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NEWS AND NOTES FROM PRESS ROW – Norwalk girls volleyball reunites with ex-Suburban League foe, collects fourth sweep of season








September 9, 2021

By Loren Kopff • @LorenKopff on Twitter


The last time the Artesia High and Norwalk High girls volleyball teams faced each other was Oct. 24, 2017 as members of the Suburban League, and the latter had just defeated the Lady Pioneers for the 14th straight time, the last 11 coming by way of a sweep. Since then, Artesia jumped into the 605 League and the Lady Lancers have struggled in the revamped four-team Suburban League.

The two met this past Wednesday and the results were still the same as Norwalk swept Artesia 25-20, 25-14, 25-17 to improve to 5-4 this season.

“It was definitely tough; they’re a good team,” said Norwalk assistant coach Kevin Contreras. They’re very well-disciplined. But we were a little bit better of a team. We have a really good group of girls who all play around very well and I’m very proud of them.”

Norwalk led throughout the first rotation of the opening set and had a 13-11 lead when a serve into the net gave Artesia senior middle blocker Magaly Zeferino the serve, who reeled off five straight points, three of which were aces. After Contreras called a timeout, the Lady Lancers responded by posting 10 consecutive points with senior libero Stacey Valentin putting down five straight aces at one point.

“In that timeout…our back row wasn’t able to look at what [Artesia] was doing,” Contreras said. “They were either putting the ball in the deep corner or tipping it. My team needs to be able to realize that and once they realized that, they were able to put the ball down next time around.”

In the second set, the hosts had a brief 4-1 lead before Norwalk senior outside hitter Denise Cortez took over. She had three straight kills before an ace from Valentin made it 5-4. Moments later, it was the Delylah Faamatau show as she had two straight kills and two straight blocks to increase the margin to 13-5. Faamatau would finish the match with 12 kills and three blocks while Cortez had nine kills as those two are quickly becoming a nifty one-two offensive punch for the Lady Lancers.

“Those are two of our very strong hitters, so we try to balance out the whole rotation,” Contreras said. “We have some really good outsides. We’re running a 5-1; my goal is to run a 6-2, but with the group of girls we had today, we were forced to run a 5-1, and it worked out pretty well.”

Norwalk had an 11-6 lead in the third set but by the end of the first rotation, Norwalk had a slim two-point lead. Both teams traded the next seven points before the second straight kill from senior outside hitter Briana Aguirre made it 18-14 and the Lancers never looked back.

Freshman outside hitter Rylee Asumbrado came on strong in the latter half of the match to lead Artesia with seven kills while junior outside hitter Andrea Arzate added six kills.

Artesia, which has one win on the season, has completed its non-league schedule and opens 605 League action today against John Glenn High before visiting Cerritos High on Tuesday while Norwalk travels to San Gabriel High on Saturday and begins Suburban League action at Mayfair High on Thursday.

“We believe Mayfair is our biggest competitor,” Contreras said. “We’re going to keep on working forward every tough loss; every win to bring something new to the team and something new to learn. Hopefully, we’ll be ready for Mayfair.”

In other girls volleyball action, Cerritos (4-2), losers of two straight matches, will host Oxford Academy today in the 605 League opener and will go to Whitney High on Thursday. Gahr High

(2-3) visited El Rancho High this past Wednesday and stays on the road to face St. Anthony High today and Downey High on Tuesday in the San Gabriel Valley League opener before hosting Dominguez High on Thursday.

Glenn (1-3) went to Cantwell Sacred Heart of Mary on Sept. 9 and will host Whitney on Tuesday while La Mirada High (0-6) travelled to Downey this past Wednesday and California High on Sept. 9. The Lady Matadores will also compete in the Kennedy Tournament on Saturday.


Note: Because of the Covid situation, games may be canceled or switched to a different day after press time.

Artesia (0-2) @ Marquez High (0-2)

The Pioneers have scored one touchdown in a pair of blowout losses as they face the Gladiators from the Central League of the CIF-Los Angeles City Section. Artesia has allowed 252 yards rushing and 210 passing in its two games while Marquez has losses to South East High (30-12) and Los Angeles Wilson High (36-18) on its season ledger.

Ocean View High (1-2) @ Cerritos (1-2), Thurs. Sept. 9

Both teams enter the contest on two-game skids. After a 10-point win against Buena Park High in the season opener, Cerritos has been shutout in two straight games, yielding a combined 85 points while Ocean View has fallen to Los Amigos High 20-0 and to University High 13-12, both on the road. The Seahawks are led by the tandem of quarterbacks Frankie Armenta and Seth Churchwell, both of whom have combined to go 43 of 80 for 326 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Haston Allen leads the ground game with 282 yards on 44 carries and a touchdown while the Ocean View defense has posted six sacks and an interception.

Gahr (0-1) @ Garden Grove High (1-1), Thurs. Sept. 9

For the second time in three weeks. Gahr had to cancel a game because of Covid issues as the Gladiators couldn’t face Heritage Christian High last Friday. Meanwhile, Garden Grove fell to Santa Ana High 55-13 after destroying Artesia 48-0 on Aug. 26.

La Mirada (2-1) @ Millikan High (1-2)

La Mirada has won two straight games and is riding the arm of junior quarterback Nehuel Garcia (42 of 65, 595 yards, eight touchdowns) and senior running backs Edward Lafferre and Amil White, who have combined for 50 carries, 376 yards and two touchdowns. Junior wide receiver Xavier Hicks has caught 20 passes for 349 yards and four touchdowns. Millikan picked up its first win last week against St. Anthony High, a 47-8 conquest.

Norwalk (2-1) @ South East High (3-0)

Norwalk’s double-wing offense tales its talents to South Gate to face the Jaguars from the Eastern League of the CIF-LA City Section. The Jags have allowed 20 points but will have to contend with juniors Jonathan Goodloe (30 carries, 456 yards, four touchdowns) and David Herrera (42 carries, 451 yards, six touchdowns). In all, nine different ball carriers have accounted for 1,141 yards and 13 touchdowns for the Lancers.

Beckman High (1-1) @ Valley Christian High (1-1)

The Defenders are back in action after having to cancel last Friday’s game at Crean Lutheran High. V.C. senior quarterback Logan Lemonnier has completed 24 of 33 passes for 310 yards and a pair of touchdowns while also rushing for 53 yards on nine touches. Beckman defeated Bellflower 34-14 before losing to North Torrance High 14-0 and as a team, has rushed for 387 yards while its defense has sacked opposing quarterbacks six times.