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605 LEAGUE GIRLS VOLLEYBALL: Artesia continues  to make a push for rare playoff berth, sweeps John Glenn


October 1, 2021



Since the 605 League was formed prior to the 2018-2019 school year, four of the six member schools have advanced to the CIF-Southern Section divisional playoffs.

The two that haven’t met on the court this past Tuesday to begin the second round of league action with one of them hoping to stay in the hunt for the postseason.

Artesia High, which has not tasted life in the playoffs since 2010, swept last place John Glenn High 25-20, 25-15, 25-9 this past Tuesday afternoon, improving to 7-7 overall and 4-2 in the league.

The seven victories equal the output from the 2015 and 2019 and the Lady Pioneers are on pace to have the program’s best record since going 10-14 in that playoff season.

In addition, Artesia swept a season-series from the Lady Eagles for the first time since 2016.

“It’s still an ever building process right now,” said Artesia head coach Tommy Dube. “Confidence in our serving translates into the confidence in our hitting. We’re still continuing to work on both those items of serving effectively, which will translate to our attack.”

Early in the match, Glenn (1-12, 0-6) was primed to upset Artesia, or at the very least, win a set in league for just the second time this season.

The Lady Eagles scored the first three points of the first set and held leads of 8-3 and 10-6 before Artesia woke up and went to work.

A kill from junior outside hitter Andrea Arzate, who would be a thorn in Glenn’s side throughout the match, posted her first kill, leading to senior middle blocker Melissa Lopez serving four straight points to give Artesia its first lead at 11-10. The set would feature seven ties and five lead changes, the last coming when Glenn was called for a rotation violation, putting the visitors in front 20-19. Arzate’s sixth kill of the set gave the Lady Pioneers their largest lead of the set at 23-20. Artesia would have a dozen kills and five aces in the set while Glenn had 11 kills and four aces after one.

“I think it’s the immaturity of the team, having last year off as well,” Dube said of the slow start. “Just that killer instinct is something that we’re still working on. Glenn is a formative serving team, so we just needed to make sure we move.”

Glenn tried to stay close to Artesia in the first few minutes of the second set, but when senior defensive specialist Stephanie Avina served consecutive aces, Artesia had a 6-4 lead. An ace from Glenn sophomore setter Abbey Zavala would tie the set at 6-6, but Artesia responded with four straight points and never looked back. Arzate continued to hurt the Lady Eagles with five more kills in the set and finished with a match-high 16 along with five aces. She, along with junior outside hitter Alexis Brazil (10 kills, nine aces) are becoming another offensive tandem the rest of the league should not sleep on.

“Andrea has definitely been one of our key outside hitters, and when she’s on, she plays phenomenal,” Dube said. “She puts the ball where she wants to put the ball, and with [senior setter] Kira’s [Magdaleno] setting and the setup of that, that’s where it all starts with.”

Another key component to the win over Glenn was Avina, who was inserted into the match to begin the second set and immediately contributed with five of the 11 aces the team would get.

“We just needed a change of pace,” Dube said. “Rylee [Asumbrado] is a freshman; the other defensive specialist that we have on the team. So, I felt that we got burned too many times. Stephanie, as a junior, came in with a little bit more maturity and really stepped it up. So, I kept her in, then also I wanted to replenish Rylee as we come in to foster in of her youth.”

With the score 7-4 in the third set, a serve into the net allowed Brazil to reel off six straight points to put the match away. Later in the set, Arzate would serve six consecutive points as well. Those two accounted for all but seven kills the Lady Pioneers would collect as the team will host league-leading Cerritos High today. The Lady Dons improved to 20-3 with a four-set win over Oxford Academy this past Tuesday. Artesia will then travel to Oxford Academy on Tuesday.

“I think [it will take] just focusing on playing ourselves more than playing our opponent,” Dube said of the final two weeks of the regular season. “Unfortunately, the girls are still coming out of not having that year of playing last year. So, that little bit of a break is more playing against ourselves than it is the other team.”

Junior outside hitter Kaylani Moncada paced Glenn, as she has done all season, with six kills, all coming in the first set, while sophomore opposite hitter Janessa Leal and senior middle blocker Gabriela Ortega added five and four kills respectively. Glenn, which will miss the postseason for the 11th straight season, visits Whitney High today and entertains Pioneer High on Tuesday.