By Steve Ramirez, Staff Writer
Los Altos High School served notice to the rest of the area Wednesday that last season is a distant memory. The Conquerors, who were 13-12 in 2008, received five kills each from Erica Chavez and Amanda Brown and four each from Jazmen Russell and Katherine Nazaroff to score a 25-15, 25-21, 25-19 victory over visiting St. Lucy’s Priory in a nonleague match featuring two of the top teams in the Valley.
Los Altos, ranked No. 6 in the area, improved to 2-0. They beat La Habra on Tuesday. St. Lucy’s, which received seven kills from Deanna Dalton and five from Jazmine Warmington, slipped to 1-1. The Regents are ranked No. 2 in the Valley and No. 5 in CIF-Southern Section Division 2-AA.
“Last year we were much younger,” Los Altos coach Jaime Ornelas said. “But that one year of hard work, one year of club (volleyball), one summer of more hard work has paid off.
“They are much more mature and they want to win. They see the future.”
Which is now. And Wednesday the Conquerors showed it.
Los Altos, which lost in five games to St. Lucy’s last season, jumped on the Regents early and often in the first game. The Conquerors took leads of 4-1 and 9-5 before using a six-point surge to go up 18-9. The Conquerors, forcing several hitting errors from St. Lucy’s, used kills from Brown and Chavez to score five consecutive points for a 23-12 lead before winning at 25-15 on kill by Brown.
“We have one senior on our team and we played like a young team today,” St. Lucy’s coach Sean Douglas said. “We looked scared. We weren’t ready to play and it showed.”
Los Altos, getting a solid passing game from Chavez at setter and steady defense from Jennifer Filatoff and Cristina Davies, continued its dominance in the second game, scoring the first five points.
The Conquerors, after St. Lucy’s rallied for a 10-9 advantage, regrouped late and got three consecutive mis-hits from the Regents to make it 23-19. Meagan Macias then fired two spikes that Megan Callen could only deflect out of bounds to give Los Altos a 2-0 lead after taking the second game, 25-19.
St. Lucy’s rallied in the third game, using consecutive kills from Jessica Toy and a third from Dalton to take a 14-11 advantage after a 9-1 run.
But Los Altos wasn’t going to be stopped on Wednesday. The Conquerors regrouped and used a 6-1 blitz for a 17-15 lead.
“(St. Lucy’s) has really talented players,” Ornelas said. “We focused on staying around those players and forcing them to go to their secondary players. They kind of flipped it on me and opened it up to the secondary players and they started stepping up.
“Their primary players were decoys and their secondary players were taking it to us. I called a timeout and told them we just have to stay disciplined and play our block faster.”
Los Altos then scored six of the next seven points, winning it on a block by Chavez.
“I didn’t sweep (St. Lucy’s), my players did,” Ornelas said. “They played, I just coached. It wasn’t a one-player win.
“Everybody stepped up when we needed them to step up. When we had errors, we had girls there to rally the team. If it was time to move the ball, the middle came in. My setters did a great job. I can’t say one person did it, because everyone came with their best effort.”
(626) 962-8811, Ext. 2296