Upcoming: Steve Ramirez is covering the first huge volleyball game of the season on Monday, September 13, Los Altos at St. Lucy’s, 5:30 p.m.. We will have our cameras there, make sure the action is worth it.
By Steve Ramirez
Los Altos and Bonita high schools made history last season. St. Lucy’s Priory and South Hills continued with their winning traditions. The powers of the Valley, however, know that means very little for the 2010 girls volleyball season, which begins today. The key for success will be who can best wipe the slate clean. “That was yesterday,” said second-year Los Altos coach Jaime Ornelas of last season’s run to the Conquerors’ first CIF-Southern Section title, when they beat rival Bonita for the Division 3-AA championship. “We are done celebrating. We are focused on this year.”
Tribune Top Ten
No. 1 St. Lucy’s (27-5)
Armed with a solid nucleus of returners, the Regents are aiming to make another run at a CIF-SS title after advancing to the 2-AA quarterfinals the past two years.
The loaded St. Lucy’s lineup features all-area outside hitter Deanna Dalton, who had 221 kills and 14 blocks last season; setter Jackie Macy, who was All-CIF-SS Division 2; hitters Megan Callen and Alyssa Young; and opposite Jasmine Warmington. “I think we are going to have a really strong season,” said St. Lucy’s coach Sean Douglas, whose Regents begin the season ranked No. 3 in 2-AA. “We’re a year older, but we’re pretty loaded. The girls are pretty focused. We have big aspirations, but we also look at it one game at a time.”
No. 2 Los Altos (30-9)
The Conquerors, who begin the season ranked No. 1 in 2-A, made history last season, and have all the parts in place for a repeat performance. It starts in the hitting zone, where Los Altos is expected to feature two of the better attackers in the area in seniors Jazmen Russell at outside hitter and Amanda Brown at middle blocker. The duo combined for nearly 500 kills last season. Russell was first-team All- CIF-SS Division 3 and all-area. Los Altos also will feature setter Krystal Castellanos and libero Jennifer Filatoff. “We’ve challenged ourselves to work on this season and not worry about last year,” Ornelas said. “We realize this year offers new challenges.” Los Altos will battle Bonita in the new Hacienda League.
No. 3 Bonita (18-8)
The Bearcats also made history last season, just not in the way it was expecting to after advancing to the program’s first CIF-SS final before dropping the 3-AA title to Los Altos. Area Player of the Year Allie LaPierre is gone, but the Bearcats look forceful with CIF-SS Division 3 co- Player of the Year Ashley Maxfeldt at setter, outside hitter Katie Kirby, middle blocker Victoria Dennis and opposite Danielle Lines. “I have high expectations every year for my athletes, and believe this group of girls has the talent and the drive to make it to the CIF- SS finals again,” Bonita coach Adriana Contreras said. “They practice hard every day and are extremely motivated to compete.”
No. 4 South Hills (21-8)
Three-time first-team all-area player Melinda Gomez is gone, but the cupboard isn’t bare in West Covina. The Huskies will challenge in the Sierra League with Jackie Valle- Acosta, Marisa Gomez (Melinda’s younger sister) and setter Breanne Hunter. “We look pretty good,” South Hills coach Charm Doyle said. “We had a good summer, so I’m pretty optimistic. I like the potential of this team.”
No. 5 Walnut (12-6)
The Mustangs, who begin the season ranked No. 4 in Division 2-A, are led by senior setter Leau Quiocho, who had 633 assists last year.
No. 6 San Dimas (21-5)
The Saints have ruled the Valle Vista League the past two seasons, and that’s expected to continue with the return of league co-MVP Nicole Ellis. The senior hitter had 259 kills last season. San Dimas’ lineup also features all-league players Kaileen Mejia at middle hitter and Courtney Hine at setter.
No. 7 Glendora (11-6)
The Tartans have been a playoff team the past few seasons, but will be tested in their move to the Baseline League.
No. 8 Bishop Amat (12-9)
The Lancers are led by senior outside hitter Chelsey Martinez and senior opposite Yesenia Ibrahim.
No. 9 La Puente (12-5)
The Warriors, ranked No. 6 in Division 4-A, are led by senior outside hitter Rocio Armendariz, who was the Montview League MVP, and sophomore outside hitter Elisa Valenzuela, who was first-team all- league.
No. 10 Ganesha (22-6)
The Giants, led by Claudia Mosqueda and Maria Muro, will challenge in the Montview League.