Parity adds to the drama in West Valley League girls volleyball race

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There’s parity in the West Valley League this girls volleyball season. After four league games, it’s difficult to predict which team will win the league title.

“I see a lot of parity in this year’s league, so it’s just a matter of playing consistent,” Granada Hills coach Tom Harp said. “And since we already lost, we’re going to need some help from other people, too. I’ll be surprised if anyone can go undefeated in our league.”

El Camino Real (9-6 overall, 3-0 league) currently sits in first place. Taft looked strong at the start of the season with a senior-heavy roster, but Granada Hills (13-6, 2-1) swept the Toreadors after taking El Camino Real to five sets in the match prior.

Against Taft, Jessica Eldridge led the Highlanders with 10 kills and four blocks. Hannah Einstein was close behind with nine kills. Mason Kelley had 22 assists.

“I’ve got five starters back so that’s a good, basic foundation when you have that experience,” Harp said. “We have a setter back, a couple of middles and an outside all returning with experience. So that gives us a little bit of a head start going into the season.”

The Highlanders return two All-City Section players in Bernstein and Kelley. Eldridge, Valeria Bellados-Lazo and Grace Pickard are experienced returners.

Freshman Alexis Cuan is starting at opposite and sophomore Veronica Bellodas-Lazo starts at libero.

“They come to practice every day willing to learn and try to get better and that’s important,” Harp said. “As a coach, that’s what you’re looking for.”

One unbeaten team left in Mission League

Sierra Canyon swept Alemany on Tuesday night, 26-24, 25-17, 25-14, to preserve its unbeaten Mission League record. It’s the Trailblazers’ first season in the league.

Olivia Babcock led Sierra Canyon (23-3 overall, 2-1 league) with 20 kills, three blocks and six digs. Jaida Sione logged 11 kills and two aces and libero Lauren Lynch had 14 digs. Setter Sade Ilawole had 43 assists and two aces.

For Alemany (14-3, 2-1), Havyn Rolle tallied nine kills and two blocks. London Wijay had five kills and nine digs and Makaila Atkins had 13 digs.

Area teams compete in big-time tournament

A few area teams earned top-five finishes in the Durango Fall Classic, which was held last weekend in Las Vegas. The tournament has a reputation as one of the most difficult in the country.

Sierra Canyon placed fifth in the Championship Division bracket, falling to ‘Iolani before beating Punahou and Assumption.

Alemany earned fifth in the Bronze Division by beating Coronado, while Harvard-Westlake was third in the Competition Division after sweeping La Costa Canyon in a best-of-three match.

Oaks Christian’s fast start

Oaks Christian has jumped out to a 4-0 start in the Marmonte League, having defeated Thousand Oaks, Newbury Park, Agoura and Calabasas.

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In the Lions’ win Tuesday over Calabasas, Nicole Zake had 18 kills and hit .519. Maggie Rhew added five aces and 22 assists.

Oaks Christian, which reached the CIF Southern Section Division 4 championship game last season, plays Westlake on Thursday.


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