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NEWS AND NOTES FROM PRESS ROW Short-handed Cerritos girls volleyball starts strong, holds on to sweep Gahr


August 25, 2022

By Loren Kopff •  @LorenKopff on Twitter

As with every team in the first few weeks of its season, it takes a while before coaches get a true reading of what their team is all about. The Cerritos High girls volleyball team made the trek to the north side of the city to face Gahr High and even though the Dons had five matches under their belt, there were still unanswered questions. 

Without the services of senior outside hitter Jordynn Hollins, who is recovering from a torn ACL early last spring and junior middle blocker Isabella Dantzler, who has a stress fracture in her right tibia from May, the Dons were wondering who would step up. Problem solved, as the Dons had enough to sweep the Gladiators 25-12, 25-22, 25-19 this past Tuesday.

“It’s a challenge for the coaching staff to rebuild from that, but the nice thing about it is it gives a lot of opportunities to some of our younger players,” said Cerritos head coach David Cuthbert. “Had those injuries not occurred, [junior outside hitter] Nicole Salas wouldn’t be playing big minutes for us. She had a great game today. She had some nice kills in big moments, and that’s only going to really help her for later this year and next year.”

After Cerritos built an early 5-2 lead in the opening set, the Gladiators tied it before the defending 605 League champions reeled off nine straight points to put it away. Six players accounted for the nine kills Cerritos got in the set while senior defensive specialist Justine Reginaldo served five aces and junior libero Jasmine Kastner and sophomore defensive specialist Gabriella Colombo each had a pair of aces.

The second set would be much tighter and although Gahr rallied from deficits of three and five points early to tie the set at 12-12, it couldn’t put together another stretch or two of more than three consecutive points. With the score knotted at 18-18, a double hit violation, followed by two straight kills from senior defensive specialist Audrey Lee gave the Dons (3-3) a 21-18 lead. 

Gahr tried to stay close with its city rivals in the third set, taking an early 604 lead on back to back aces from senior defensive specialist Analyn Baculod.

“We came off our service pressure a little bit and Gahr responded; they played better,” said Cuthbert of the second and third sets. “I think the second and third sets are perhaps a truer reflection of the competitiveness of the game rather than the first set. I think in the first set, we just played really clean and it just worked out really nice for us.”

But the Dons took the lead for good at 14-13 when Colombo added her sixth ace of the match. The Gladiators (1-3) got as close as three points four times down the stretch but kills from junior outside hitter Nicole Sales, Kastner and senior middle blocker Isa Cilloniz ended the match. 

Cerritos, which hosted Warren High on Aug. 25 and will visit Sunny Hills High on Thursday, was led by junior outside hitter Leila Tolentino (nine kills) and Sales (six kills). Gahr’s kill leaders were senior outside hitter Leslie Solorzano (seven) and junior middle blocker Zyon Aubrey (six). The Gladiators were home to El Rancho High on Aug. 25 and will visit Bellflower High and Norwalk High on Tuesday and Thursday respectively.


Garden Grove High (0-0) @ Artesia High (0-0)-The Pioneers got a rude awakening to the 2021 season as Garden Grove blasted them 48-0. A quartet of running backs, all juniors, combined to rush for 269 yards and score four touchdowns, led by Malachi Bey, who had 177 yards on 15 carries and scored three times. In fact, Bey outgained Artesia’s total offense in the game. Garden Grove would go on to finish in second place in the Big 4 League before falling to Northview High 30-14 in the CIF-Southern Section Division 10 first round playoffs.

It was the first of six straight losses for Artesia, which won two games and lost to Division 14 finalist Rialto High 30-28 in the first round.


Garden Grove 38, Artesia 20.

Woodbridge High (0-1) vs. Cerritos (0-1) @ Artesia-This game was played on Aug. 25 and marked the first of six Thursday night games for the Dons, who lost to Buena Park High 48-21 in the season opener. Woodbridge fell to former Pacific League rival Northwood High 21-7 in a battle of Irvine schools. The Warriors, who edged Norwalk High 24-21 in the Division 12 first round, advanced to the quarterfinals and finished with a 5-8 mark.


Woodbridge 31, Cerritos 21.

Gahr (0-0) @ Valley Christian High (0-1)-This game originally was to be played at Dr. Hanford Rants Stadium, but new field turf and all-weather track surfaces are being installed. V.C. defeated the Gladiators 34-14 in an unscheduled contest at the end of last season. It was one of two games Gahr scored in.

V.C. was on the short end of a 35-0 decision to El Dorado High, which had over 400 yards in offense last Friday in the coaching debut for Nick Walker.


V.C. 35, Gahr 7.

Firebaugh High (0-1) @ Glenn High (0-1)-Both teams are coming off bad losses last Friday with Glenn falling to Rowland High 34-7 and Firebaugh getting trounced by Trinity Classical Academy 50-0, giving up 310 yards and allowing six quarterback sacks. Last season, Glenn blasted the Falcons 40-8. Expect the Eagles to pull out all the stops as they want to take advantage of its favorable schedule.


Glenn 42, Firebaugh 7.

La Canada High (1-0) @ Norwalk (1-0)-This game was played on Aug. 26 and is one of the better early season matchups involving an area team. Norwalk had no problems with San Marino High, 55-33, last Friday as the Lancers led 20-6 after the first quarter and 41-21 at the half.

Meanwhile, the Spartans defeated Rosemead High 56-26, racing out to a 28-6 first quarter lead and never looking back. This is the first meeting between the programs in at least 25 years.


Norwalk 38, La Canada 31.

Last week’s predictions: 3-2

Season: 3-2