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Fryer: Esperanza volleyball full of confidence after Mohs success

STAFF COLUMNIST

Early-season tournament success does not mean much, unless that success is in a big tournament.

The Dave Mohs Tournament is that big tournament in girls volleyball.

Mater Dei won the Division 1 championship of the Mohs with a 25-19, 27-25 win over San Juan Hills in the final Monday at Edison where the late Dave Mohs was a heck of a volleyball and basketball coach. Esperanza won the Mohs’ Division 2 title, defeating Long Beach Wilson in three games, 25-14, 12-25, 15-7.

Esperanza is No. 9 in the Register’s Orange County top 10, but it is not ranked in CIF-Southern Section Division 2.

But winning at the Mohs did a lot for the Aztecs’ confidence.

“That got us motivated,” said senior outside hitter Gina Lipscomb, who was the tournament’s Division 2 MVP. “We now know what we’re capable of doing.”

Lipscomb is among five returning starters for Esperanza, which last year won the North Hills League championship and advanced to the quarterfinals in the CIF-SS Division 2AA playoffs under Coach Isaac Owens.

“We’ve had some success with this group,” said Owens, who started coaching the Aztecs girls team in 2003 and has been the school’s boys volleyball coach since 2001. “They know what it takes to win. Their attitude has been pretty good, but that’s a process there.”

It is a well-rounded team, skill-wise. The front row players hit and block consistently, and the back row players execute their digs and pass with accuracy.

“We serve-receive-pass well,” Lipscomb said. “Our defense is good, too. We get touches on the block.”

Joining Lipscomb on the all-tournament team was Esperanza junior Jessica Streuer. Other top contributors for the Aztecs are juniors Brooke Beresford and Avery Stowell.

Esperanza is in the North Hills League, which is one of two leagues within the Century Conference of eight schools that are pretty much in the northeast part of Orange County. The better teams are in the conference’s Crestview League or its North Hills League. League membership varies from sport to sport – Yorba Linda is in the Crestivew League for football but is in the North Hills League for girls volleyball.

Yorba Linda is Esperanza’s chief league rival in girls volleyball. Lipscomb said El Dorado, ranked No. 5 in CIF-SS Division 2 and a Crestview team, is the Aztecs’ big rival regardless of league affiliation.

Esperanza plays Yorba Linda in a league match Oct. 6 at Esperanza. The Aztecs get El Dorado in a home match Oct. 13. If they win both, maybe they will consider their Mohs success as the foundation.

“Now,” Lipscomb said, “we know we can do it.”

Taking a look around Orange County high school sports:

• The Mohs Invitational Division 1 all-tournament team: Shannon Scully (MVP), Mater Dei; Kelsey Campeau, Mater Dei; Katie Lukes, San Juan Hills; Madi Mercer, San Juan Hills; Penina Tusa, Long Beach Poly; Kalyah Williams, Long Beach Poly; Dani Dennison, Edison; Lindsey Sparks, Edison.

• The Mohs Division 2 all-tournament team: Lipscomb (MVP), Esperanza; Streuer, Esperanza; Audrey Martin, Long Beach Wilson; Presley Parker, LB Wilson; Gigi Ruddins, Aliso Niguel; Michelle Feliciano, Aliso Niguel; Kayla Fisher, Yucaipa; Matalie Hadder, Yucaipa.

• San Juan Hills’ girls volleyball team was not on the preseason “watch list” of top teams in CIF-SS Division 1. The Stallions’ advancement to the Mohs Division 1 final has them at No. 2 in CIF-SS Division 1 this week.

• Capistrano Valley water polo coach Steve Yancey got his 500th career win last week. He also coaches swimming and previously coached at San Clemente. Yancey has multiple Orange County coach of the year awards.

• Sage Hill’s girls tennis team, moved up to CIF-SS Division 1 this year after being in Division 2 last year, has wins over Laguna Beach, Mater Dei and Santa Margarita. The school is host of the Prep Classic this weekend.

• Aliso Niguel celebrates the 20th anniversary of its 1996 CIF-SS championship football team at its Sept. 23 home game against Pacifica. Ex-players who want to be part of it should contact Athletic Director Andrew Mashburn at 949-831-5590, extension 644.

• In Mater Dei’s 48-0 football win over La Mirada last week, the Monarchs scored six touchdowns on seven trips to the red zone. La Mirada did not get into the red zone.

• It is fun when varsity cheerleaders have elementary school-aged kids take part in the cheers and halftime shows. This is the last school year that will happen. Next year, competitive cheer becomes a CIF sport statewide and having the little kids cheering with the high school cheerleaders will be a violation of CIF rules on undue influence, i.e. recruiting.

• When seven-person officiating crews for high school football began a couple of years ago, it was pretty much just some Trinity League teams employing the seven-person groups. This year, seven-man crews are more widespread. Today’s Garden Grove-Pacifica nonleague game will have a seven-person crew.

• Last week’s nonleague football game between St. Paul of Santa Fe Springs and Notre Dame of Riverside was stopped in the third quarter because of fight involving many players. Both teams had to forfeit their games this week because they had so many players facing suspension they wouldn’t have enough players to field a team. It sure looked like Notre Dame was not nearly as involved in the fighting as St. Paul.

• Westminster still has an opening for a varsity baseball coach. The Lions have a fine baseball tradition. Ryan Klesko, who played in the majors for 13 seasons, went to Westminster, as did pitching brothers Tyler and Greg Mahle. (Tyler is in the Reds system; Greg is in the Angels’ system and got his first MLB win this season.)

• Basketball officials are needed for the upcoming season. It’s a great way for ex-players to stay in the game, get in some exercise, too, and make some extra money. A sign-up meeting is Monday at 7 p.m. at Cerro Villa Middle School in Villa Park; contact Joe Kozak at 714-746-0922 or j.j.kozy1@att.net for information.

Contact the writer: sfryer@scng.com


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