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NEWS AND NOTES FROM PRESS ROW Valley Christian girls volleyball rally to edge Whittier Christian in five

By Loren Kopff


The Valley Christian girls volleyball team wrapped up the first round of Olympic League play in dramatic fashion, getting a much needed victory over a team it has had problems with recently. The Lady Crusaders rallied to knock off the visiting Heralds 25-19, 13-25, 25-23, 20-15, 15-13 last Thursday night.

It was the first time since 2007 that V.C. had defeated Whittier Christian and the win left the Lady Crusaders (17-1 overall, 3-1 in league) all alone in second place after the first round. V.C. trailed 5-1 in the pivotal fifth set but sophomore defensive specialist Kaylee Westra’s ace was the first of five straight she would serve.

With the scored tied at 9-9, an ace deposited at the back line from senior defensive specialist CariAnn Palmer gave the hosts the lead for good. Both teams would trade points until an ace from junior setter Chloe Winter put V.C. up 14-12. The match ended when senior opposite hitter Karly Dantuma blasted her team-leading 21st kill. The set featured eight ties and four lead changes.

There would be eight ties in the first set but V.C. pulled away when a kill from Dantuma put the hosts up 19-18. From there, they added four straight points on two aces from Palmer and a kill and a block from freshman outside hitter Madison Holmes.

The third set went back and forth as well with the Lady Crusaders up 13-10 after posting six straight points before Whittier Christian came back to lead 20-19. Kills from Dantuma and junior middle blocker Katelyn Albani put V.C. up for good at 23-21.

Junior middle blocker Madison Huizar and Albani each added nine kills while Albani and Dantuma had four and three blocks respectively. Palmer led the Lady Crusaders with five aces followed by Winter (four) and junior libero Allie Sutherlin (three). V.C. visited Heritage Christian on Oct. 23 and will travel to first place Village Christian on Tuesday before hosting Maranatha on Thursday, the last regular season home match.

In other girls volleyball action, Artesia (2-12, 1-8 in the Suburban League), with as many wins this season as the previous three seasons combined, visited John Glenn on Oct. 23 and will host defending league champion Norwalk on Tuesday. Cerritos (9-10, 6-2) will host La Mirada on Tuesday and Norwalk on Thursday to wrap up the home portion of its regular season slate. The Lady Dons headed into the La Mirada match tied for second place, two games behind the Matadores.

Norwalk knocked off cross-town rival Glenn 23-25, 25-7, 25-17, 25-14 last Thursday to improve to 10-8 overall and 4-3 in the circuit, good for fourth place. After a tight first set in which Norwalk blew a three-point lead late, the Lady Lancers were in total control from that point on.

Sophomore defensive specialist Paola Nava, senior setter Elena Auwae-Ortiz and senior defensive specialist Annalisa Bustos all served five straight points in different parts of the second set with Bustos putting down three straight aces.

Norwalk bolted out to leads of 14-7 and 18-11 in the third set and turned a two-point affair into a 15-7 lead in the fourth set thanks to more stellar serving from Auwae-Ortiz. Norwalk senior middle blocker Jazmin Guzman led everyone with 15 kills while sophomore outside hitter Athena Sio added nine more. The Lady Eagles (9-10, 2-6) were led by senior outside hitters Nicole Cruz and Leslie Larranga as well as senior middle blocker Zahory Ramirez, all of whom had 10 kills. Glenn will visit Bellflower on Tuesday and La Mirada on Thursday.


Cerritos remained winless on the season after falling to Bellflower 37-15 last Friday night. The Dons will host John Glenn tonight on homecoming night, hoping to beat the Eagles in consecutive seasons for the first time since winning three straight against Glenn from 2005-2007. Glenn enters the game at 2-5 overall and 0-3 in the Suburban League after a 61-27 setback to Mayfair last Friday night. The 61 points were the most allowed by the Monsoons since Oct. 30, 1998, a 63-7 loss.

Another team that was blasted on the scoreboard was Gahr, which was crushed by Paramount 70-25 last Friday night on Gahr’s homecoming. It was the most points allowed against a San Gabriel Valley League team in over 17 years and the most points given up since being on the south side of a 69-51 affair to Knight on Sept. 10, 2010. Gahr (3-4, 0-2 in the San Gabriel Valley League) will visit Downey tonight.

Valley Christian enjoyed homecoming night with a wild 67-44 win over Whittier Christian last Friday night. The Crusaders (5-3, 1-1 in the Olympic League) snapped a two-game losing streak and put the game away with 33 points in the fourth quarter after trailing 38-34 after three quarters. Senior running back Jonathan Nicholson scored on runs of 62, 55, 51 and 73 yards while junior running back Robert Downs added touchdown runs of 11, 63, 9 and 46 yards. Senior defensive back Isaiah Tesfay returned interceptions of 32 and 70 yards for scores. The Crusaders will have tonight off before visiting Village Christian on Oct. 31.