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NEWS AND NOTES FROM PRESS ROW – League action begins for girls volleyball as regular season heads into second half

September 14, 2023

By Loren Kopff• @LorenKopff on X/Twitter

Last week was the beginning of league play for the area girls volleyball teams and so far, there haven’t been any surprises as far as what we can expect by the time the second week of October comes around.

Artesia High knocked off John Glenn High 25-12, 25-16, 22-25, 25-15 last Friday before the Pioneers were swept by Cerritos High this past Tuesday. Artesia (5-5, 1-1) will go to Whitney High on Friday and host Pioneer High on Tuesday.

Cerritos, in typical fashion, swept its first two league opponents to improve to 6-1 on the season as the Dons went to Pioneer High on Sept. 14 ahead of their appearance in the Bellflower/Gahr Tournament on Friday and Saturday. Cerritos will then travel to Glenn on Tuesday.

Glenn’s loss to Artesia, followed by a 25-16, 25-13, 25-19 to Whitney this past Tuesday drops the Eagles to 3-5, 0-2 as they will go to Oxford Academy on Friday before facing Cerritos.

Norwalk High improved to 13-7 overall and won its Mid-Cities League opener this past Tuesday, sweeping Bellflower High 25-13, 26-24, 25-20. The Lancers hosted Mayfair High on Sept. 14 in a battle of the top two teams in the league and will go to Firebaugh High and Dominguez High on Tuesday and Thursday respectively.

Valley Christian High went 1-4 last Friday and Saturday in the Whittier Tournament to fall to 8-8, then swept St. Anthony High 25-13, 25-16, 25-20 this past Tuesday. The Defenders hosted Village Christian High on Sept. 14 and will participate in the Bellflower/Gahr Tournament before travelling to Maranatha High on Tuesday.

Whitney began 605 League action with sweeps over Pioneer and Glenn, improving to 4-8 as the Wildcats will go to Oxford Academy on Tuesday. 


West Torrance High (0-3) @ Cerritos (1-2)-Cerritos had last week off and is looking to get back into the win column after falling to Portola High 14-0 on Aug. 31. The Dons have been operating with a pair of quarterbacks as senior Julian Morales has completed 14 passes in 26 attempts for 121 yards and a pair of touchdowns while sophomore Justin Sagun is 12 of 26 for 83 yards and a touchdown. Junior wide receiver Ruben Castro has been the recipient of 10 of those passes for 111 yards and two touchdowns while junior Dikshanta Adhikari has also caught 11 passes for 48 yards. On the ground, junior Josiah Ungos has gained 116 yards on 27 carries with a score while Adhikari has added 80 yards on 24 carries and the only other rushing touchdown. This is also Cerritos’ homecoming game.

West Torrance has lost all three games this season including a narrow 10-3 affair to Peninsula High last Friday. Quarterback Eli Brandt completed 19 of 41 passes for 129 yards in that game while the ground game was limited to 30 yards on a dozen carries. After scoring 29 points in their season opener against St. Anthony High, the Warriors have scored a dozen in the last two outings. 

Prediction: Cerritos 31, West Torrance 14

Gahr High (2-1) @ Santa Ana Valley High (1-3)-For the second straight week, Gahr’s offense put up numbers worthy of a win but unlike the 43-7 win against Ocean View High on Sept. 1, the Gladiators couldn’t come through at Garden Grove High last Friday. Every time Gahr scored, the Argonauts answered as there were seven straight lead changes in the second half after the Gladiators led 27-21 at halftime. In the end, Gahr fell 49-47 in the final minute. Gahr had either a six or seven-point lead five times before failing to hold a five and four-point advantage late in the third and fourth quarters respectively. Heading into that contest, senior running back Kalen Montgomery already had 433 yards and five touchdowns. 

After scoring just a touchdown in its first three games combines, Santa Ana Valley busted out last Friday to destroy Godinez High 41-6. Entering that game, quarterbacks Noe Hernandez and Bruce Sanchez had combined to throw for 237 yards while the Falcons had rushed for 280 yards while the defense has given up 150 points already.

Prediction: Gahr 42, Santa Ana Valley 13.

John Glenn (2-2) @ Mark Keppel High (0-4)-See Norwalk High/Glenn game story.

Prediction: Glenn 35, Mark Keppel 7

La Mirada High (0-4) @ Baldwin Park High (1-3)-La Mirada’s defense was a better last Friday against Long Beach Jordan High but the result was still the same as the Matadores fell 28-18, marking the first time since 2018 the program has lost the first four games to begin a season. La Mirada would start that campaign 0-7 and finish the regular season with two wins. La Mirada’s defense was burned by one of the top quarterbacks in the state, Jarret Nielsen, who completed 34 passes for 320 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He also gained 261 yards and scored twice. The Matadores scored before halftime for the first time this season but have yielded 95 points in the first half.

If there is a time to end the losing skid, it would be on Friday as Baldwin Park has lost two straight games, including a 35-14 setback to Schurr High last time out. The Braves have given up at least 33 points in all four games while La Mirada’s offense is getting better, averaging 17 points in the last three games. Quarterback Jake Garcia had thrown for 618 yards and 10 touchdowns before the Schurr contest and the Braves had gained almost 600 yards on the ground.

Prediction: La Mirada 28, Baldwin Park 14

Norwalk (2-1) @ Linfield Christian High (2-2)-See Norwalk/Glenn game story.

Prediction: Norwalk 35, Linfield Christian 28

Sierra Vista High (1-3) @ Valley Christian (0-4)-It’s rare to see a Valley Christian football team begin any season with four straight losses, but that’s where the Defenders are. V.C. was shutout for the second straight week, losing to Chino High 33-0 last Friday. It’s the first time since 2011 that V.C. has lost its first four games. Since then, the program had gone through four seasons of 1-3 starts and four more splitting the first four games. The Defenders have been outscored 158-26 so far, but as their non-league schedules comes to an end on Friday, the matchup with Sierra Vista seems favorable. This will also be V.C.’s homecoming game. 

The Dons were overmatched by Heritage Christian High 40-8 last Friday and lost to Nogales High 27-8 the previous week. Sierra Vista will keep the ball on the ground as it ran for 880 yards and scored 10 touchdowns before last Friday’s game while a pair of quarterbacks combined for one completion in six attempts for 30 yards and two interceptions. 

Prediction: V.C. 28, Sierra Vista 14

Last week’s predictions: 4-1

Season to date: 19-4