Whittier Christian’s girls volleyball team drew the No. 4 seed in Southern California and will host a first-round match against La Costa Canyon on Tuesday when the Division II playoffs begin.
The Heralds are coming off a sweep of Mayfield in the CIF-SS Division 2A final Saturday and sport a 33-6 record. Last season, they also won the 2A title but were seeded No. 7 and lost a first-round SoCal match on the road to end their season.
La Costa Canyon finished as runner-up in the San Diego Section Open Division. The Mavericks have a 25-9 record and are seeded No. 5.
Tuesday’s winner will likely face No. 1 seed Corona Santiago in Saturday’s second round. The Sharks are 37-0 this season after topping Oaks Christian 3-1 in the Division 2AA final, surrendering their first set of the season in the victory. Santiago opens the playoffs Tuesday at home against Woodland Hills Taft (31-11), which won the L.A. City Section Division 2 title.
The state finals will be held at Santiago Canyon College in Orange on Dec. 7.
Friday’s CIF-SS Southeast Division semifinal between La Serna and Burbank will kick off at 7:30 p.m. at Cal High.
Both teams take 10-2 records into the game, and both are coming off lopsided quarterfinal victories. La Serna routed Diamond Bar 51-7 and Burbank was a 42-0 winner over Santa Fe. La Serna is seeded No. 2 in the division.
In the other semifinal, top-seeded Norwalk (12-0) will visit No. 4 Muir (11-1).
When Whittier Christian won last season’s CIF-SS Division 2A girls volleyball title with an all-junior starting lineup, it was pretty clear the Heralds would be the team to beat in 2013.
Well, they were, and no one could, at least not during the Division 2A playoffs. Whittier Christian swept a young-but-tough squad from Mayfield on Saturday by scores of 25-19, 25-19, 25-19. It was the Heralds’ second consecutive championship and their third trip to the finals in a row.
“It’s surreal,” senior setter Jennifer Washle, one of eight seniors on the team, said of winning back-to-back crowns. “It doesn’t even feel like we won. This goal that we set for ourselves in the summer just happened. It’s an amazing feeling.”
Whittier Christian improved its record to 33-6 and awaits Sunday’s Division 2 pairings release for the upcoming Southern California Regionals. The Heralds are hoping for a little better draw than they got last year, when they were seeded No. 7 out of eight teams and lost on the road in the first round to Riverside ML King.
“We would love to make a great run and enjoy it,” coach Shawn Hunter said of the SoCal playoffs.
Seniors Kylee Wolfe (15 kills, 8 digs), Deanna Blaine (11 kills) and Stephanie Stevenson (10 kills, 2 solo blocks, 3 block assists) did most of the damage, and Washle added 40 assists and five aces, including the match clincher in Set 3.
Whittier Christian played most of the season – and all of the playoffs – with a large target firmly affixed to its back. But the Heralds lost just one set in five matches and showed a remarkable capacity for remaining calm and resilient.
“It’s really hard to come back and win again,” said Wolfe, “and to accomplish that is amazing.”
And then there was one …
Whittier-area football teams took it on the chin in Friday’s second round of the CIF-SS playoffs, with four of the five teams eliminated. Losses from Santa Fe (42-0 vs. Burbank), Montebello (41-7 vs. Monrovia) and Schurr (28-14 vs. Arroyo) weren’t surprises. But the shocker of the night was top-seeded La Habra losing to Newport Harbor 49-48 in the Southwest Division. I felt the Highlanders were a lock to reach their first final since 2010. Instead, Friday’s loss was their third in a row in either the first or second round of the playoffs.
The only area team to advance was La Serna, which routed Diamond Bar 51-7 in the Southeast Division and improved to 10-2. The Lancers, division finalists the last two years, will host Burbank next week in the semifinals.
Monrovia 41, Montebello 7
Arroyo 28, Schurr 14
La Serna 51, Diamond Bar 7
Burbank 42, Santa Fe 0
Newport Harbor 49, La Habra 48
A second consecutive CIF-SS Division 2A title is within reach for Whittier Christian’s girls volleyball team, and the eight seniors on the squad are oh-so-close close to leaving a legacy of dominance at the school.
The Heralds will face Mayfield at 10 a.m. Saturday at Santiago Canyon College, seeking their second 2A title in three consecutive trips to the final. Whittier Christian, or “Dub-C” to the students, beat Chadwick in four sets last season, just a year after losing to Downey in the final in five sets.
“This our last year,” said senior libero Nicole Santos. “We want to do the best we can, and it would be great to win another championship.”
The Heralds (31-6) are the four-time defending Olympic League champions, and they claimed two consecutive Alpha League crowns before moving to the Olympic in 2010. Senior outside hitter Deanna Blaine is a four-year varsity player, and was selected Division 2A Player of the Year as a junior. Whittier Christian is 15-2 in the Southern Section playoffs since her arrival and 32-0 in league play.
“I’d like to be remembered as that volleyball player, that No. 12,” said Blaine. “So yeah, I’d like to leave (a legacy).”
Mayfield won the Prep League and is seeded No. 3 in the division. The Cubs are 24-1 overall, and 2013 marks the seventh consecutive season a Prep League team has reached a divisional final.
Softball players from La Serna and La Habra signed letters of intent this week, bringing the number of signed softballers from the area to seven this week.
La Serna center fielder Danielle Garcielita signed with North Carolina, which reached the semifinals of the ACC Tournament and qualified for the NCAA Tournament last season. Garcielita will begin her fourth varsity season this year and was selected Del Rio League MVP as a junior.
La Habra shortstop Camille Manzo signed with Sterling College on Friday. She was a second-team All-Freeway League selection as a junior. Sterling College is an NAIA school located in Sterling, Kan.
On Tuesday’s five St. Paul softball players signed their letters. They are: Koreen Orozco (Holy Family), Krystal Gutierrez (St. John’s), Lovie Lopez (Oregon State), Danielle Munoz (Tennessee State) and Bryanna Campos (Bethune-Cookman).
CIF-SS QUARTERFINAL FOOTBALL SCHEDULE
Montebello at Monrovia
Arroyo at Schurr
La Serna at Diamond Bar
Burbank vs. Santa Fe at Downey High
La Habra at Newport Harbor
A closer look:
Montebello (8-3) at Monrovia (10-1)
Oilers sophomore running back Isaac Mendibles has been held under 100 yards for two consecutive games, but his 1,700-plus yards still lead the area. Montebello’s stingy defense will be tested by top-seeded Monrovia’s offense, which is led by St. Paul transfer Kurt Scoby (1,769 yards, 29 TDs).
My pick: Monrovia’s
Arroyo (10-1) at Schurr (6-5)
Behind senior quarterback Nathan Coto (2,931 yards, 32 TDs), No. 2 Arroyo puts up a lot of points. Schurr’s defense, which has allowed 14 or fewer points to six consecutive opponents, will face its toughest test since Week 2 vs. La Serna.
My pick: Arroyo
La Serna (9-2) at Diamond Bar (7-4)
La Serna recorded four sacks and five turnovers in its first-round rout of Burbank Burroughs. Diamond Bar put up 63 last week to defeat defending division champion Downey, but points will be much tougher to come by vs. the Lancers.
My pick: La Serna
Burbank (9-2) vs. Santa Fe (7-4) at Downey High
Burbank ran for over 400 yards vs. Mayfair last week, but Oharjee Brown added 162 receiving yards and three TDs as well. Santa Fe’s Christian Lara-to-Brandon Takata pass-and-catch combination has been the best in the area this season.
My pick: Burbank
La Habra (10-1) at Newport Harbor (6-5)
Early playoff exits the past two seasons have the Highlanders on a mission this season. The defense made five interceptions last week vs. Anaheim Canyon, and Carlos Martin’s 94-yard TD run sparked the offense in the second quarter. Four of the Sailors’ victories this season came against teams that reached the postseason.
My pick: La Habra
After seven seasons in charge of the football program at Cal High, Jim Arnold has resigned as head coach.
Arnold cited several factors for his decision, including changing CIF and fund-raising rules, his duties as athletic director and the stadium renovation planned for Cal next year.
“When you have lost the passion to run a football program, it is only fair to the kids and all involved to turn it over to someone who still has (passion),” Arnold wrote in an email.
Arnold will continue as athletic director and hopes to coach Cal’s freshman team next year, “where I can actually spend most of my time coaching kids.”
Arnold took over the Cal program in 2007, and he compiled a 48-30-2 record in seven seasons with six playoff appearances, including two semifinal berths. The Condors went 23-12 in the Del Rio League under Arnold, and claimed league titles in 2007 and 2009.
Arnold said he’d be directly involved in the hiring of a new coach and hopes to have someone hired by mid-January.
Anyone interested in applying for the position can contact Arnold at email@example.com.