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NEWS AND NOTES FROM PRESS ROW – Cerritos girls volleyball runs out of steam in third set, swept out of the playoffs


By Loren Kopff • @LorenKopff on Twitter

October 27, 2022~David Cuthbert just wrapped up his 10th season as the head coach for the Cerritos High girls volleyball team, but he admitted this one had the most amount of in-game coaching he had to do in terms of switching personnel. The Dons went through the entire season missing senior outside hitter Jordynn Hollins, a key part of their offense who is still recovering from a torn left ACL from early last spring.

Cerritos still managed to win the program’s fourth straight 605 League title, but for the fourth time in the past five seasons, the Dons were bounced out of the CIF-Southern Section second round playoffs as they lost to Crescenta Valley High 25-21, 25-19, 25-18 last Saturday afternoon. They end the season at 17-8, the first time since 2017 the program failed to win at least 20 matches.

Hollins was just one key part that was missed as junior outside hitter Leila Tolentino missed six matches in the middle of the season, junior setter Chloe Cruz was gone for another four matches and junior middle blocker Isabella Dantzler missed the first part of the season as she came back from a stress fracture in her right tibia.

“I’m proud of what we did this year,” said Cuthbert. “It never feels nice to end the year, but I’m proud of how we played. I’m proud of the integrity my players showed and the commitment to the program.”

Cerritos was unable to gain any momentum in the first set, which featured nine ties and six lead changes, most coming during the first rotation. The largest lead for the Dons would be 4-2 and 5-3. Down 18-12, Cerritos made its biggest run of the set as sophomore defensive specialist Gabriella Colombo served six straight points. But a kill from Rory Reedy-Solano gave the Falcons a 21-20 lead, then another one plus a kill and block from Isabel Haytayan ended the set.

The second set nearly followed the same path as the first set as there were nine ties and seven lead changes, and again, most coming during the first rotation. Cerritos held a 9-6 lead after a block from Cruz and still had a three-point advantage at 13-10 and 14-11 before Crescenta Valley tied the score. Tolentino’s seventh kill put Cerritos up 19-17 before Natalie Avakian reeled off seven straight points, the last three coming from the 5’11” Reedy-Solano, who led everyone with 10 kills for the match.

“I really felt like just waiting for us to get that run to close it out in either of them…it just didn’t happen,” said Cuthbert. “Crescenta [Valley] is a great team and they played very well. But we could have played better in the big moments. I think there is a lot of disappointment on our sideline at the moment.”

The early moments of the third set were close and Cerritos led for the final time at 6-5. In a blink of an eye, the Falcons iced the match with eight consecutive points to lead 18-7. Tolentino and senior middle blocker Isa Cilloniz each had nine kills while junior outside hitter added four kills. But the problem for Cerritos throughout the match was the inability to contain Haytayan, who stands at 5’10” and had seven kills, Reedy-Solano and six-foot Nyra Tatoulian, who finished with eight kills.

“We tried a lot; we rotated a lot of players through the right side,” said Cuthbert. “We were just looking for some offense there. It didn’t quite happen for us. It’s no surprise their biggest players played on their left side. It was the hardest place for us to score points. We tried five or six players through the right side, but we just couldn’t get any production out of there.”


605 League

Pioneer High (3-5, 1-1) @ Artesia High (1-7-1, 1-1)-See Artesia/John Glenn High game story. This game was played on Oct. 27.

Prediction: Pioneer 28, Artesia 14.

Cerritos (4-5, 2-0) @ John Glenn (2-6, 0-2)-See Artesia/Glenn game story.

Prediction: Cerritos 35, Glenn 7.


Gateway League

Downey High (7-2, 2-1) @ La Mirada High (4-5, 2-2)-Playoff positioning is on the line as La Mirada, which dropped a 37-8 decision to Warren High last Friday, can tie Downey and possibly Mayfair High for second place with a win. However, a loss to the Vikings would drop the Matadores to fourth place. If that happens, La Mirada’s hope for the playoffs would be an at-large berth.

As has been the case most of the season, the Matadores will be tested by a Downey team that loves to score. It has scored at least 35 points in all seven wins while the Matadores have reached that mark twice this season. Downey is coming off a 38-15 win over Mayfair last Friday and is led by Aidan Chiles, who has passed for over 2,000 yards with 24 touchdowns and only three interceptions. He also leads the Vikings in rushing with 500 yards and has added four more touchdowns to his resume.

Prediction: La Mirada 31, Downey 30.


Mid-Cities League

Lynwood High (6-3, 1-2) @ Gahr High (2-7, 2-1)-See Gahr/Norwalk High game story.

Prediction: Gahr 28, Lynwood 14.


Norwalk (8-1, 2-1) @ Firebaugh High (2-6, 0-3)-See Gahr/Norwalk game story.

Prediction: Norwalk 35, Firebaugh 7.


Ironwood League (played on Oct. 27)

Valley Christian High (3-6, 1-3) @ Village Christian High (6-2, 2-1)-The long season for Valley Christian comes to an end with a meeting against the second place Crusaders. Valley Christian knocked off Big Bear High 35-21 last Friday to halt a three-game skid and assured itself of finishing no worse than fifth place in the six-team league.

Village Christian defeated Heritage Christian High 34-6 last Friday and is strong on the defensive side, posting three shutouts while allowing 116 points. Freshman Chase Everett has passed for 2,066 yards and 23 touchdowns while Logan Everett leads the Crusaders with 587 yards and three touchdowns.

Prediction: Village Christian 42, Valley Christian 21.


Last week: 2-3

Season to date: 39-14-1


The 605 League held its finals at Glenn this past Wednesday and the Cerritos girls continued their dominance, placing all seven runners in the top eight positions and picking up 15 points. Whitney High came in second place with 61 points followed by Oxford Academy (72) and Glenn (107).

Junior Tatianna Chavez, who took home MVP honors, led the brigade with a time of 19:46 and easily beat senior Sydney Romero, who came in at 20:19. After her came sophomore Anna Field (20:25), freshman Dani Romero (20:33) and senior Sofia Padilla (21:08).

After Sophia Santos of Oxford Academy finished in sixth place, the last two Cerritos runners were sophomore Zillian Liu (21:24) and freshman Laurier Crook (21:44). The leading Whitney runner was senior Dalia Luckhardt, who came in ninth place at 21:49 while the Wildcats had the rest of their team finish anywhere from 11th place to 18th place.

The top Glenn harrier was junior Melanie Hernandez, who finished in 13th place at 22:32. There were 29 out of a possible 42 runners with Artesia fielding four, including junior Jazlynn Jara (20th, 25:50).

It was a closer battle for the boys with Whitney winning the race with 38 points, followed by Cerritos (40), Oxford Academy (59), Glenn (101) and Artesia (136). There were 36 runners in this event with the top three schools the only ones with seven runners a piece.

Oxford Academy’s Javier Luna won the race with a time of 16:37, followed by Cerritos junior Elliot Kim (16:40), Whitney sophomore Ethan Choi (17:03) and Cerritos junior Mattson Laraneta (17:05). The leader of Glenn was senior Javier Reynoso, who came in 11th place with a time of 17:29 while the top Artesia runner was Eduardo Ramirez (23rd, 18:37).

“I was proud at how my team progressed through the year,” said Cerritos head coach Jason Watanabe. “Our theme this year was the Wave of Momentum as we had a young team and was hoping they could build off the success of each race. They did, as the boys moved from third to almost taking first and our girls kept improving since the first league race.”