catholic
Saddleback Valley Chr. over Desert
Rio Hondo Prep over Bell-Jeff
Mission Prep over Ribet
Salesian over Bishop
Boron over Kern Valley
Rio Hondo Prep over Saddleback Valley Chr.
Mission Prep over Salesian
Rio Hondo Prep over Boron
Rio Hondo Prep over Mission Prep

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CIF-SS Northwest Division Preview: Can La Salle win it all? You bet, but a final-round run looks more realistic

DREAM SEASON: Isreal Lacy is a big part of La Salle’s worst to first season and will need to be at his best for the Lancers to make a run at a division title.
Staff Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz

It’s been a dream season for La Salle, which under new coach Russell Gordon has gone from 1-9 last season to 10-0 and a Del Rey League title. Don’t expect this train to hit the breaks just yet. I think La Salle can get to the division final before the dream ends. Bishop Diego looks like the team to beat.

First round

Bishop Diego over South Torrance
Bishop Montgomery over Village Chr.
Gladstone over Mary Star
Oak Park over North Torrance
La Salle over Centennial/Compton
El Segundo over La Puente
Whittier Christian over Torrance
Nordhoff over Sierra Vista
Bishop Diego over Bishop Montgomery
Oak Park over Gladstone
La Salle over El Segundo
Nordhoff over Whittier Chr.
Bishop Diego over Oak Park
La Salle over Nordhoff
Bishop Diego over La Salle

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CIF-SS Western Division Preview: No title for St. Francis

PUNCHER’S CHANCE: Jared Lebowitz will need to be on his game if St. Francis is to upset Lompoc in the Western playoffs. Photo by Larry Goren.

The good news for St. Francis was that it received an at-large bid to the Western Division playoffs. The bad news is it draws top seed Lompoc. It will be an uphill climb for the Golden Knights, and one I’m not sure they can make, even with quarterback Jared Lebowitz, who gives St. Francis a puncher’s chance. While I like the host Braves to knock out the Golden Knights, you can expect an all-Mission League final, with Serra getting some revenge on Chaminade.

First Round

Lompoc over St. Francis
Dos Pueblos over Culver City
Santa Monica over Templeton
Serra over Oxnard
Harvard-Westlake over Camarillo
Santa Barbara over Cathedral
Inglewood over Morro Bay
Chaminade over Paciica/Oxnard
Lompoc over Dos Pueblos
Serra over Santa Monica
Santa Barbara over Harvard-Westlake
Chaminade over Inglewood
Serra over Lompoc
Chaminade over Santa Barbara
Serra over Chaminade

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Girls Volleyball playoffs: Pasadena Poly rebounds to defeat Maranatha in four

Pasadena Poly’s DeeDee Logan, right, keeps her eye on the ball during Tuesday’s CIF-SS 2A playoff match against Maranatha. Poly won in four games. (Larry Goren / Correspondent)

By Keith Lair, SGVN

PASADENA – The Maranatha High School gym was loud and raucous.
Perfect conditions for a CIF-Southern Section playoff road game for Pasadena Poly’s volleyball team Tuesday.
The Panthers had to play in loud gyms at Mayfield and Chadwick earlier this season and played four five-game matches this season. They had to rally from a 2-0 deficit against Webb last week to just secure a postseason berth. Many of the Panthers had not played in a playoff game until Tuesday.
“I love playing in front of big crowds and I think we become closer as a team when we do,” Poly libero Hannah Kaufman said. “It really pumps us up even more to prove them wrong and silence the gym.”
After a shaky start, Poly knocked off Maranatha in four games, 17-25, 25-16, 25-22, 25-18, in the opening round of the CIF-Southern Section Division 2A playoffs.
“I thought we came out a little nervous,” Poly coach Steve Beerman said. “We’re on the road in the first round and it’s a noisy, rowdy crowd. As the game went along we started to gather our legs and play closer to our abilities. I thought the girls grew up a lot.”
Poly which played Prep League rival Chadwick for the CIF-SS 3AA title the last two years, won its fifth consecutive first-round playoff game. The Panthers will play either La Quinta or Elsinore on Thursday night.
“Our mentality changed,” outside hitter DeeDee Logan said. “We definitely gained maturity. You could tell in the scores. We did not play safer, but we played our game.”
In the lone west San Gabriel Valley matchup of the night, it looked like it might be a Minutemen sweep early on. The Panthers committed 11 unforced errors in the first game.
“They’re young,” Beerman said. “The environment was just different. No matter how much you try to prepare, until you play in a playoff game on the road with a large crowd and people yelling at you, it’s just different. They showed that they gained maturity as the game went on.”
The momentum changed midway through the second game, and a late third-game run by the Panthers sealed the inevitable.
The Minutemen had five service errors in the second game.
“We definitely in Game 2 kept them in that game by missing so many serves,” Maranatha coach Leslie Flores said. “This team had to be better on serve-receive and we got better at that, but our serving never got better. We never had confidence from behind the line.”
“They missed five serves and it allowed us to gain some momentum,” Beerman said.
The Minutemen, who finished in a three-way tie for second place in the Olympic League and got the league’s No. 2 seed with a coin flip, held a 20-18 lead and had serve in the third game.
Maranatha had two serves go wide, but the Minutemen still managed to hold a 22-20 lead when the Panthers were called for a lift.
“This team, they don’t believe in themselves,” Flores said. “It’s a shame because they’re a heck of a team. But once you stomp hard on them they tend to crumble.”
The Minutemen were called for touching the net, a return went into the net and Hannah Kaufman hit her third and final ace of the match to give Poly a 23-22 lead.
“We play in a tough league,” Beerman said. “We’re used to those situations, so we don’t get intimidated. The new situation was that it was a playoff game. But once we got past that, those other situations, we had been in all year. Going four, five games is not new. We’ve been there.”
A passing error led to game point and Poly completed the 5-0 run with a Heather Bruegl kill.
Poly took a 9-5 lead to start the fourth game and Maranatha closed within 10-9, but the Panthers went on a 7-3 run to take a 17-12 lead.
“Poly played well,” Maranatha setter Skylar MacLeod said. “I think we didn’t get our serves in. That is all.”
Logan finished with a game-high 12. kills. Emily Anderson had nine kills for the Minutemen.

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Pasadena football coach Horton resigns, will look to get back into college coaching

Randy Horton, who came to Pasadena High School from the college ranks three years ago to try and revamp the program is again headed back to college.
The former Oregon State player resigned in the wake of Thursday’s 37-7 loss to rival Muir in the 59th Turkey Tussle last week.
Horton was 11-21 in three seasons with the Bulldogs. Pasadena, which was without standout quarterback Brandon Cox for much of the season, was 1-9 this fall, finishing in a tie for last in the Pacific League.
“It’s time for me to move on,” Horton said Tuesday. “I’d like more time to spend with daughter, and I’m also trying to get back to the college level.
“I have two offers on the table from Division I programs and one from I-AA.”
Horton’s best season was in 2011 when the Bulldogs finished 6-6 and shared third place in the Pacific with Muir and Crescenta Valley. Pasadena, led by Cox, beat California, 57-43 in the first round of the Southeast Division playoffs before ending their season with a 55-12 setback to eventual division champion West Covina.
The Bulldogs were looking for improvement this season. But it never materialized. Cox, who is committed to Utah, broke a bone in his foot during a second-week loss to Cathedral, and Pasadena’s season spiraled downward from there, losing its first three games before finishing the season with six consecutive losses, including dropping a 37-7 setback to Muir in the Turkey Tussle. It was the Mustangs 14th consecutive victory in the series.
“I was excited for the kids to get to the playoffs,” Horton said. “I was hoping for a better season this year. I thought we had a shot to win the league and go further in the playoffs.
“But when you lose one of the top players in the area, it’s tough. We had to go with two sophomore quarterbacks and lost three lineman (to injury). It was frustrating. The kids kept fighting. I’m just happy I had the opportunity to try and change the program.”

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Who should be Star-News coach of the Year

Now that we’ve finished the regular season, it’s a good time to look at our All-Area awards. Today, I thought we would look at the Coach of the Year candidates. By no means is the race over, we still have the playoffs, which unlike major league baseball, I give a lot of credence to the postseason. Look at it as the final exam.

Here’s the list:

Russell Gordon, La Salle – Definitely the leader going into the playoffs. His numbers speak for themselves. Gordon, who previously coached at Campbell Hall, has transformed a program that was 1-19 the previous two seasons to a perfect 10-0 and Del Rey League champs. They enter the Northwest playoffs as the No. 3 seed.
John Hardy, Muir – The Mustangs have recovered from a disastrous start to win its last seven games and win the Pacific League title. Muir is the No. 3 seed and a good bet to get to the Southeast semifinals.
Ryan Maddox, Monrovia – Maddox can be viewed as the Pat Riley of area football — a very good coach who leads the best team. The Wildcats, who had impressive win over St. Francis in September, cruised to the Rio Hondo League title. Monrovia is trying to become the first area team to win three consecutive CIF-SS titles since Temple City pulled the trick in the 1970s.
Ken Drain, Rio Hondo Prep – The Kares, the area’s top small school in the area, went undefeated in the Prep League the No. 2 seed in the Northeast. They also have impressive victories over Arcadia and Big Bear. Their only was to Notheast No. 1 Mission Prep.
Mike Hobbie, San Marino – The Titans are 9-1, with the only loss being a 21-16 setback to area No. 1 Monrovia.
Harold Sanin, Gabrielino – The Eagles didn’t make the playoffs, but finished with a solid 7-3 record. Gabrielino is only one of six area teams to win at least seven games.

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STAR-NEWS RANKINGS: Top four stay the same, with Monrovia leading final regular season ratings

NO. 1: Monrovia ends the regular season the way it began — at No. 1. The Wildcats are one of nine area teams who have advanced to the CIF-SS playoffs.
Staff photo by Keith Birmingham


1. Monrovia (8-2) – The Wildcats look like a solid pick to make history, becoming the first team in the area to win three consecutive CIF-SS titles since Temple City in the 1970s. If they do that, they also will get the reward of a state regional bowl game.
2. San Marino (9-1) – The Titans enjoyed one of the better regular seasons ever. They should be a player in the Mid-Valley playoffs, and with a win over Schurr, and they are the favorite, set’s up the game of the quarterfinals next week against San Dimas.
3. Rio Hondo Prep (8-1) — The Kares might be the area’s best bet to win a CIF-SS title.
4. La Salle (10-0) – The Lancers are the area’s only undefeated team. Now comes the rigors of the Northwest. I see at least a final-four run, maybe more.
5. Muir (7-3) – The Mustangs showed what they can do as the underdog in the Southeast, running their way to the semifinals. Now, as a No. 3 seed, are one of the favorites. Very few teams can handle their speed, so I like them in the Final Four again.
6. St. Francis (4-6) – The good news is the Golden Knights are in the playoffs. The bad is they must travel to Western No. 1 Lompoc.
7. Arcadia (4-6) – The Apaches, behind quarterback Zach Yee, made a nice comeback from a poor start to make the playoffs. Now comes another uphill task when they face Southeast No. 1 La Mirada.
8. Temple City (5-5) – The Rams also had a nice turnaround, making the Mid-Valley playoffs.
9. Flintridge Prep (5-4) – The Rebels could possibly do some damage, but have a tough challenge against Ribet Academy in the Northeast playoffs.
10. Pasadena Poly (6-3) – The Panthers found themselves on the outside looking in when the playoff pairings were announced on Sunday. I thought they had a good chance to get it, but were hurt by their 50-49 loss to Bell-Jeff, which received and at-large bid and faces Rio Hondo Prep.
The Rest: 11. Gabrielino (7-3), 12. South Pasadena (6-4), 13. Duarte (5-5), 14. Rosemead (4-6), 15. San Gabriel (3-7), 16. Alhambra (4-6), 17. Maranatha (3-7), 18. Pasadena (1-9), 19. La Canada (2-8), 20. Marshall (3-7), 21. Bosco Tech (1-9), 22. Keppel (0-10), 23. Blair (0-10).

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