Archive | September, 2012

Spotlight Player: La Habra’s Sean Pedersen

Posted on 28 September 2012 by La Habra Journal

By Nathan Percy
La Habra Journal

Sean Pedersen may be a junior on La Habra’s varsity water polo team, but with one year of varsity experience already under his belt, he’s realizing his time to make a difference.

In last Friday’s 11-7 victory at Canyon High, Sean scored four late goals, assisted two more and collected four steals to help with the victory to even out La Habra’s record at 6-6.

Sean admitted to being a little nervous before the game, given Canyon’s reputation for being a good program, but once he was in the game, it was time to work.

“It took me a bit to focus, I was late getting into the water,” Sean said. “I think because I was late I had to focus more to get into the game. In the first half I got beat up, there were a couple dirty players on that team, but in the fourth quarter, I felt that those guys should pay and that’s when I got a few goals within a minute and got the steals.”

His performances so far this season aren’t necessarily surprising to his coach, David Edwards, who noted that Sean’s experience playing for clubs has helped him at La Habra.

“Sean’s strength is his intensity and his experience,” Edwards said. “He’s been playing club year round since before he was a freshman. He’s got a lot of speed, experience, smarts and a high intensity, so he’s not afraid of anybody.”

Edwards went on to say that another facet in Sean’s game that helps with the team is his ability to anticipate steals, which can lead to counterattacks.

But the big difference for Sean this season is his ability to move around opposing goaltenders to open up more open shots, which has led to more goals at the start.

“I’ve already scored as many goals as I did last year,” Sean said. “I’m starting to get more comfortable going down into the offensive positions, where last year I was trying not to mess up. Last year was an honor being on varsity as a sophomore.”

Outside of water polo, Sean is a big film buff, admitting that when he has free time, he will try to watch a movie that he has never seen before.

Inspired by a drama teacher, Sean co-founded a film club with a classmate, which is advised by Edwards.

“I bug my friends by quoting movies all the time,” Sean said. “We just started the film club, our first meeting is on Tuesday. Our drama teacher got us interested and then we just started brainstorming.”

Along with movies, Sean is also a member of the Boy Scouts and regularly attends outings.

In school, Sean’s favorite subjects are Drama and History and is hoping to maintain a GPA above 3.50 after this semester.

But in the pool, Sean is respected for his abilities according to Edwards and it’s a known fact that when there’s a scrimmage in practice, his skills are highly sought after by everyone.

When it comes to film, Sean looks up to Director Christopher Nolan for his ability to create mind-blowing thrillers and interesting concepts on screen.

But for water polo, his role models are Tony Azevedo and Ryan Bailey from the US Olympic team.

“Tony Azevedo has a strong shot and a strong work ethic,” Sean said. “Ryan Bailey does water polo and has a family and the fact that he is able to balance everything out is amazing.”

Perhaps that balance will motivate Sean as he heads into league play next week, while balancing schoolwork, films and boy scouts throughout the remainder of the regular season.

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Lady Highlanders battle back to beat Raiders

Posted on 28 September 2012 by La Habra Journal

By Nathan Percy
La Habra Journal

The La Habra girls volleyball team dug deep in its Freeway League opener, taking a 3-2 victory over city rival Sonora in come-from-behind fashion.

After the Lady Raiders took two consecutive sets to lead 2-1, La Habra found its motivation, which led to the momentum they needed to come back and win 25-17, 21-25, 21-25, 25-16, 15-6.

“They knew what they had to do and they knew in the fourth match that it was either lose, or step up and play,” said Adrianne Spear, La Habra head coach. “In the fifth set, it was either continue our struggle in fifth sets or step up and we jumped out to a lead and they played with so much emotion in the last two sets.”

La Habra middle blocker Lexi Kolschefski led the Lady Highlanders with 15 kills while Corinne Bell added 12 kills from the left side.

Katarina Marczeski led the Lady Raiders with 24 assists to five different teammates and also had a three tip kills. Andrea Velasco led Sonora with 11 kills.

“It’s a crosstown rivalry, the records don’t matter,” said Andy Johnson, Sonora head coach. “You saw two teams that wanted to win and today La Habra wanted it more than us.”

Fueled by the spirit of the rivalry, both teams traded points early in the first set as the score remained deadlocked at 8-8.

But then the Lady Highlanders took over thanks to the play of Samantha Dominguez and Madeline Martin on the back line.

“Sam came up huge for us in this match with her leadership skills,” Spear said. “Our kids needed that tonight and she really stepped up and proved that she deserved to be team captain.”

Ryana Murch and Bell led the La Habra attack from that point on to the 25-17 set victory.

The Lady Raiders responded in the second set with sharper passing as Marczeski set up Velasco and Nicole Friga for early points.

The improved play had its effect on the Lady Highlanders as they began to commit unforced errors and struggled to hold serve.

“The most important game in a match is Game 2, either you’re up 2-0 or you get back into it,” Johnson said. “We had the momentum up 2-1, but we had the slow start in Game 4 and that hurt us.”

La Habra would keep the set within five points, but couldn’t pull much closer as Sonora evened up the match with a 25-21 set win.

Sonora got the same push midway through the third set as a key 4-0 run gave the Lady Raiders enough breathing room to cruise to another 25-21 set win.

Sarah Hauke was key in the four-point swing with two service aces, while Kylie Rodriguez and Marczeski contributed with tip kills to catch La Habra off-balance.

However, with backs against the wall, La Habra would open up the fourth set on a 5-0 run with the setting of Nicole Mann as three different girls recorded kills to start.

Sonora would come back to tie it at 9-9, but Kolschefski would be instrumental with three kills in another 6-0 run that put the game out of reach for the Lady Raiders.

“We know that our outsides need to keep the ball in play and we struggle with that sometimes,” Spear said. “We need them to keep the ball in play so we can run our middles and get points through them.”

Mann set up both Stevenson and Bell for the set’s final two points as La Habra evened it up with a 25-16 score.

“We beat ourselves, we let La Habra back,” Johnson said. “We gave six points away midway through the set and once we did that, they had all the momentum and we were disappointed. The girls didn’t respond as well as I’d like, but they did show they wanted to fight.”

In the deciding fifth set, it was clear La Habra had the momentum.

On an emotional high from evening up the match, the Lady Highlanders recorded the set’s long run, extending the lead to 11-3 with two kills by Bell and a block by Stevenson.

Stevenson added two more kills and Martin recorded an ace as La Habra earned the victory.

“This is success for us, it might be a small success, but I think it will lead to big things,” Spear said. “I think if we stay together, they didn’t fight on the court and that was a beautiful thing. If we stay together good things will happen.”

La Habra will try to keep up the momentum at Fullerton on Monday, while Sonora faces a tough task at Troy, Monday.

“I told the girls that losing hurts, if it didn’t it wouldn’t matter to you,” Johnson said. “I want them to remember how they’re feeling right now so we make sure we don’t let this happen again.”

For more photos click here

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Heralds spike Lancers

Posted on 28 September 2012 by La Habra Journal

By Nathan Percy
La Habra Journal

Comm- One night removed from its Division 2 Championship in the Dave Mohs Tournament, Whittier Christian’s girls volleyball team handled La Serna, defeating the Lancers 3-0 at home Tuesday night.

The Lady Heralds pulled away from La Serna midway through each set, leading to a 25-11, 25-15, 25-17 final.

“We weren’t able to practice coming in,” Hunter said. “We knew a little about La Serna, but weren’t able to put it into a practice to prepare, so it was good to see them keep the momentum up and get after it.”

Passing was the strength tonight as Nicole Santos and Jennifer Washle consistently fed the ball to the Lady Heralds two main attackers, Kylee Wolfe and Deanna Blaine.

Washle was consistent in each set, tallying 34 assists in the victory while Wolfe led the team with 17 kills and Blaine added 14 in what looked to be the most dominant effort by the duo this season.

“They took advantage tonight and had good swings,” Hunter said. “When they’re efficient we’re a really good team, when everyone is consistent, we’re good, but they had some really good hits tonight.”

In each set, timeouts were called with scores at 14-8, 14-8 and 14-9. Following the timeout, Whittier Christian would go on a run and never look back.

Wolfe and Blaine were balanced throughout the evening, matching each other kill-for-kill through the first two sets.

In the first set, Whittier Christian jumped ahead early as Washle and Wolfe set the tone. However, a 5-1 run by La Serna with kills coming from Samantha Neely and Tammy Doelker, led to a timeout by the Lady Heralds.

Whittier Christian regained serve immediately and Washle made La Serna pay with three service aces en route to a 6-0 run.

The Lady Heralds would finish the set on a 11-3 run.

La Serna showed more fight early on in the second set as the Lady Lancers’ offense began to find rhythm.

Melissa Martinez recorded three early kills as the score remained close until a small run by Whittier Christian forced a La Serna timeout with the score 14-8.

Once again Whittier Christian pulled away with two more service aces by Washle as she held serve for four points and Kelly Papatoff held serve for a 5-0 run.

Blaine and Wolfe helped out with seven and six kills, respectively, in the second set and Whittier Christian took it 25-15.

Papatoff would prove to be a nuisance for the Lady Lancers in the third set as well, holding serve for another 6-0 run as Whittier Christian put the match out of reach.

Once again a La Serna timeout was called with the score 14-9 and for a third set, the Lady Heralds had a powerful response.

Kiana Louie recorded two kills from the middle and Wolfe muscled through six more as Whittier Christian breezed through to a match victory.

“We did a great job serving and keeping pressure on them,” Hunter said. “Our girls did a good job of focusing tonight and not allowing last night’s excitement to effect them.”

The Lady Heralds will have two days to prepare for their league opener Thursday at Maranatha High in Pasadena.

Whittier Christian finishes up its nonleague schedule with a 12-2 record, with both losses coming in tournament play.

“It’s going to be really nice to practice because we’ve had games since last Thursday,” Hunter said. “It will be nice to have time to prepare and focus because league is when things start to get crazy, but I’m excited for that.”

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High school district candidates discuss issues in town hall meeting

Posted on 26 September 2012 by La Habra Journal

By Morgn McLaughin
La Habra Journal

Fullerton Joint Union High School District governing board member candidate, said last Thursday at the FJUHSD candidate forum that was hosted by the North Orange County League of Women Voters.

Nearly 20 people were in attendance for the forum at the District Offices in Fullerton. Najera, and the other four candidates, answered questions about why they should be elected to one of the two seats available on the district’s board coming this next election season.

“None of these members live there as far as I know; my kids go to La Habra High School, I have friends and family in both La Habra and La Habra Heights, I understand the culture,” said James Najera, regarding the perspective of La Habra and its two high schools in the district.

Najera has been a resident of La Habra Heights for 20 years, a substitute teacher in the elementary school district and is currently a Lowell Joint School District (La Habra) Board of Trustee. If elected this November to be a governing board member for the FJUHSD, he would be the first person from the La Habra area to ever sit on the board. When asked what it would mean for the 90631 area if he were elected Najera was absolute, “Representation.”
“I feel our campuses need more of an overhaul and with me they’ll have a voice,” he added.

The evening gave an opportunity for the two incumbents, Bill Dunton and Barbara Kilponen, and the two candidates, Andy Montoya and Najera, to field questions from concerned citizens about class size, student performance, and the governor’s tax proposal that if not passed will cause the school district to cut more from the budget.
Montoya, a teacher at Ladera Vista Junior High in Fullerton, was unable to attend due to an open house he had to be present for.

The statement read for him at the forum let the attendees know that he wants to “bring true 21st Century skills to the district.” In holding alumni forums with past students, he has been able to find out what the students wish had been different in their high school experience.

Dunton is running his campaign on the slogan “to do what’s best for kids.” The long-time music teacher at La Habra High School wants voters to know that his more than 20 years of service on the board provides experience and proves he is capable of addressing the hard issues and that he feels that his sound financial management and his work with incorporating community services is what makes him a good choice in the voting booth.

Kilponen repeatedly emphasized her ability to commit to the “24/7 decision of responsibility” that comes with being a board member for the FJUHSD. “I’m available to attend meetings, serving our community … I can be counted on to do what I say,” she said in her opening statement

Throughout the evening, Najera was specific in mentioning his points of what he would do if elected.

“I see teachers are burdened with unrealistic student expectations,” he said in his opening statement. “I will not vote to raise class size, will responsibly manage finances, encourage the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education curriculum and focus on programs encouraging students for after high school.”

He also made sure to tell the audience about his concern for the performance gap of students when it comes to the state’s Academic Performance Index (API) scores.

La Habra and La Habra Heights has a chance at being represented on the High School District board this November and Najera wants everyone to know that “there is a better way to manage our taxpayers’ entrusted resources other than spending more than we are given, laying off teachers, increasing class sizes and reducing our students’ school year.”

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LH’s new well pumps water, brings savings

Posted on 26 September 2012 by La Habra Journal

By Jay Seidel
La Habra Journal

The city of La Habra opened the valves to a new well at La Bonita Park Monday Sept 17, marking the second well in the city and helping save on water costs.

The new well will help to provide nearly 70 percent of the city’s water supply. With the new well providing that much water, the city will not have to purchase water from the Metropolitan Water District, the city can save up to $850,000 annually.

“The residents will really benefit from this well opening,” said Thom Coughran, director of public works for the city of La Habra.

Construction of the well, which pumps water at 8,000 gallons per minute, started last August, and the project was finally completed on August 20 of this year.

The well is pulling ground water from a depth of 1,000 feet. Engineers tested the ground water at 1200 feet but moved back to 1,000 feet to ensure quality.

Construction has already begun on the development of the city’s third well at Portola Park. According to Coughran, this well will further allow the city to decrease its dependency on expensive outside water sources.

Coughran estimated with the three well operations, the annual savings for the city will be around $1.5 million.
The third well is scheduled to be up and running around the end of the year.

The city has also been developing other measures to help increase savings on water expenses.

The replacement of many of the city’s water mains is nearly complete. Some of the mains were more than 65 years old.
Also, landscaping many areas of the city have been replaced with drought-tolerant plants.

“It’s a great thing for consumers, Coughran said.

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Heights council seeks applicants

Posted on 26 September 2012 by La Habra Journal

By Jay Seidel
La Habra Journal

The La Habra Heights City Council will meet tonight in a special meeting in order to formulate the process needed to fill the upcoming vacancy on the council made by Howard Vipperman’s

The council will accept applications to fill the vacancy and then appoint a council member based on the applicants. That person will then serve out the term until the elections in March.

“We need to meet in order to discuss and determine the process,” said Stan Carroll, La Habra Heights Mayor. Carroll said that he will not seek another term when his ends in March.

However, the council’s immediate need is to fill the vacancy. Vipperman said that his resignation would be effective at the end of the October 11 meeting, giving the council time to determine the process and secure a suitable replacement.

The council will establish the timeframe for the application process.

The hope by the council members is to have the applications submitted and interviews completed by the October 11 meeting. The appointment of the new council member could be as soon as November 8.
Vipperman’s seat would only be vacant for 30 days in that scenario.

Vipperman announced that he was stepping down from the council at September 13 meeting.

He explained that he and his wife are unable to live in their home after the suicide of his stepson in the home. Jeremy Schiro, 33, was found dead in the pool house on Sept 6., and will be moving to a nearby city.

“We are disspointed Howard is leaving the council but we understand why his is doing it,” Carroll said. “We wish him the best.”

Vipperman has been on the council since 2007.

Carroll cited that his decision not to run was based on the fact that he wants to spend more time with his wife and enjoy retirement.

Carroll has served on the council since 2000.

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Athlete of the Week: Sonora’s Uche Anusiem leads on and off the field

Posted on 17 September 2012 by La Habra Journal

By Nathan Percy
La Habra Journal

With an injury forcing out Sonora’s leading tackler Salvador Chavez, senior cornerback Uche Anusiem had a big role to fill this past Friday in his team’s 34-20 loss to Canyon.

Before Friday’s game, Uche was second on the team in total tackles through two games. After recording 14 solo tackles and 17 overall against the Comanches, Chavez and the rest of the defense will have to work extremely hard if they plan to catch up anytime soon.

“We were facing a tough rushing attack and he was called on to make tackles and did a great job,” said Paul Chiotti, Raiders head coach. “The interception he made was huge and he also had a brilliant kickoff return. He did a tremendous job in stepping up and I think it showed his talent and ability.”

Both the fourth-quarter interception and the 50-yard kickoff return led to Sonora touchdowns. He also deflected a pass at the goal line that took away a Canyon touchdown.

Uche credits mental preparation before the game as a big key in his success so far this season.

“It starts with reading the playbook,” Uche said. “Once you get into the game it’s reading the keys and if the play breaks down, fight the block and make the tackle or if the ball is in the air, go and attack it…. Anything that helps a win, we’re just trying to get the offense the ball,”

Uche started his varsity days midway through his sophomore year, the same year Sonora made it to the CIF-SS Southwest Division semifinals. He recalls the run as a special experience and strives to help this year’s team reach that same experience.

A big component to that year’s team was another senior cornerback, Michael Servantes, whom Uche looked up to, and said that he had a big impact on his game and how he prepared when it came time to start.

In addition, LSU’s Tyrann Mathieu has been an influence on the way Uche approaches the game.

“He [Mathieu] played with tenacity and was always around the ball, when he was dismissed it was a downfall for me,” Uche said. “Michael was a three-year letterman and the coaches still talk about him. When he was here, I wanted to be like him.”
In addition to his efforts on the field, Uche puts in a solid effort in the classroom, maintaining a 3.05 GPA. His favorite subject is government.

It’s been the combination of these efforts that have drawn interest from Sacramento State University and Occidental College, with the possibility that more offers could be on the way.

But for now, Uche is focused on helping the team win on the field, but his tenacity doesn’t just turn on and off on Fridays.
However, when he has some free time, Uche prefers to hang out with his friends and teammates and play video games.

“He’s definitely loved by his teammates, he gets along with everyone,” Chiotti said. “The thing about him is that he always wants to go up against the best, he doesn’t just show up on Fridays, he wants to hit everyday in practice and challenge our best receivers. Those are the things he’s done daily, he works hard, he’s definitely talented and it shows.”

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Fumbles, flat second-half play doom Raiders

Posted on 15 September 2012 by La Habra Journal

By Nathan Percy
La Habra Journal

After a back-and-forth first half that left the Sonora football team with a minimal deficit, the Raiders fumbled the victory away in the second half, falling to Canyon 34-20 at home Friday night.

Sonora came up with critical responses to the Comanches’ two touchdowns in the first half, but after the break, three fumbles on the receiving end of two kickoffs and a punt allowed Canyon to dominate the time of possession.

“You can’t turn the ball over and win high school games and that’s what we need to get better at,” said Paul Chiotti, Sonora head coach. “In two of our three games, it’s really cost us.”

Running back Matt Villasenor scored all three Raiders touchdowns and gained 142 yards on 14 carries.

However, Villasenor was outdone by the duo of Troy Kurtz and Rob MallenWest on the opposite side. Kurtz rushed for 183 yards on 29 carries with two touchdowns and MallenWest added 19 carries and 143 yards as the Comanches ate up yards and valuable clock time.

“The offensive line was fantastic tonight,” said Brent McKee, Canyon head coach. “They had to be, they play both sides of the ball. It was a battle of attrition with the heat and they stepped up. Our guys just kept finding holes.”

Because of the fumbles, Sonora only had two possessions in the second half.

“Tonight, we just didn’t make plays when we needed to, Canyon got physical on us,” Chiotti said. “We couldn’t tackle and move them backwards, we just didn’t come up with the play when we needed it, but I’m proud of the kids for trying to fight through all of it.”

After a three-and-out by Sonora, the Comanches put together a long drive that took over six minutes to complete. Kurtz paced the Comanches before quarterback Corey Elsasser scored on a two-yard keeper.

The Raiders came back with a 81-yard drive of their own featuring some big gains by Villasenor, who totaled 69 yards rushing on the drive, including a 10-yard touchdown run to finish it off.

Kurtz would add a five-yard touchdown run capping the ensuing 82-yard drive for Canyon, but Villasenor added a two-yard touchdown on Sonora’s next possession. However, a blocked extra point by Nathan Arellano would leave the Raiders a 14-13 deficit.

Marshel Gleason hit a 30-yard field goal for Canyon, which took a 17-13 lead into the half.

“I was proud of the way our offense fared in the first half, the problem was, we couldn’t get them the ball enough,” Chiotti said. “I was proud of the way we moved the ball in the first half, Matt [Villasenor] ran the ball very well tonight, he’s a special kid.”

However, in the second half, the Comanches would literally keep the ball away from Sonora thanks to the special teams miscues. The Raiders also fumbled the ball away on an exchange from quarterback Kyle Mahlstede to running back Brandon Rios.

On the other side, cornerback Uche Anusiem came up with an interception on a trick play and Edgar Mendez recovered a Canyon fumble.

But that’s about all that would go the way of the Raiders in the second half. Canyon held the ball for the first 8:27 of the half on two possessions after Sonora muffed a kickoff.

“Special teams was definitely the difference tonight,” McKee said. “I’m proud of our kids, we came in thin due to injuries, but the guys we had got it done, it’s the best I’ve seen them this season.”

In those two possessions, Canyon scored 10 points on a 10-yard run by Kurtz and a 26-yard field goal by Gleason.

Sonora would cash in on Anusiem’s interception with a five-yard touchdown run by Villasenor.

Anusiem also assisted in an earlier scoring drive with a 50-yard kickoff return.

Canyon capped the scoring when fullback Zach Williams recovered a MallenWest fumble in the end zone with just over a minute remaining.

“We were very happy with the second half because we were having trouble stopping them early,” McKee said. “Special teams kept giving us the ball and we just took it.”

The Raiders were on the receiving end of a high number of penalty flags, including three penalties of 10 or more yards against the offense on the same drive. Sonora would still score a touchdown on the drive.

Sonora moves on to play Rancho Alamitos on the road next Thursday.

“When it comes down to it, you have to try to control things that you can control,” Chiotti said. “Tonight we just couldn’t make the plays we needed.”

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Lady Heralds fend of early Raider attack, remain undefeated

Posted on 13 September 2012 by La Habra Journal

By Nathan Percy
La Habra Journal

The Whittier Christian girls volleyball team continued to make one thing clear in it’s 3-0 victory over Sonora at Sonora High: If you’re going to beat the Lady Heralds, it has to be done early.

The Raiders (5-4) nearly handed Whittier Christian it’s first lost set of the season, but it slipped away in the form of a four-point swing that gave the Lady Heralds a 26-24 set victory.

Whittier Christian would dominate the final two sets to win by a score of 26-24, 25-13, 25-15.

“I feel there was a bit of a letdown,” said Andy Johnson, Sonora head coach. “We gave ourselves an opportunity to win and there was a disappointment in the second set when we didn’t win the first.”

After trading the first few points, Sonora started to roll thanks to the on-court leadership of senior setter and outside hitter Katarina Marczeski.

The captain was able to set up her teammates en route to claiming an early 13-6 lead.

While Sonora started off hot, the Lady Heralds did the opposite and battled through errors as the Raiders continued to lead late into the set.

But Whittier Christian would not go down easy and once again the combination of setter Jennifer Washle and outside hitters Kylee Wolfe and Deanna Blaine came through down the stretch.

“We came out a little slow and Sonora came out hot,” said Shawn Hunter, Whittier Christian head coach. “We were lucky to come away with the win. I like that we were fighting and learning how to get out of those games.”

Sonora had game point at 24-22, but Whittier Christian killed the possibility of losing the first set by scoring four unanswered points.

Shaken by the first set letdown, Sonora couldn’t come up with a response in the second and third sets.

The Lady Heralds regained their form quickly in the second set and dominated early, building a double digit lead at 15-5 en route to a 25-13 set victory.

In the third set, the teams traded early on, but Whittier Christian again put together long runs midway through the set as Washle connected with five different teammates on attacks.

“Sonora played great defense against us,” Hunter said. “We felt we could make adjustments to put pressure on them to continue to make great digs and we found a way to run our offense a little cleaner and play great defense behind it.”

Washle finished with 35 assists in three sets. Blaine led the Lady Heralds with 12 kills, with Wolfe right behind at 11 kills.

Nicole Santos led the team with 20 digs.

For Sonora, Marczeski totaled seven assists and four kills, while Kendall Rubeshaw added four kills.

However, it was the back line that was impressive for Sonora early in the first set, as the combination of Rubeshaw, Andrea Valasco, Brooke Conlin and Julia Thometz thwarted multiple attacks by Whittier Christian.

“The best thing about Katarina is how positive she is on the court, I wish I had six other players like her, she leads by example,” Johnson said. “We played without one of our captains and had a sub step in and play great, give credit to Whittier Christian though, they had great hitters and made our job tough.”

Johnson said that win or lose, this match was a great test for Sonora and a great way to prepare for Freeway League teams like Troy and Fullerton.

“Beating a team like this takes something special,” Johnson said. “What I want to see is consinstency, our emotions were a little to high and then they dipped low and what I want for us is to be consistent. We went toe-to-toe with them in Game 1 and they’re ranked at the top of our division, so what does that say about where we’re going? I feel our program is taking the proper steps.”

For both schools, it was a match against a division opponent within a small area, a trait that benefited Whittier Christian given it’s travel for league matches.

“This gives us a glimpse of the kind of competition that we are going to see during the season,” Hunter said. “Plus it’s close, the girls know each other so it ends up being great competition.”

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Heights improves clearing efforts

Posted on 13 September 2012 by La Habra Journal

By Yvonne Lanot
La Habra Journal

Earthquakes and fires. Two things that southern California is known for in natural disasters.

With temperatures still hitting the high 90s, brush fires are a big risk in many cities, including the city of La Habra Heights. With fires able to start in an instant, it is no wonder that the city has made an effort to keep it safe from a wild fire.

The La Habra Heights Fire Department ensures that residents are in compliance with the Weed Abatement Program for the city. The reason for this program is to ensure the safety of the citizens and to prevent fires from happening due to large vegetation growth and the accumulation of debris.

According to the city’s website, “the Weed Abatement Program is a year-round effort to keep the City of La Habra Heights fire safe.”

“The big part [of the program] is keeping [residents] property weed free and free from dead material,” said Doug Graft, La Habra Heights fire chief.

In the past, the program only had small portions of residents’ land to meet the city’s standards, but within the past few years and more than 2200 parcels later, the city requires 100 percent of the property to be free of any dead material.

While most citizens have already had their properties checked since May, there are still some parts of the city that the fire department still have to check.

“We’re almost done with the initial inspections, and then we’re doing a number of re-inspections,” Graft said. “As I said, it’s a year-round responsibility, so as we drive around we look for fire hazards or sometimes people will ask us to look at parcels if they come across anything fire hazardous.”

The process of this program is once a resident gets a door hanger notice, they have 21 days to get their properties cleaned up and re-inspected for approval by the fire department.

And do not think that the city of La Habra Heights takes this program lightly, for if a resident does not comply with the clean up, citizens may be subject to a minimum $300 citation and a city contractor will be sent to their property for cleaning up and the owner must pay the contractor and administration fees for not taking action after getting their notice, according to Graft.

And with this heat, there have been a small number of fires that have occurred in the City of La Habra Heights that have been caused by dead weeds and materials. Graft believes that this program is the best way to help make sure the city is safe from fires.

“A thing that we can do [for the city] to take our chances, is to remove the fuel,” Graft said. “We can’t take some of the other things away that can cause a fire, but we can take the fuel away and that’s the goal of the program.”

In the end Graft stresses the importance of this program, “Although it starts May 1st, it’s a year-round responsibility.”
For more information on this program, contact the weed abatement division by e-mail or phone, which can be found on the city of La Habra Height’s website.

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