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NEWS AND NOTES FROM PRESS ROW
By Loren Kopff
The Gahr High girls volleyball team won two of three pool play matches in the Valley Christian/Mayfair Varsity Volleyball Classic, then had no problems with a pair of ABC Unified School District teams in the playoffs. In the end, the Gladiators won the Silver Division championship of the 32-team event last Saturday at Gahr.
Gahr opened the tournament by defeating Serra 20-25, 25-11, 15-6 early in the morning. Gahr was leading Serra 17-9 in the first set and again 18-14 before the Cavaliers ran off six straight points to take the lead for good. Gahr would get to within three points at the end following a kill from senior defensive specialist Naomi Belgrave and a block from junior middle blocker Zanache Stanton.
The Gladiators bounced back in the second set and raced to an 11-2 lead and never looked back. The team got just 12 kills in the set but also received three aces from senior libero Christal Constantino and a pair of aces each from junior defensive specialist Alyssa Morada and senior defensive specialist Katherine Pedraza.
Gahr would put the third set away by scoring the final six points, aided by three aces from junior opposite hitter Lei Saleapaga and two kills from freshman outside hitter Jazminn Parrish, who led the team with eight kills. Senior opposite hitter Tyra Parrish added five kills.
Next up, J.W. North swept the Gladiators 25-15, 25-19 as Jazminn Parrish had eight kills while Stanton and senior outside hitter Ailaine Tolentino each pitched in with four and three kills respectively. The final pool play match was a rare meeting with Cerritos and Gahr came out on top 27-26, 25-14. It was the first time since Sept. 1, 2012 that the two city schools had faced each other on the volleyball court. That came in the second game of the then-Gahr Molten Classic and Gahr swept the Lady Dons 25-23, 25-10, 25-10.
Gahr was down 13-8 and 17-12 in the first set before Tyra Parrish’s first kill gave the serve to Constantino who promptly put down two aces. Cerritos would then score the next four points but the Gladiators reeled off six straight to forge a 21-21 tie. Tyra Parrish had three aces as part of that rally. Gahr would stop Cerritos at set point when a serve was wide followed by a Jazminn Parrish kill and a violation. Another serving error would give Gahr the final point and victory.
The Gladiators would be in total control in the second set, never trailing and jumping out to leads of 5-1, 10-4, 14-5 and 20-7. Jazminn Parrish would lead Gahr with 11 kills while junior middle blocker Shantelle Marshall added six kills.
In the playoffs, Gahr hooked up with Artesia in the first meeting between the two schools since the mid 1970s and cruised past the Pioneers 25-14. Artesia stayed within two or three points until a kill from Tolentino put Gahr up 15-12. From there, Pedraza served an ace followed by two more kills from Tolentino, then another ace. Tolentino had five kills in the set.
That sent Gahr to the Silver Division finals against Cerritos and Gahr prevailed 25-18 in which it never trailed. Marshall and Jazminn Parrish each had four kills.
The Gladiators will visit Sunny Hills on Tuesday before opening San Gabriel Valley League action at Lynwood on Thursday.
Also in the tournament, Artesia was swept in its three pool play matches, falling to El Modena 25-9, 25-14, Downey 25-12, 25-15 and El Segundo 25-8, 25-8. This past Tuesday, Bellflower defeated the Pioneers 25-20, 25-18, 20-25, 25-19 in the Suburban League opener. Artesia (3-4 overall, 0-1 in league) will host La Mirada on Tuesday and visit John Glenn on Thursday.
Valley Christian (8-5 overall, 1-0 in the Olympic League) swept Pioneer 25-13, 25-16 and St. Mary’s Academy 25-17, 25-11 before getting past Los Altos 21-25, 25-22, 15-13 in pool play action. The Lady Crusaders opened the playoffs with a 25-13 win over Millikan before losing to St. Joseph 25-23 in the quarterfinals. V.C. bounced back to defeat Heritage Christian 25-14, 25-19, 21-25, 25-14 this past Tuesday night in the Olympic League opener. V.C. hosted Downey on Sept. 24 and will participate in the Whittier Tournament today and Saturday.
Cerritos dropped to 0-3 on the season after a 49-6 loss at Pioneer last Friday night. The only touchdown for the Dons came in the third quarter when sophomore quarterback Colby Nielsen launched a 56-yard pass to junior running back Kaliq Hatcher. The Dons, who have been outscored 132-20 thus far, begin Suburban League action at Mayfair tonight. Norwalk was slammed by El Toro 42-7 and fell to 1-3. The lone score was a five-yard run from sophomore fullback Daniel Faamatau in the third quarter. The Lancers visit defending Suburban League champion La Mirada tonight in the league opener for both.
The hottest team around continues to be Valley Christian, which got a 77-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Jesse Smith to junior wide receiver R.J. Van Kampen in the fourth quarter as the Crusaders doubled up Mayfair 14-7. V.C. improved to 4-0 and hosts longtime rival Ontario Christian tonight at Crusader Field. The other V.C. touchdown was a five-yard run from senior running back Robert Downs in the first quarter. The Crusaders have outscored their opponents 159-13.
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