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Gahr spikers blow chance to remain unbeaten in San Gabriel Valley League

NEWS AND NOTES FROM PRESS ROW

By Loren Kopff

The opportunity for the Gahr High girls volleyball team to head into the second round of San Gabriel Valley League action at 5-0 slipped away when the Gladiators hosted league nemesis Downey High this past Tuesday. Not only did Gahr win the first two sets, it was three points away from taking the fourth set.

But Downey, especially Bella Gamboa, was too much down the stretch and the Vikings rallied for a 19-25, 22-25, 25-20, 25-23, 15-12 victory. The loss dropped Gahr to 11-8 overall and 3-1 in league with a road match at last place Dominguez on Oct. 15 to close out the first round.

Gahr took a commanding 14-7 lead in the first set and put the set out of reach when senior defensive specialist Naomi Belgrave had two straight aces to make it a 19-11 affair. Senior outside hitter Ailaine Tolentino and freshman outside hitter Jazmynn Parrish each had four kills in the set. The Gladiators would jump out to another big lead in the second set, 21-13, then had to hang on as the Vikings recorded six straight points.

Gahr would lead Downey 10-7 in the third set but soon trailed 16-12 following Gamboa’s 15th kill thus far. A serve into the net brought the hosts to within a point at 19-18 before Gamboa put an end to that mini rally. Downey would then race to a 16-9 lead in the fourth set before the Gladiators stormed back. After a time out, freshman libero Cristal Constantino had a rare kill which allowed her to serve. During a four-point spree, she added an ace, Tolentino had two kills and junior middle blocker Zanache Stanton had a block.

Later in the set, another Stanton block gave the Gladiators the serve where they reeled off six more points to take a 22-19 lead. Stanton added two kills and junior opposite hitter Lei Saleapaga had three aces during that time. But two kills from Gamboa and three aces from Kayla Long allowed Downey to force a fifth set.

Downey would blow two-point leads three straight times before Gahr took an 8-7 lead on an ace from senior opposite hitter Tyra Parrish. Back to back kills from Stanton put the hosts up 11-9. But down the stretch, Gamboa had consecutive kills as the Vikings scored four of the final five points of the match.

Jazmynn Parrish led Gahr with 17 kills while Tolentino added 14 kills and Stanton another seven kills. Gamboa led everyone with 24 kills. Now, Gahr, Downey and Warren High entered action on Oct. 15 at 3-1 in league. Gahr will host Lynwood High on Tuesday and visit Warren on Thursday.

In other girls volleyball action, Valley Christian High was hoping to upset Maranatha High, the eighth ranked team in the California Interscholastic Federation-Southern Section Division II-AA top 10 poll. And early on, it looked as if the Lady Crusaders would accomplish that. But the Minutemen stormed back to take a four-set match, 18-25, 25-15, 25-15, 25-15. The Lady Crusaders fell to 13-9 overall and 1-2 in the Olympic League.

Senior outside hitter Katelyn Albani sparked V.C. in the first set with seven kills as three of those put the hosts up 17-13. The Lady Crusaders never trailed in the opening set but Maranatha was able to force five ties. V.C. was up 8-3 in the second set following a net violation. But Mikaela Ashworth and Kendall Schmedes were too strong as they combined for five kills as the Minutemen took an 11-9 lead.

A kill from senior middle blocker Kerryn Harrington brought V.C. to with two points at 16-14 before Nicole Rodriguez served seven straight points after Schmedes knocked down her 11th kill to that point. Ashworth had three kills to give Maranatha a 10-5 lead in the third set and V.C. never got closer than four points in the set.

Albani led the Lady Crusaders with 13 kills while senior middle blocker Mady Huizar and sophomore outside hitter Madison Holmes added eight and seven kills respectively. Schmedes led everyone with 19 kills while Ashworth pitched in with 14 kills. V.C. travelled to Whittier Christian High on Oct. 15 and will go to Heritage Christian High on Thursday.

Artesia High (5-13 overall, 0-6 in the Suburban League) hosted Bellflower High on Oct. 15 to begin the second half of league play. After hosting Cerritos high on Tuesday, the Pioneers will entertain La Mirada High on Thursday. John Glenn High has been swept 13 times this season and will enter its road match at Norwalk High on Tuesday with a 5-13 overall mark, 2-4 in league. Glenn will host first place Mayfair on Thursday.

FOOTBALL

Artesia fell to Mayfair 55-14 last Friday night and hosts Cerritos tonight with a 2-5 overall record, 1-2 in the Suburban League. Gahr picked up a 21-6 road win at Lynwood High last Friday night in its San Gabriel Valley League opener to improve to 3-3 overall. The Gladiators will host Warren tonight. John Glenn (0-6, 0-2) will host La Mirada tonight while Valley Christian blasted Village Christian High 58-6 and upped its mark to 5-2 overall, 1-0 in the Olympic League. The Crusaders visit Whittier Christian tonight.

COACHING OPENINGS

Cerritos High is looking to fill its varsity softball vacancy as well as that of its boys and girls tennis teams All interested candidates are urged to email Cerritos co-athletic directors Robert.Adams or Todd.Denhart. You can also reach Adams at (562) 926-5566, extension 21820 or Denhart at (562) 926-5566, extension 21808. Cerritos is looking to hire the new coaches as soon as possible.

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