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Oaks Christian is going for its second straight Marmonte League title this season and this time, it’s not enough to be undefeated. The team is striving to win every set in league play.
It inched closer to that goal with a sweep of Thousand Oaks on Tuesday night. The Lions (20-3, 6-0 Marmonte League) are closing in on perfection with four league games left against Newbury Park, Agoura, Calabasas and Westlake.
“This group is the most self-motivated and hard-working,” coach Julie Bennett said after Tuesday’s sweep. “Something we talked about once we had gone through some of our league matches was like, why not just dominate?”
Depth has been a major component in keeping zero’s on the scoresheet. There’s just two seniors on this year’s team, but Bennett has seen players of all ages compete hard for a spot in the lineup during practices and games.
The Lions’ only struggle against Thousand Oaks (13-10, 3-3) was its serve-receive: They gave up six aces in the second set. Otherwise, the back line was steady and communicated well and having the depth for interchangeable parts helped, as well.
“We have really strong serving and the back row is like, dime, dime, dime,” outside hitter Manaia Ogbechie said. “Our back row defense is so good.”
Nicole Zake had 15 digs against Thousand Oaks and added 16 kills on offense. Ogbechie chipped in 12 kills and three aces while Maggie Rhew set both of them and finished the night with 32 assists. As a team, Oaks Christian hit .327.
Zake, a senior, and Ogbechie, a sophomore, have friendship off the court that translates to chemistry on the court.
“We give reminders to each other,” Zake said. “So when we’re at the net, then we can just execute and know what each other is doing so we can work better together.”
Oaks Christian next plays Newbury Park at home at 6:30 p.m.
Chaminade wins tournament
Chaminade (28-2, 3-1 Angeles League) won the gold division of the 13th annual Crescenta Valley Varsity Falcon Classic, a two-day tournament that ran from Sept. 23 to Sept. 24, with other area teams finishing close behind them.
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Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy (14-13, 3-1 Angeles League) and Village Christian (9-3, 3-0 Olympic League) tied for third place in the 18-team tournament and Thousand Oaks and El Camino Real (16-8, 5-0 West Valley League) tied for fifth place alongside Mayfield and Venice.
Chaminade beat Thousand Oaks and Village Christian to advance to the championship game, in which it beat South Pasadena. FSHA lost to South Pasadena and Village Christian lost to Chaminade in the semifinals.