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Fall notes: Final week full of drama for O.C. teams
This is the final week of the regular season in girls volleyball, and there is still a lot to be settled.
The Orange League is one of the leagues where first place is still up for grabs. Century begins the week 8-1. Katella and Savanna are both 7-2. Century hosts Savanna and Katella visits Anaheim.
In the Sea View League, Aliso Niguel will look to clinch the outright league title on Thursday night, when it plays Trabuco Hills.
Beckman and Woodbridge begin the week tied for second in the Pacific Coast League following the Patriots’ sweep last week. Tonight, Beckman faces Northwood and Woodbridge faces University.
Santa Margarita could clinch the outright Trinity League title with a victory over Orange Lutheran. However, if the Lancers win and JSerra defeats Rosary, then they would both be 4-4, forcing a playoff match to decide who gets the league’s third guaranteed playoff berth. If the Lancers lose to Santa Margarita, look for them to enter the playoffs as an at-large team.
The CIF-SS playoff pairings will be released Friday afternoon.
— DAMIAN CALHOUN
Two cross country programs made major statements while sweeping their league championships last week.
Valencia’s boys took home the Empire League title for the second straight year by defeating Tustin, 15-88, on Wednesday at Craig Park in Fullerton.
Jesus Moreno won the race in 15:12 as the Tigers pushed across the first six runners in a dominating performance. David Pacheco, Ethan Frisone, Timo Dohm and Cayden Ruiz filled out the scoring quintet for Valencia.
Yasmin Lopez, Kiara Ramos and Poornima Somaiah had top-10 finishes to deliver Valencia’s girls to their first Empire League crown. The Tigers, who topped Pacifica, 34-52, last won a league championship in 1991 when they were part of the Orange League.
Kennedy’s Katherine Tech was the individual winner in 18:17.
In the Academy League Finals at Irvine Regional Park, Crean Lutheran’s girls team set a school record while winning their fourth consecutive league title. Mandy Reyes (18:45) ran the fifth fastest time in league history to lead the Saints.
Sophomore Craig Odenwald ran a 16:09 to lead Crean Lutheran’s boys past St. Margaret’s, 48-60. He became the first Saints runner to win the boys individual crown. Odenwald edged Oxford Academy’s Albert Nguyen by three seconds.
Huntington Beach’s boys defended their Sunset League title, finishing ahead of Newport Harbor, 37-60, while Edison edged Los Alamitos, 54-55, in the girls meet.
Newport Harbor’s Ben Wilson (15:12) and Huntington Beach’s Cassie Durgy (18:00) conquered the Central Park course for the Sunset League individual championships.
- ANDREW TURNER, Contributing writer
The chase for playoff berths takes center stage this week as league play in boys water polo concludes with a flurry.
The Freeway (Division 4) and Golden West (Division 6) leagues will end their seasons by playing their first carousel or league tournaments to determine final playoff entries.
Like last season, no at-large entries are expected in boys water polo so the matches for first and third place will be critical.
The Freeway League will play its championship and third-place matches Thursday at Sonora at 5:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. …
Capistrano Valley senior Austin Sechrest committed to Harvard, Cougars coach Steve Yancey announced. …
Corona del Mar fell to sixth from fourth in the Division 1 rankings after losing to Orange Lutheran in the third-place match at the Memorial Cup over the weekend. The Sea Kings played the game without center defender Ben Brooks, who served a one-game tournament suspension.
Corona del Mar plays at top-ranked Mater Dei on Thursday at 4 p.m.
- DAN ALBANO