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NEWS AND NOTES FROM PRESS ROW: Norwalk girls volleyball end frustrating season with five straight losses, will miss playoffs


By Loren Kopff

@LorenKopff on Twitter


When the 2018 Norwalk High girls volleyball team looks back at the season, head coach Eric Lorn and the players will be reminded of the close matches that resulted in losses. Or, the Lady Lancers will remember that at 3-1 following four Suburban League matches, they were in second place and still remained in second place with two matches remaining.

But a late-season slide, including a 25-17, 25-13, 25-22 loss to league champion Mayfair High, cost Norwalk a trip to the CIF-Southern Section playoffs for an eighth straight season. The Lady Lancers conclude the season at 5-11 overall, 3-6 in the circuit and finish with the program’s worst mark since 2010 when that team went 1-13 overall and 1-11 in league play. Lorn cites team chemistry and different work ethics as a result of the poor record and the five-match losing streak, saying, “it’s just something that we have to learn from and rebuild”.

Norwalk played the Monsoons tough through the first rotation of the first two sets, trailing 10-9 in the first set before Kate Kroese had a kill, then served three straight points to give Mayfair the edge it needed. In the second set, the Lady Lancers were up 11-10 before Joy Umeh put down the eighth of her match-high 13 kills. That led to Kroese serving two straight aces, followed by kills from Umeh and Jadin Williams. Emma Pedroza would end the set with six straight points served.

In the third set, Norwalk led early 6-3 before Umeh served four straight points. Norwalk got to within 20-16 following kills from senior libero Marissa Reyna and senior outside hitter Cieara Munoz and an ace from sophomore defensive specialist Amy Chacon. Moments later, senior setter Arianna Ortiz had three consecutive aces to make it 24-22.

“Our mentality was always go out of the gates running and sprinting as hard as we can,” Lorn said. “But once they got south, they just can’t come back anymore. That’s something we need to work on.”

Senior outside hitter Marissa Anguiano led Norwalk with five kills while Reyna and senior opposite hitter Destiny Ochoa each had four. Munoz and senior defensive specialist Daisy Sanchez each pitched in with three kills as Norwalk said goodbye to nine seniors from a team of 16 players.

“I’m losing nine seniors, but I felt like a lot of the young girls picked up a lot of the slack towards the middle and the end of the season,” Lorn said. “I have a few sophomores and some freshmen, so they’re ready. They’ve seen the experience of high level play.”

In other girls volleyball action, the playoffs began for three area teams on Oct. 18. Cerritos High, the champions of the new 605 League which finished at 23-3 overall and is the sixth ranked team in Division 5, hosted Paramount High, the third place representatives from the San Gabriel Valley League. The Lady Dons have also won eight straight matches, all by sweeps, including a 25-3, 25-14, 25-14 over Paramount on Oct. 10.

Gahr High, tied for first place in the San Gabriel Valley League, visited Bishop Montgomery High out of the Del Rey League in this Division 4 first round match. The Lady Gladiators went 18-7 overall and 9-1 in the SGVL.

In Division 6 action, Whitney High traveled to Sunbelt League champion Heritage High. The Lady Wildcats wrapped up their best season since 2000 with a 14-7 mark, 7-3 in the 605 League.


Pioneer High (6-2 overall, 1-0 in the 605 League) @ Artesia High (5-3, 1-0)-It’s hard to believe that after one game in the new 605 League, the winner of this game most likely will bring home the league title. The visiting Titans, who began the season with five wins in their first six games, are coming off a 37-13 win at Cerritos while Artesia got past John Glenn High 42-28. Pioneer already has three shutouts and allowed eight points in a fourth game. Julian Vera leads the rushing attack with 781 yards but as a team, the Titans have gained 1,732 yards on the ground with 26 touchdowns

Cerritos (3-5, 0-1) @ John Glenn High (4-4, 0-1)-There is no margin for error as the loser of this game will probably be out of the playoff discussion. Pretty much, it will be Glenn senior quarterback David Sanchez and junior running back Edwin Udengwu against junior quarterback Stacy King, senior running back Tye Anderson and a receiving crew that has combined to catch 1,813 yards and 20 touchdowns from King and junior quarterback Nick Lightell for the visiting Dons.

Paramount (4-4, 3-0 in the San Gabriel Valley League) @ Gahr (3-5, 2-1)-The Gladiators were no match for Warren High last Friday night in a 46-14 loss, ending a brief two-game winning streak. After a four-game losing streak, the Pirates have won three straight and are the favorites to win the league. Kingston Hala has passed for 1,292 yards and 14 touchdowns for Paramount but has been picked off eight times. The Pirates will spend most of the night passing as they have rushed for 478 yards this season and scored five times on the ground.

Norwalk (0-8, 0-1 in the Suburban League) @ Bellflower High (6-2, 0-1)-It keeps getting worse and worse for the Lancers, who are heading towards their worst season since 2004 when that team went 1-9. No Norwalk team has gone winless since at least 1998. The Lancers dropped a 27-0 decision to Mayfair in which the game was called at halftime due to lightning. It’s the third time in the past four games Norwalk has been shutout. The Buccaneers were blasted by La Mirada High 42-18 last Friday night, but its defense has yielded 79 points. Joseph Garza has passed for 1,548 yards and 18 touchdowns opposite two interceptions. The rushing game is just as impressive as Bellflower has gained 1,713 yards with Kobe Frazier picking up 703 yards with nine touchdowns.

Valley Christian (2-6, 0-2 in the Olympic League) @ Village Christian (5-4, 1-2)-Valley Christian was off last Friday night while Village Christian seems to be doing fine after not fielding a varsity team last season. The Defenders are still alive for the playoffs and a win would eliminate tonight’s opponent as the Crusaders have a bye next week. Village Christian has lost two in a row after a five-game winning streak and are led by Sam Faulkner (1,474 passing yards, 18 touchdowns, five interceptions) and a trio of running backs who all have over 300 yards on the ground. As a team, Village Christian has rushed for 1,213 yards.