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By Loren Kopff

Even though they reside in the same city and are ABC Unified School District rivals, the Cerritos High and Gahr High girls volleyball teams don’t meet too often. But after the show the two teams put on this past Tuesday afternoon, maybe they should play each other every season.

Cerritos forced a fifth set by holding off the Lady Gladiators in a see-saw fourth set, then rallied from deficits of 7-2, 10-5 and 11-7 in the deciding set to post a thrilling 17-25, 25-23, 22-25, 26-24, 15-13 road win. The Lady Dons, who swept North Torrance High on Aug. 17 in their season opener, improved to 2-0 while Gahr, which swept Norwalk High on Aug. 14 and knocked off Mayfair High in five two days later, dropped to 2-1.

Cerritos scored the first four points in the first set, only to see the hosts come back to force a 5-5 tie. Then at 9-9, junior middle blocker Mariah Uini had three straight kills and the Lady Gladiators never looked back in the set. Gahr would lead for most of the second set, but consecutive aces from junior setter Cindy Byun tied the set at 17-17. She would later have the go-ahead kill, followed by a kill from senior outside hitter Samantha Oh to tie the match.

The back and forth contest continued in the third set with Gahr leading early on before senior defensive specialist Sidney Pasion served four straight points to forge a 16-16 tie. But Uini, who had a match-high 25 kills, finished off the Lady Dons with two kills among the final five Gahr points. Gahr would lead 7-4 in the fourth set before four straight points off the serving of Byun put the visitors in front. Cerritos would later lead 17-13 thanks to four kills from junior outside hitter Nicole Blue, who led her team with 25 kills as well. Despite Gahr tying the set three times down the stretch, Cerritos pulled out the victory on a service error and an ace from sophomore outside hitter Karina Gatewood.

Gahr was looking good in the fifth set with those three early leads. However, a rotation violation gave the serve to Oh, who proceeded to serve three straight points to tie the set at 11-11. A kill from junior outside hitter Hunter Thomas put Gahr up 12-11. But Blue’s 24th kill and two straight aces from Gatewood clinched the comeback.

Oh had 15 kills while Byun added half a dozen as Cerritos visited Millikan High on Aug. 23 and will compete in the St. Pius X/St. Matthias Tournament on Saturday. The Lady Dons will also host Lynwood High on Tuesday and travel to Crean Lutheran High on Thursday.

Thomas added a dozen kills and senior middle blocker Nneoma Izima pitched in with nine kills as Gahr hosted St. Joseph High on Aug. 23, before travelling to Pioneer High today, St. Anthony High on Tuesday and Santa Fe High on Thursday.

In other girls volleyball action, Artesia High lost all three of its pool play matches last Saturday in the Santa Ana Tournament and was swept by Anaheim High 25-22, 25-7, 25-7 this past Tuesday. The Lady Pioneers visited Western High on Aug. 23 and will travel to Jordan High on Monday before hosting Santa Fe on Wednesday.

John Glenn High was also in the same tournament as Artesia and went 1-2 in pool play action. The Lady Eagles visited Whittier High on Aug. 23 and will compete in the St. Pius X/St. Matthias Tournament on Saturday before going to Arroyo High on Wednesday.

Norwalk High is winless in three matches but went the distance against Bell Gardens High on Aug. 16 and El Rancho High this past Tuesday. The Lady Lancers went to Warren High on Aug. 23 and will be at Whitney High and California High on Wednesday and Thursday respectively.

Valley Christian High swept Don Lugo High and Downey High and knocked off California in four sets in a span of four days last week. The Lady Defenders will go to Warren on Tuesday before hosting Mayfair on Thursday.

Also sitting at 3-0 is Whitney, which had an easy time against California Academy of Math and Science this past Wednesday in a 25-6, 25-11, 25-9 win. Senior outside hitter Taylor Genera served eight, seven and six consecutive points in the three sets and had five aces while junior outside hitter Skye Garcia led everyone with 12 kills and seven aces. She also served eight straight points in the third set. Junior middle blocker Ola Ogan added 10 kills and three aces as the Lady Wildcats will visit St. Pius X/St. Matthias High on Monday.


Artesia opened its season at Kennedy High on Aug. 23 while the lone victory from any of the area teams came from Gahr, which defeated Jefferson High 54-28 last Friday. The Gladiators will host Millikan High tonight. Glenn was edged by Savanna High 32-30 last Friday and will host Eisenhower High tonight while Norwalk and V.C. endured blowout losses. The Lancers were routed by Pacifica High 55-6 last Friday while the Defenders were crushed by Rancho Christian High 39-3 last Friday. Norwalk will visit V.C. tonight.

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