About Steve Ramirez

Steve Ramirez has covered prep sports for San Gabriel Valley Newspapers since 1989.

Boys Water Polo: Los Altos to get second chance, beats La Serna to advance to second consecutive final

Los Alto’s Guillermo Ocasio reacts after scoring his second goal in a row against La Serna in the second half of a prep water polo semifinal at Diamond Bar High School in Diamond Bar, Calif., Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2014. Los Altos won 16-11. (Photo by Keith Birmingham/Pasadena Star-News)

Los Alto’s Guillermo Ocasio reacts after scoring his second goal in a row against La Serna in the second half of a prep water polo semifinal at Diamond Bar High School in Diamond Bar, Calif., Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2014. Los Altos won 16-11. (Photo by Keith Birmingham/Pasadena Star-News)

By Stephen Ramirez

DIAMOND BAR — All the Los Altos High School boys water polo team, after losing in the CIF-Southern Section finals last season, was a second chance.
The Conquerors will get it.
Justin Contreras scored six goals and George Millard had five to lead Los Altos to a 16-11 victory over La Serna in a Division 5 semifinal at Diamond Bar High School.
Guillermo Ocasio had three goals for Los Altos, which improved to 21-8 and will face Claremont in Saturday’s final at William Woollett Aquatic Center in Irvine. The time will be announced Thursday morning. The Conquerors lost to Glendale in last season’s title game.
George Mooney had three goals for La Serna, which finished 20-12. The Lancers also got two goals each from Perry Louwers, Elias Acosta and Steven Marcy.
The key moment came early in the fourth quarter when it used back-to-back turnovers to score three consecutive goals for a 13-9 advantage. Contreras followed with two back-hand shots to push it to 15-10.
Los Altos’ Justin Contreras: “I said in the beginning of the year we’re going back to the finals to get that ring. I mean it. I really wanted to get back to the finals. It’s my senior year, and I’m going out with a bang.”
Los Altos co-coach Bobby Contreras: “I told the kids before the game that we’re going to make mistakes. But its what we do to fix the mistake. Getting down 3-0, it was a mistake. As long as we kept making the effort to correct the mistake, we were going to be OK. I thought the boys played a very good defensive game against (La Serna’s) attackers.”
La Serna coach Jim Armstrong: “We knew that even though we beat than twice this year we were going to see a different energy out of them tonight. We saw it. Sad part, from our perspective, is that we had them down 3-0, and, after falling behind, came back to lead 7-6 and had momentum. But we had some untimely mistakes and bad passes and they took advantage.”

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Girls Volleyball: San Dimas wraps up ninth consecutive Valle Vista title with sweep of Wilson

San Dimas' Hannah Doonan (C), right, hugs teammate Genna Henderson (C) after defeating Wilson 25-17, 25-19, 25-15 to win the league title during a prep volleyball match at San Dimas High School in San Dimas, Calif., Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2014. (Photo by Keith Birmingham/ Pasadena Star-News

San Dimas’ Hannah Doonan (C), right, hugs teammate Genna Henderson (C) after defeating Wilson 25-17, 25-19, 25-15 to win the league title during a prep volleyball match at San Dimas High School in San Dimas, Calif., Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2014. (Photo by Keith Birmingham/ Pasadena Star-News

By Stephen Ramirez
@SteveRRamirez on Twitter


SAN DIMAS — San Dimas High School has fielded the dominant girls volleyball team in the Valle Vista League in recent years, and that didn’t change this season.
Lea Fischbach had 14 kills and the host Saints won their ninth consecutive league championship with a 25-17, 25-19, 25-15 victory over Wilson on Tuesday.
Hannah Doonan had 10 kills for San Dimas, which improved to 20-5 overall and 10-0 in league play. San Dimas has won the title outright eight of the past nine seasons. They shared the championship with former league member Ganesha in 2008.
Scarlette Sun had seven kills for Wilson, which slipped to 16-6 and 8-2.
San Dimas’ Lea Fischbach: “I think this was one of our best (matches). We were really excited (to play). We all wanted really bad to be league champions. That’s what pushed us to play really hard. This was our best (match) in league.”

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Girls Volleyball: Glendora rallies for four-set win over Bonita; Tartans stay undefeated in Palomares League

Glendora's Jessica Garcia (C) (23) along with Becca Lowden (C) (12), Marissa Montoya (16) and Sarah Smith (10) reacts after scoring against Bonita in the second game of a prep volleyball match at Bonita High School. Glendora won, 23-25, 25-23, 25-17, 25-9. (Staff photo by Keith Birmingham)

Glendora’s Jessica Garcia (C) (23) along with Becca Lowden (C) (12), Marissa Montoya (16) and Sarah Smith (10) reacts after scoring against Bonita in the second game of a prep volleyball match at Bonita High School. Glendora won, 23-25, 25-23, 25-17, 25-9.
(Staff photo by Keith Birmingham)


By Stephen Ramirez
steve.ramirez@langnews.com
@SteveRRamirez on Twitter

LA VERNE >>
Glendora High School, after four years of being banished to the Baseline League, finally has a reasonable chance at a league title, and the Tartans are not wasting the opportunity.
Becca Lowden had 16 kills and Glendora took another step toward a Palomares League girls volleyball title with a 23-25, 25-23, 25-17, 25-9 victory over host Bonita on Tuesday.
The Tartans, also getting 12 kills from Marissa Montoya, improved to 17-6 overall and 8-0 in league play. The Bearcats, getting 17 kills from Riley Inman, slipped to 11-10 and 3-5.
Glendora, after a sluggish start, dominated the last two sets. The Tartans, getting four kills from Jade Brockett and two each from Lowden and Montoya, scored 12 of the first 15 points in the third set before closing with a 6-3 surge to win 25-17.
Lowden then had seven kills as the Tartans secured the match by scoring 15 of the first 20 points and 10 of the final 14 to easily win set four, 25-9. Lowden had a cross shot to make it 24-9 before a mis-hit gave Glendora the match.
Glendora’s Becca Lowden: “It’s great. It’s like we finally are where we need to be, with the competition (in this league). It’s great that all of our hard work pays off.”

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Tribune Football Rankings: Bishop Amat still the one

amatfans
TRIBUNE TOP TEN FOOTBALL RANKINGS
1. Bishop Amat (5-3) — League title within its grasp
2. Glendora (7-1) — Showdown vs. South Hills looms
3. West Covina (6-2) — Dismantled Los Altos
4. Northview (7-1) — Rival Covina standing in the way
5. Charter Oak (4-4) — Can it challenge West Covina?
6. Pomona (4-4) — 5-2 on the field
7. Diamond Ranch (6-2) — Don’t sleep on the Panthers
8. South Hills (4-4) — Has found it at the right time
9. San Dimas (5-3) — Will be rooting for Covina this week
10. Damien (3-5) — Slippin’ and a slidin’

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Girls Volleyball: Los Altos beats Walnut in five to move into share of Hacienda League lead


By Stephen Ramirez
steve.ramirez@langnews.com
@SteveRRamirez on Twitter

Walnut's Kuuipo Vaimaona, #4, left, and Jaceylin Tan, #8, right, jump up to block an incoming ball on Tuesday, October 21, 2014 at Los Altos High School. Los Altos High School Girls Varsity Volleyball hosted Walnut High School on Tuesday, October 21, 2014 at Los Altos High School. The Los Altos Conquerors led the game with a 2-0 win over the Walnut Mustangs. (Correspondent photo by Shilah Montiel/ San Gabriel Valley Tribune)

Walnut’s Kuuipo Vaimaona, #4, left, and Jaceylin Tan, #8, right, jump up to block an incoming ball on Tuesday, October 21, 2014 at Los Altos High School. Los Altos High School Girls Varsity Volleyball hosted Walnut High School on Tuesday, October 21, 2014 at Los Altos High School. The Los Altos Conquerors led the game with a 2-0 win over the Walnut Mustangs. (Correspondent photo by Shilah Montiel/ San Gabriel Valley Tribune)


HACIENDA HEIGHTS >> Los Altos High School has been the dominant girls volleyball team in the Hacienda League the previous two seasons, and the Conquerors aren’t quite ready to give up the title.
Mireya Rojo and Esmeralda Reynoso had 14 kills each and host Los Altos withstood a late charge from Walnut to get back in the league race with a 25-23, 25-19, 13-25, 22-25, 15-11 victory on Tuesday.
The Conquerors, also getting eight kills from Danielle Hernandez and seven from Sahra Chavez, improved to 11-9 overall and into a first-place tie with the Mustangs, each at 4-1 in league play. Diamond Ranch was 3-1 going into a league match vs. West Covina on Tuesday.
Kuuipo Vaimaona had 18 kills and Shirley Zhao 12 for Walnut, which slipped to 11-9 and 4-1.
Los Altos came up big late. The Conquerors, after giving up sets 3 and 4, broke a 10-10 in the fifth set and took a 14-11 lead following an ace by Vanessa Cuenca and consecutive kills by Rojo.
Vaimaona, who had 10 kills in the third and fourth sets to force a fifth, then mis-fired on a spike that went wide, giving the match to Los Altos.
Los Altos’ Mireya Rojo: “This win was amazing. We needed it so much. It was five sets, but we got it.”
Walnut’s Kuuipo Vaiamaona: “I was really surprised we came back. It was going to be hard, but I knew we could do it. We have enough heart to come back. I’m really proud of my team.”

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Girls Volleyball: Chino Hills takes first round from St. Lucy’s, 3-1

Chino Hills' Meghan Buzzerio (C) (10) reacts after scoring against St. Lucy's in the second game of a prep volleyball match at St. Lucy's High School in Glendora, Calif., Tuesday, Oct. 14, 2014. Chino Hills won 23-25, 25-12, 25-15, 29-27 (Photo by Keith Birmingham/San Gabriel Valley Tribune)

Chino Hills’ Meghan Buzzerio (C) (10) reacts after scoring against St. Lucy’s in the second game of a prep volleyball match at St. Lucy’s High School in Glendora, Calif., Tuesday, Oct. 14, 2014. Chino Hills won 23-25, 25-12, 25-15, 29-27 (Photo by Keith Birmingham/San Gabriel Valley Tribune)

By Stephen Ramirez
@SteveRRamirez on Twitter


GLENDORA >> The goals for the Chino High School girls volleyball team are pretty simple this season: Win league and CIF-Southern Section championships and taste victory at rival St. Lucy’s.
The Huskies crossed the latter off their list Tuesday.
Meghan Buzzerio had 19 kills and eight aces and Chino Hills took control of the Baseline League race with a 23-25, 25-12, 25-15, 29-27 victory over the host Regents.
Cherise Hennigan had 11 kills and Alexis Cardoza 10 for the Huskies, who improved to 14-5 overall and 3-0 in league. Loryn Carter had 21 kills for St. Lucy’s, which slipped to 9-6 and 2-1.
St. Lucy’s, which split the season series with Chino Hills last season, looked like it might force a fifth set after scoring 14 of the first 23 points in the fourth. But the Huskies, ranked No. 7 in Division 1A, put together an 8-3 surge to tie it at 17. Chino Hills, after falling behind, 24-21, got consecutive kills from Buzzerio, Hannigan and Cardoza to tie a second time.
Buzzerio followed with back-to-back spikes to win it, 29-27.
Meghan Buzzerio: “It feels great. We’ve never beaten them at their place, so this is our first. We started a little rough, but we finished strong. We all played great. Yeah, it feels really good.”
St. Lucy’s coach Sean Douglas: “They have weapons at all places and obviously had us on a size advantage, so I’m really proud of where we’re at. But we play to win. We’re disappointed, but we did a lot of things we can grow on, too.”

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South Hills High School to hold benefit for alum, former Covina wrestling coach Randy Aguirre

South Hills High School will hold a benefit dinner Saturday for alum and former Covina wrestling coach Randy Aguirre, who is battling brain cancer.
Fellowship of Christian Athletes is sponsoring the dinner, which is scheduled for Saturday at the South Hills gym from 6-9 p.m.
Aguirre was a 4-year letterman at South Hills and was captain his senior season. He also wrestled at Mt. San Antonio College and San Francisco State University. He was an assistant at South Hills before becoming the head coach at Covina and later Palisades.
The dinner will include door prizes and a silent auction. The cost is $20 for adults and $10 for kids ages 5-12. All proceeds are for for coach Aguirre and his family.
Tickets can be purchased at the door or in advance at the South Hills ASB office.

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Girls Volleyball: Walnut sweeps Nogales


By Stephen Ramirez
steve.ramirez@langnews.com
@SteveRRamirez on Twitter

Walnut's Pauline Mendoza (3) reacts after scoring against Nogales in the first game of a prep volleyball match at Walnut High School in Walnut, Calif., on Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014. (Photo by Keith Birmingham/ Pasadena Star-News)

Walnut’s Pauline Mendoza (3) reacts after scoring against Nogales in the first game of a prep volleyball match at Walnut High School in Walnut, Calif., on Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014. (Photo by Keith Birmingham/ Pasadena Star-News)


WALNUT — Walnut High School is getting hot at the right time.
The Mustangs, after going through a five-match losing streak a few weeks ago, won for the fourth time in five matches Tuesday, sweeping Nogales, 25-14, 25-14, 25-21, in a nonleague match at home.
Kuuipo Vaimaona had eight kills and Pauline Mendoza seven to lead the Mustangs, who improved to 7-7. They face Wilson next week before opening up Hacienda League play vs. West Covina on Oct. 7.
Julianna Purcell and Annjoree Calvero-Sunga had five kills each for Nogales, which slipped to 4-2. The Nobles open Valle Vista League play next week at rival Rowland.
Walnut’s Pauline Mendoza: “We started out kind of rough. But finally we got our rhythm and were able to succeed and get the lead. One main thing for us to work together is that we have to talk to each other. We continue talking, who is going to get the ball, calling for the ball, then we are able to overcome our (mistakes).”

Nogales’ Julianna Purcell: “I’m happy with the way my team played. We had a good match against Walnut, but they had good solid hits, but so did we. I think if we would have fought a little harder, we might have won.”

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Jesse Garcia helps South Hills run by Covina, 38-29

By Stephen Ramirez
steve.ramirez@langnews.com
@SteveRRamirez on Twitter
SAN DIMAS >>
The gap may have closed a bit, but the South Hills High School football team is still king of the Covina Valley Unified School District.
Jesse Garcia rushed for 233 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Huskies to a 38-29 victory over intra-district rival Covina Saturday at San Dimas High School.
Garrett Fonseca threw for 60 yards and two touchdowns for the Huskies, who beat the Colts for the second consecutive season. Joe Benavidez threw for 178 yards and a score and Pearnell Smalley rushed for 120 and touchdown to lead Covina.

South Hills’ Jesse Garcia: “It’s a pretty big game. We’re cross-town rivals. We were prepared for them and they prepared for us. They took it to us early, but we pulled it out. It’s a good win for us.”

Covina coach Joe Brown: “We were able to punch back a little bit this year. We have some great kids, just came up on the wrong end of it. I give South Hills credit. (Garcia) just ran his tail off. We really had no answer for him. Every time we would make a play, they’d come back. They just made a few more plays than we did.”

South Hills coach Albert Rodriguez: “We gave them a few plays (in the first half). We were able to get off the field after kicking off (to begin the second half), and then we went down and scored, which was huge. We wanted to chew clock tonight, and get out of here with a win, and we did that.”

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Steve Ramirez, Northview coach Marcel Perez answer the #IceBucketChallenge for ALS; St. Francis’ Jim Bonds and Wilson’s Greg Gano receive the challenge

The #IceBucketChallenge for ALS started on Monday at San Dimas High School and Wednesday the tour took us to Northview, where sports writer went to his alma mater to take the the challenge and he was joined by Vikings’ coach Marcel Perez, who both took the bath.
After Ramirez called showed “some love” to the Westside, calling out St. Francis coach Jim Bonds to take the challenge. Perez did the same to his former coach Greg Gano, who is now the head guy at Wilson. You guys have 24 hours to take the ice bucket or dig in to your pocket, all for a good cause.

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