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News and Notes from Press Row – John Glenn girls volleyball secures third place in 605 League, ends playoff drought


By Loren Kopff • @LorenKopff on Twitter

October 13, 2022~ A pair of teams who were residents of the lower half of the old Suburban League and haven’t had much luck in the five-year existence of the 605 League met this past Tuesday with a playoff spot on the line. Host Artesia High, which last season ended a playoff drought that dated back to 2010, needed a win against John Glenn High to force a third place tiebreaker match that would have also been at Artesia on Oct. 13.

That match was not necessary because the Eagles snapped their own playoff drought with a 25-20, 10-25, 25-16, 20-25, 15-7 win that secured the program’s first trip to the CIF-Southern Section divisional playoffs for the first time since 2009. Glenn, which earlier in the season defeated the Pioneers in four sets, ends the regular season at 9-9 overall, 5-5 in the circuit. Glenn is also 4-1 when the match has gone five sets.

“It’s all in the girls; I’ve got to give them the credit,” said Glenn head coach Daniel Reyes. “They worked their butts off all summer and in season. Basically, we stayed the course and no matter how it looked, we just kept playing. I told them all I’m concerned about is them competing day in and day out and I can live with the results. Now, I can definitely live with these results.”

The first set was as close as you could get until the very end. There were six ties and two lead changes through the first rotation and after Artesia freshman outside hitter Shynia West served two straight aces, the hosts had their biggest lead of the set at 12-8. But Glenn rallied, took the lead for good at 15-14 on a kill from senior opposite hitter Joey Abugotal, then iced the win when junior middle blocker Janessa Leal served four straight points to make it 23-15.

“She knew what was at stake,” said Reyes of Leal. “She was one of the few girls on the team that knew it was our chance to go to CIF if we win this game. I just told her we needed her to step up today and I really think she answered the call.”

It was all Artesia in the second set, racing out to leads of 10-2 and 20-6 and pounding down eight aces, three of them coming from senior Danielle Ramos. But the Eagles stormed back in the third set with a lot of the damage coming from senior Kaylani Moncada. Held to a mere seven kills in the first two sets combined, one of the league’s top hitters had 10 of the 19 kills her team would collect in the set. After four ties through the first rotation, an ace from sophomore setter Nathalie Jacobo put Glenn up 13-12 and it never looked back.

Another tight beginning in the fourth set gave way for the Pioneers (5-13, 3-7) to open a four-point advantage at 16-12 after an ace from sophomore opposite hitter Rylee Asumbrado. A serve that went long and two kills from West forced the pivotal fifth set where it was all Glenn.

At 2-1, Jacobo served five straight points. Then at 9-4, junior middle blocker Kristy Rodriguez put the set away with four straight points.

West led the Pioneers with 14 kills while junior middle blocker Jocelyn Villareal and sophomore opposite hitter Rebecca Gooden added 11 and eight kills respecitely while Moncada was her usual workhorse, leading all players with 30 kills. Sophomore outside hitter Sugey Mancilla and freshman opposite hitter Valeria Mejia each added eight kills. But with Moncada pacing the team as she has done all season, Reyes is glad to see her go to the playoffs as a senior, especially after the Eagles went 1-16 last season.

“I’m more happy because I’ll take it back to last year,” said Reyes. “Her and I had meeting after meeting after every game and she’ll probably hate me for saying this, but we cried together after every game knowing how stressful it was and in all honesty, how terrible we were last year. I told her it’s all for a reason and I’m just glad she was able to carry us and be that leader that we needed. She deserves it more than anybody [and] more than myself.”

In other girls volleyball action, the CIF-SS playoff brackets will be released on Saturday at 11:00 a.m. Cerritos High completed another undefeated 605 League season by sweeping Oxford Academy 25-18, 25-12, 25-22 this past Tuesday, ending the regular season at 17-7, 10-0. La Mirada High clinched the Mid-Cities League with a 25-16, 25-17, 25-10 win at Bellflower High this past Wednesday, improving to 16-9, 9-0 while Norwalk High went to 10-11, 6-3 and visited Bellflower on Oct. 13. A win by the Lancers will get the team a share of second place while Valley Christian High locked down second place in the Olympic League after a 25-19, 25-17, 25-21 win at Whittier Christian High this past Monday. The Defenders, 19-12, 5-2, hosted Heritage Christian High this past Wednesday.


605 League (all games played on Oct. 13)

Artesia (0-6-1) @ Cerritos (2-5)-See Cerritos/Gahr game story.

Prediction: Cerritos 28, Artesia 7.

Glenn (2-4) @ Pioneer High (2-4)-After having two weeks off, including the cancellation of its homecoming game, Glenn was back on the field where it was blasted by Garden Grove High 56-0 last Friday. The Eagles have lost three in a row, scoring 12 points in the process, and besides their only on the field win, have scored 32 points.

The Titans have won two in a row by a combined score of 17-7. Against Montclair High last Friday, a third quarter field goal provided the only points in the game and Pioneer has not scored more than 20 points in any game this season.

Prediction: Glenn 21, Pioneer 20.


Mid-Cities League

Firebaugh High (2-5, 0-2) @ Gahr (0-7, 0-1)-See Cerritos/Gahr game story.

Prediction: Gahr 21, Firebaugh 13.

Bellflower (7-1, 2-0) @ Norwalk (7-0, 1-0)-For all intense purposes, this will decide who wins the Mid-Cities League and both teams run the double wing offense. Norwalk is coming off a 51-0 homecoming win against Lynwood High last Friday as its high octane offense continues to be in high gear. The Lancers have scored at least 44 points in every game, have topped 50 points four times, have rushed for 2,785 yards and scored 49 touchdowns. Senior running backs Michael Mueller (81 carries, 1,074 yards 18 touchdowns) and David Herrera (75, 1,052, 17 touchdowns) pace the team.

Bellflower, which has scored 336 points, is coming off a 76-0 win over Firebaugh and has rushed for over 2,500 yards, led by Tray Pinkney (77 carries, 1049 yards, 11 touchdowns) and William Taylor (98 carries, 574 yards, nine touchdowns).

Prediction: Norwalk 42, Bellflower 31.


Gateway League

Paramount High (1-6, 0-2) @ La Mirada (3-4, 1-1)-See La Mirada/Mayfair game story.

Prediction: La Mirada 35, Paramount 14.


Ironwood League

Valley Christian (2-5, 0-2) @ Aquinas High (5-2, 2-0)-The Defenders fell to longtime rival Ontario Christian High 40-18 last Friday for their second straight setback. If they are to have any chance of the postseason, they would need to beat a touch Aquinas team that has won three straight games, including last Friday’s 56-6 win over Heritage Christian. The Falcons have passed for over 800 yards and rushed for 800 yards and are one of two teams left undefeated in league action. While V.C. is under .500, the other five league teams have a combined mark of 26-9.

Prediction: Aquinas 31, V.C. 14.

Last week: 5-1

Season to date: 32-10-1