Archive | October, 2013

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Lady Raiders even the score with sweep of La Habra

Posted on 31 October 2013 by La Habra Journal

The Sonora girls volleyball team celebrates after completing a sweep against La Habra, Thursday night at La Habra High.

The Sonora girls volleyball team celebrates after completing a sweep against La Habra, Thursday night at La Habra High.

by Nathan Percy
La Habra Journal

Behind one of its better performances of the season, the Sonora girls’ volleyball team’s 3-0 sweep of La Habra effected the Freeway League standings in two ways.

First, and most importantly for the Lady Raiders, the win kept Sonora’s playoff hopes alive. At the same time, the loss may have killed La Habra’s chances of finishing as the Freeway League’s runner-up.

Sonora overcame a six-point deficit in the first game and held off La Habra in the second and third game to earn the sweep 26-24, 25-22, 25-19.

“I’m very proud of the girls, they found a way to win,” said Andy Johnson, Sonora head coach. “We really cleaned up our serve-receive and I think it was our best blocking match of the season, we were getting hands on attacks that we weren’t getting to before and that made it easy for our back row. It was a joy to watch.”

Kendall Rubeshaw led the Lady Raiders with 14 kills, Emily Sonny added 10 kills and Nicole Fraga finished with nine. Janiece Tolmasoff tallied 30 assists.

However, the turning point came early. Korina Pilkington’s passing helped La Habra take an early 11-4 lead.

La Habra held the lead at 17-11, but hitting errors allowed the Lady Raiders back in. Sonora tied the match at 21-21 on a tip by Lauren Magdaleno.

At 24-24, a Lady Highlanders attack sailed long and on the ensuing serve, Rubeshaw’s kill gave Sonora a come-from-behind set win.

“We just wanted the girls to remember what’s at stake and we wanted them to play for each other,” Johnson said. “If we could just chip away a little at a time, all of a sudden, it’s a tie game. Winning that game carried over and our outside hitters stepped up from there. We wanted to break the game down into little pieces and it helped, La Habra’s a good team.”

Sonny made her presence felt in the second set, mostly on the front line, getting her hand on multiple La Habra attacks. She finished the set with two blocks for points and three kills.

Sonora's Nicole Fraga launches an attack while La Habra's Marina Pilkington and Lexi Kolschefski attempt to block in Sonora's 3-0 win, Thursday night.

Sonora’s Nicole Fraga launches an attack while La Habra’s Marina Pilkington and Lexi Kolschefski attempt to block in Sonora’s 3-0 win, Thursday night.

Though La Habra stayed in the set, scoring a 5-0 run to tie at 16-16, the Lady Highlanders couldn’t grab the lead as Sonora’s offense began to click.

Rubeshaw added two late kills to ice the set for Sonora.

“Maybe I should have kept the seniors in, maybe they wanted to win, but I made changes because we started making mistakes that we couldn’t afford to be making,” said Adrianne Spear, La Habra head coach. “But we kept making those same mistakes, they never fixed their errors and that’s been our downfall before.”

Down 2-0, La Habra started fairly quickly in the third set, but Sonora not only corralled it back in, the Lady Raiders ran past La Habra with a 7-1 run.

A 5-0 run with two big kills from Fraga put the match out of reach at 22-15. Sonora cruised to the sweep from there.

“They came to play and we didn’t, they outplayed us because we didn’t have the desire to win,” Spear said. “Clearly we’re distracted and I don’t think all of them realized what was at stake. It’s a tough lesson learned.”

Ryana Murch led La Habra with 11 kills, Lexi Kolschefski added 10 kills and Corinne Bell finished with seven kills for the Lady Highlanders.

La Habra's Casey Lunceford chases after a loose ball during the second set in a 3-0 loss to Sonora, Thursday night.

La Habra’s Casey Lunceford chases after a loose ball during the second set in a 3-0 loss to Sonora, Thursday night.

Pilkington finished with 10 assists in the first set, while Ashly Hernandez tallied 19 assists in the second and third sets.

The win puts Sonora (8-15, 4-5) one game behind La Habra for third place in the Freeway League. The Lady Raiders finish the season with a crucial match against Sunny Hills at home, Tuesday night.

“We took Sunny Hills last time, hopefully we can do it again,” Johnson said. “With the way the girls played tonight, we just have to keep it up. It’s nice to see a group that’s sophomore-dominant going through this, it’s going to be exciting for us the next couple seasons.”

La Habra (9-15, 5-4) which has now dropped consecutive games, falls a game behind Fullerton for third place. The Lady Highlanders travel to Buena Park to close out the regular season, Tuesday night.

“[Buena Park] has some players that can play and if we don’t play to the best of our abilities, they can take a game or a match,” Spear said. “I’m not discounting them at all. It’s a matter of our mental focus, it wasn’t there tonight and we’re back to the drawing board.”

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Troy’s pressing defense overpowers La Habra

Posted on 31 October 2013 by La Habra Journal

Grant Harris (pictured against Sonora earlier this season) scored one of La Habra's two goals to put La Habra up 1-0 in the first quarter.

Grant Harris (pictured against Sonora earlier this season) scored one of La Habra’s two goals to put La Habra up 1-0 in the first quarter.

by Nathan Percy
La Habra Journal

Hoping to repeat the same magic it created over two weeks ago, the La Habra water polo team couldn’t contain an aggressive Troy defense and counterattack, falling 11-2 in a crucial Freeway League contest, Thursday afternoon at Troy High.

In the first meeting between the two teams, the Highlanders ended a Warriors Freeway League winning streak that dated back to before the 2007 season with a 14-12 win.

Down 2-1 at the half, the Highlanders (12-13, 4-4) were in good position to try for a sweep of the Warriors.

Troy (12-10, 7-1) had other ideas.

“I think they played the better game today, they definitely played us better than two weeks ago,” said David Edwards, La Habra head coach. “I thought the calls were a little one-sided, calls that went for them on one side of the pool, I felt weren’t getting called on the other side, but even if we did get those few exclusions, I still think they would have won.”

Pressing the outside shooters, the Warriors caused a handful of turnovers, which led to counterattack possibilities.

The result was a 5-1 advantage for Troy in the third quarter, which carried over into the fourth quarter.

Because of the press, La Habra struggled to maintain possession. Any attempts to get the ball inside were immediately taken away.

“Last time, they thought we would attack down low, so we lit them up from the outside and had plenty of time to shoot,” Edwards said. “This time, they pressed us like crazy and we couldn’t do anything.”

Troy’s Trent Samaha was a big factor on both sides, effectively taking Sean Pedersen out of the mix with his two-meter defense.

On offense, Samaha was either outside dictating the offense, or driving inside to score. He led all scorers with five goals.

“He was able to drive effectively and when he gets down low at center-cage in a catch-and-shoot, there’s no stopping him,” Edwards said of Samaha. “It was nice having Sean back in the pool, but Trent played him very physically and he couldn’t get in set, so I’m hoping he stays positive.”

However, the first half was all about defense. Grant Harris put La Habra up just over a minute into the contest with a long range shot that found the top left corner of the cage.

Troy responded with scores from Johnathan Shim and Samaha.

The two teams went scoreless in the second quarter, with the shot advantage swinging heavily in Troy’s favor. La Habra goalkeeper Corey Edwards was up to the task, with five saves in the second quarter alone.

“Corey’s been having some great games and he was a huge reason we kept it close in the first half,” Edwards said. “We made some mistakes defensively and he was able to cover for that, but as soon as Troy recognized where their openings were and stopped forcing the ball inside, it made it more difficult for Corey to read it.”

Adjustments aided the Warriors in the second half. After Pedersen scored to make the score 3-2, Troy controlled the remaining quarter-and-a-half by pressing the Highlanders outside.

Six different Warriors scored one goal each, while Adrian Barragan and Tommy Georgopoulos assisted three goals each.

Edwards blocked 10 shots on goal in the first half and had 13 saves overall.

The Highlanders will host city rival Sonora, Tuesday at 3:15 p.m.

“We have a big week coming up, if we want to end above .500 then we have to win the next two games,” Edwards said. “There’s no point in crying over the past.”

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Lady Heralds clinch Olympic League crown with sweep of Valley Christian

Posted on 30 October 2013 by La Habra Journal

Nicole Santos (shown serving against Heritage Christian) tallied three service aces and led the team with 10 digs as the Lady Heralds defeated Valley Christian, 3-0, to earn their sixth consecutive league title.

Nicole Santos (shown serving against Heritage Christian) tallied three service aces and led the team with 10 digs as the Lady Heralds defeated Valley Christian, 3-0, to earn their sixth consecutive league title.

by Nathan Percy
La Habra Journal

CERRITOS – In order to clinch the Olympic League championship, the Whittier Christian girls’ volleyball team was faced with the task of facing its biggest league rival, on the road.

However, a quick start and dominant first game propelled the Lady Heralds to their sixth consecutive league championship after a 3-0 sweep over Valley Christian, Wednesday night at Valley Christian.

Whittier Christian (26-7, 7-0) overcame a challenge in the second set before running away with the match 25-10, 25-21, 25-15.

“We were focused on competing to the best of our ability, we actually didn’t even talk about a league championship,” said Shawn Hunter, Whittier Christian head coach. “I think the girls knew in the back of their minds where they were at, but our goal was to come in and compete and I think we did a great job of that.”

Deanna Blaine led the Lady Heralds offense with 11 kills and Kylee Wolfe finished with 10 kills. Jennifer Washle facilitated the offensive attack as usual with 34 assists.

However, Washle’s assists didn’t come into play until the second set as Whittier Christian scored points in a variety of ways early.

The first set featured four blocked attacks for points and six service aces to go with Washle’s five assists.

Blaine and Nicole Santos frustrated Valley Christian with two aces each and Blaine recorded three kills.

“Our goal was to get to 10 points before they did and we were able to do that,” Hunter said. “Once we get a quick momentum, this team carries it very well. We wanted to move the ball around and establish our middles. We’ve been working on our blocking and we had great first ball contacts, so it was nice to see that practice come through in a game.”

After the Lady Crusaders recorded the first two points of the match, Whittier Christian put up an 11-1 run to take a commanding early lead.

Whittier Christian tacked on a 9-1 run late and cruised to a 1-0 match lead.

The Lady Heralds again jumped out in the second thanks to Washle’s distribution of the ball. Blaine, Wolfe and Kylie Cooke combined for 15 kills in the set.

However, Valley Christian (19-8, 4-4) began to gain momentum and pull back thanks to a handful of Whittier Christian hitting errors.

The Lady Crusaders reduced the deficit to two points at 21-19 before Whittier Christian regained its composure and ended the set on a pair of kills by Wolfe.

“I love that we had to compete and try to win a close game,” Hunter said. “We have to be used to this type of environment.”

With the third set tied at 5-5, Washle served the Lady Heralds to seven straight points to break the game open. The senior setter recorded three aces.

As the set continued, the outside hitting of Wolfe was too strong for the Lady Crusaders. Jeanne Reinis stepped in with a pair of kills and an ace late in the set and the Lady Heralds celebrated shortly thereafter.

Alexyss Nelson tallied 14 assists for host Valley Christian. Middle blocker Amanda Chamberlain led the Lady Crusaders with five kills.

Whittier Christian remains undefeated in Olympic League play with one final league match next Tuesday against Maranatha at home.

“I was happy with the way we competed in this environment because we’ll need this experience during playoffs,” Hunter said. “I thought it was great that the girls were able to deal with that noise and a big crowd and still compete well.”

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La Habra league win streak snapped at four after sweep at Troy

Posted on 29 October 2013 by La Habra Journal

Ashly Hernandez reacts quickly to an attack by Troy in La Habra's 3-0 loss, Tuesday night.

Ashly Hernandez reacts quickly to an attack by Troy in La Habra’s 3-0 loss, Tuesday night.

by Nathan Percy
La Habra Journal

In the first meeting between the La Habra and Troy girls’ volleyball teams, the Lady Highlanders forced Troy to work for nearly every point, despite getting swept.

When the teams met for the second time, Tuesday night, the result was the same, but La Habra’s energy level was lacking in a 25-17, 25-9, 25-14 defeat at Troy High.

The loss snapped La Habra’s four-game league win streak.

“They just weren’t focused enough tonight and my concern is that this rolls into Thursday,” said Adrianne Spear, La Habra head coach. “It’s always tough to play here, but they just were not prepared enough for this match. Maybe others it would be okay, but not against this team. I just didn’t see the same fire I saw last time we faced them.”

The Lady Warriors’ offense kept in rhythm for the majority of the match, resulting in 38 assists for Julie Kim and 12 kills each for outside hitters Kayla Chapman and Alison Beattie.

On the other hand, the decrease in focus led to a sporadic offense for the Lady Highlanders, as Ashly Hernandez tallied 17 assists and Lexi Kolschefski led the team with nine kills. Ryana Murch added six kills for the Lady Highlanders.

Corinne Bell places an attack against Troy, Tuesday night. Bell did not play in the first set of the Lady Highlanders' 3-0 defeat.

Corinne Bell places an attack against Troy, Tuesday night. Bell did not play in the first set of the Lady Highlanders’ 3-0 defeat.

To top it all off, the Lady Highlanders played without senior outside hitter Corinne Bell for the first set.

However, the opening set was the most competitive for La Habra, which battled Troy tough at the outset.

But with the score knotted at 4-4, Troy started to pull away. When the Highlanders pulled close at 8-7, the Lady Warriors again gained separation.

Chapman led the charge with four kills in the first set, while Murch matched that total to lead La Habra, but ultimately, it was errors on offense that hurt La Habra late.

Troy rode that momentum into the second set, using a 7-0 run to gain a big advantage. From that point on, the Lady Warriors earned a sideout on every La Habra serve.

An attempt to regroup before the third set worked only for a short time for the Lady Highlanders.

Beattie pounded the Lady Highlanders back line, earning seven kills and two aces in the set as Troy finished off the sweep quickly.

Spear said that the team utilized some of tonight’s efforts into game-planning for Thursday’s game against Sonora, which the head coach considers a huge challenge.

“We just have to leave this behind and focus on Thursday,” Spear said. “My biggest concern and my next goal is that we have to beat Sonora, it’s a match that can go either way, but I think we’ll be okay.”

The match will be played at La Habra High at 5:30 p.m.

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Highlanders drop crucial league game in double overtime

Posted on 29 October 2013 by La Habra Journal

_MG_0298by Jeremiah Girard
La Habra Journal

The La Habra Highlanders’ boys water polo team lost a heart-breaker to Sunny Hills in the form of an 8-7 defeat in double overtime, Tuesday afternoon at La Habra High.

The Highlanders were at a disadvantage before the game even started. Their leading scorer, Sean Pedersen, did not play for personal reasons.

The game was knotted at 7-7 after four quarters. No scoring happened in the first overtime, despite two six-on-fives, for the Lancers, in the period. They had another one in the second overtime but could not score.

However, La Habra gave Sunny Hills one last six-on-five with 24 seconds left in the game. This time, with just three seconds remaining, Matthew Chang threw in the game-winning goal.

“Sometimes I do not understand our six-on-five defense,” said La Habra head coach David Edwards. “I knew what Sunny Hills was going to do when they were up, and I thought the team did, yet we gave them two late goals from the slot.”

The Lancers (18-8, 5-2) also tied the game with 25 seconds left in the fourth quarter on a six-on-five goal.

The Highlanders (12-12, 4-3) needed someone to rise to the occasion, and Michael Weir did early on. Weir had two of the Highlanders’ three goals in the first quarter, and was a big reason the game was tied. He added a third goal in the third quarter.

“Michael was huge for us today,” Edwards said. “We needed someone to step up in Pedersen’s absence and he did.”

Senior Grant Harris was another player they were looking at to step up, but he only put up one goal and two assists. Maverick Chen also stepped up with two goals.

However, late in the game, the Highlanders had too many lapses and let the Lancers come back from 7-5 down in the fourth to steal the win.

“As much as we wanted to win the game, I am very proud of the way our boys played,” Edwards said. “We played Sunny Hills close without our leading scorer.”

With the loss, the Highlanders fall to 4-3 in Freeway League play. They will now play a very important game, Thursday against Troy.

La Habra upset the Warriors earlier in the year and want to prove that it was not a fluke.

“We have a lot to prove in that game,” Edwards said. “We need to let them know that we are a better team than them and that was not a one-time thing.”

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Raiders strong comeback bid falls short against Fullerton

Posted on 29 October 2013 by La Habra Journal

Richard Atnip (shown against La Habra) put the Raiders on the board in the second quarter of Sonora's 11-10 loss to Fullerton, Tuesday afternoon.

Richard Atnip (shown against La Habra) put the Raiders on the board in the second quarter of Sonora’s 11-10 loss to Fullerton, Tuesday afternoon.

by Nathan Percy
La Habra Journal

A comeback attempt by the Sonora boys’ water polo team fell one goal short in a 11-10 loss to Fullerton, Tuesday at Fullerton High.

Down 7-1 at one point in the second quarter, the Raiders put in the final three goals of the first half and added two more in the second half to reduce the deficit to one goal at 7-6.

Sonora tied it up at 8-8 on a goal by Matt Ferguson, but the Raiders could not get a go-ahead score before Fullerton pulled away with goals by Sergio Torres and Everett Briggs.

Fullerton hung on despite a goal by Sonora’s Conrad Napier that put the Raiders at a one-goal deficit with seven seconds remaining.

“I thought we did a great job of clawing back in it,” said Jim Sprague, Sonora coach. “The problem today was outside shooting, it’s been good in the past, but we just didn’t have it today.”

The Raiders struggled with outside shooting and, but capitalized when they were able to go inside.

However, those opportunities were limited as the Indians once again focused their defensive efforts on stopping the two-meter attack.

Looking for its first league win, Fullerton jumped out early and took a 3-0 lead after the first quarter.

“We had a miserable first quarter and they were struggling with the concept that if the opponent is going to double team our two-meter man, then there is an extra shooter open somewhere,” Sprague said. “Finding that extra man is the solution to our problem.”

The Indians stretched it to 5-0 with goals by Rob Winder and Dave Tsuda early in the second quarter, but that’s when Sonora woke up.

Richard Atnip got the Raiders on the board with 3:45 remaining in the half. Dominik Kus, Shane Conlin and Napier added their goals within the final two minutes.

“Dominik has done a great job for us this week, he had a great day in practice yesterday and it translated today,” Sprague said. “With Chanse Lyster going down with an injury, he’s really stepped up.”

Kus and Art Martinez pulled the Raiders within one with attacks from the two-meter position, but Fullerton added a goal on a deflection to maintain the lead.

Fullerton’s win puts both teams at 1-6 in Freeway League play. Sonora will host Buena Park, Thursday afternoon at Sonora High.

“I have to give credit to Fullerton, they did a great job,” Sprague said. “They really wanted it today and they came out quick. We caught them, but then we got outplayed and we were too quick with outside shooting.”

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Slow start serves as wake-up call in Lady Heralds win

Posted on 26 October 2013 by La Habra Journal

Senior outside hitter Kylee Wolfe tips a ball over the net in Whittier Christian's 3-1 win over Heritage Christian, Thursday night.

Senior outside hitter Kylee Wolfe tips a ball over the net in Whittier Christian’s 3-1 win over Heritage Christian, Thursday night.

by Jeremiah Girard
La Habra Journal

The Whittier Christian Lady Heralds volleyball team survived an early scare to pick up a 3-1 (23-25, 15-8, 25-10, 25-21) Olympic League win over Heritage Christian, Thursday at Whittier Christian.

The Lady Heralds came out with very little energy and the Lady Warriors jumped early. The first game was back and forth and both teams kept it close. Late in the game, however, everything seemed to go Heritage Christian’s way and it picked up a stunning first game win.

“We came out with no energy and they capitalized. They were ready to play,” said senior captain Kylee Wolfe. “Hopefully this will serve as a wake-up call going forward for us.”

There is no telling what will happen going forward, but it lit a fire under Whittier Christian for the rest of the match. The next three games were not even close.

The Lady Heralds offense began to open up, as setter Jennifer Washle managed to put the ball right on the spot for outside hitters Wolfe and Deanna Blaine.

Whittier Christian outside hitter Deanna Blaine attacks the net in Whittier Christian's 3-1 win over Heritage Christian, Thursday night.

Whittier Christian outside hitter Deanna Blaine attacks the net in Whittier Christian’s 3-1 win over Heritage Christian, Thursday night.

Despite not playing for the majority of the last two games, Wolfe finished with 13 kills and Blaine had 12. Washle put up a total of 47 assists in the four games to go along with three kills and five service aces.

The first set was not all a matter of Whittier Christian’s lack of energy. Heritage Christian was able to return and get a lot of blocks on shots by Blaine and Wolfe. They played up when the Lady Heralds played down.

“We definitely need to hand it to them,” Wolfe said. “They made it so we needed to bring the energy, but we just did not.”

The third and fourth games were a good chance for Whittier Christian to get some of their reserve players some time. Stephanie Stevenson and Mandy Sides both contributed with seven kills each.

Even though it was not pretty, the Lady Heralds still picked up a win and remain undefeated in league play. The Heralds are now 6-0 in league play and 25-7 overall. They will travel to Valley Christian next Wednesday at 6:15 p.m.

“I definitely would hope that we do not come out the same way that we did tonight,” Wolfe said. “I do not want to lose a game in that match.”

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Big turnover lifts Heralds to homecoming win

Posted on 26 October 2013 by La Habra Journal

Heralds quarterback Ryan Esslinger (shown against Valley Christian) threw three touchdown passes and also hauled in a momentum-shifting interception in the Heralds 41-34 win over Heritage Ch
Quarterback Ryan Esslinger looks for an open receiver in the Heralds’ 41-34 win. Esslinger threw three touchdowns and intercepted a pass on defense.by Nathan Percy
Quarterback Ryan Esslinger looks for an open receiver in the Heralds’ 41-34 win. Esslinger threw three touchdowns and intercepted a pass on defense.by Nbra Jour
Quarterback Ryan Esslinger looks for an open receiver in the Heralds' 41-34 win. Esslinger threw three touchdowns and intercepted a pass on defense.

Quarterback Ryan Esslinger looks for an open receiver in the Heralds’ 41-34 win. Esslinger threw three touchdowns and intercepted a pass on defense.

by Nathan Percy
La Habra Journal

With all the offense displayed Friday night, it was only fitting that a takeaway was the turning point in the Whittier Christian football team’s 41-34 Homecoming win over Heritage Christian at Whittier College, Friday night.

But the bizarre moment wasn’t in the takeaway itself, it was who came up with it.

With the Heralds clinging to a 24-21 lead midway through the third quarter, Ryan Esslinger intercepted a pass by Warriors quarterback Jacob Padilla. With a personal foul added onto the return, the turnover set up the Heralds at the Heritage Christian 18-yard line.

On the next play, running back Nick Watase dashed to the left for a touchdown, giving the Heralds a 31-21 lead and much-needed breathing room. It was the first time either team led by more than four points.

“It felt great just to help my team out,” Esslinger said. “I’ve always dreamed of playing defense, I’ve been bugging my coaches all year, but it was fun to actually be out there and get a pick.”

To say the Heralds relied heavily on the rushing attack may be an understatement. Watase carried the ball 57 times for 304 yards and two touchdowns, but also lost a fumble late in the first half.

However, Esslinger was given a freedom at the quarterback position that he hadn’t seen since Week 0. Wide receiver Noah Evans was left in single coverage.

Esslinger took full advantage, completing 14 passes to Evans alone for 150 yards and three touchdowns. Overall, the senior quarterback completed 20-of-30 passes for 188 yards.

“If teams are going to single coverage him, then we are going to throw him the ball,” said Sergio Gradilla, Whittier Christian head coach. “He’s big, strong, he has great hands and teams are going to have to figure out whether they want to take someone out of the box, or single cover. Either way, with the way Nick’s been running, I feel like we can do some damage.”

But the Warriors’ big play ability would cause the Heralds fits for most of the evening. Of Heritage Christian’s five touchdowns, four were scored on plays of 40 yards or more.

Two of those scores came on the very first play of their respective drives.

Receiver Alex Alcala was a big factor for Heritage Christian, catching eight passes for 210 yards and three scores. He also scored on a 65-yard rushing touchdown.

“It’s something we need to fix, that’s for sure,” Gradilla said. “That can’t happen, a one-play drive cannot happen. We need to look at film and correct it because Maranatha loves to throw and use screens. It’s going to be tough.”

The first half was a seesaw battle that saw five lead changes. Derek Brush opened up the scoring with a 24-yard field goal on the Heralds’ first drive.

The Warriors (3-5, 0-2) took their first lead on a 40-yard bubble screen pass from Padilla to Alcala.

Defensive end Joshua Grant and middle linebacker William Ramirez get the defense pumped up on the sideline during the Heralds' 41-34 win over Heritage Christian.

Defensive end Joshua Grant and middle linebacker William Ramirez get the defense pumped up on the sideline during the Heralds’ 41-34 win over Heritage Christian.

However, on the ensuing drive, Esslinger hit Evans just past the goal line for a four-yard touchdown to reclaim the lead.

Padilla and Alcala hooked up for a  63-yard score, which was followed by a five-yard touchdown run on the ensuing drive by Watase as the Heralds took a 17-14 lead at the break.

After exchanging the lead once more to start the third quarter, Esslinger’s interception gave the Heralds (5-3, 2-1) a chance to put pressure on their opponent.

They didn’t hesitate.

Brush added a 31-yard field goal to give the Heralds their biggest lead of the night at 34-21.

But once again, the Warriors stormed back. On the first play of the ensuing drive, Padilla pitched the ball to Alcala, who found a seam near the right sideline and raced 65 yards for the score.

After Esslinger hit Evans for a six-yard score, Padilla hit Alcala once more for an 86-yard touchdown pass, with Alcala using his breakaway speed to carry him to the endzone.

Using Watase and its big offensive line, Whittier Christian would keep the ball away from the Warriors for the remainder of the fourth quarter, leading to the team’s second consecutive league win.

“I’m pretty sore, but it felt good to get all the carries,” Watase said. “I have to give credit to the offensive line, they did a great job tonight.”

Added Gradilla, “I didn’t think we would give the ball to him that many times. I told the guys that if there was a game ball, I would give it to the offensive line, but he deserves it too. He’s just a stud.”

Esslinger added 92 rushing yards on 14 attempts. The Heralds one-upped last week’s rushing attack with 412 yards on the ground against Heritage Christian.

Whittier Christian takes the consecutive wins into perhaps its biggest game of the year, a showdown with Maranatha next Friday at Maranatha High.

A win would keep the Heralds’ hopes of a fourth consecutive league title alive.

“We knew we needed this win,” Esslinger said. “This was a big game with Homecoming and everything, but to get this win and have the opportunity to go into next week and possibly play for a league championship is huge.”

CHECK BACK FOR PHOTOS FROM THIS GAME!

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Lady Highlanders sweep Sunny Hills, win fourth straight

Posted on 24 October 2013 by La Habra Journal

La Habra outside hitter Corinne Bell, shown serving against Sonora earlier this season, led the Lady Highlanders with 13 kills against Sunny Hills.

by Nathan Percy
La Habra Journal

Finishing up perhaps the most crucial set of games in its league schedule, the La Habra girls’ volleyball team put it all together in a 3-0 sweep of Sunny Hills, Thursday night at La Habra High.

The defense was again scrappy, the offense was more fluid and La Habra won the first two sets rather easily before Sunny Hills (16-11, 3-4) put up a big challenge in the third set. The Lady Highlanders put it away 25-14, 25-16, 25-21.

The win was La Habra’s fourth consecutive in Freeway League play.

“I’m happy that they performed the way that we expected them to,” said Adrianne Spear, La Habra head coach. “They brought over that energy from the Fullerton game [Tuesday] and everything was working tonight.”

Corinne Bell led the way with 13 kills, while Lexi Kolschefski added eight. Ashly Hernandez tallied 31 assists as the team’s primary setter.

But once again, it was the Lady Highlander’s defense that made the biggest impact, allowing only a handful of tipped balls to fall.

In addition, La Habra (9-13, 5-2) committed just one service error throughout the three-set match.

“It’s awesome to feel like all the coaches are on the same page,” Spear said about the improvements on defense. “We’re training the kids the same way and it’s working for us. It’s something that needed to happen and I’m excited that it is taking place, not only this year, but for the lower levels coming up too.”

Sunny Hills countered with a pair of setters in Erin Gonzalez and Emily Ortega, who finished with 15 assists each.

Outside hitters Hannah Warner and Sophia Holms led the Lady Lancers with 13 and 12 kills respectively.

The two teams traded points to start before La Habra pulled away to an 8-4 lead.

Midway through the set, Hernandez threw Sunny Hills off guard by spreading the ball to four different hitters. The defense helped set up plenty of points as La Habra cruised to an early lead.

While Hernandez’ assist total didn’t increase in the second set, the quality of her sets were improved as Kolschefski and Bell combined for some monster kills.

“Lexi is doing an excellent job holding the blockers because they’re focusing on her, so we’re getting one-on-one situations on the outsides, which really helps,” Spear said. “And Corinne is a quick player, she’s explosive and when she gets a good set, it’s done.”

Warner and Holms countered with four kills each in the second set, but the Lady Lancers were slowed by errors as attacks sailed long and La Habra blocked a handful of others.

But the third set was by far the most competitive, as the Lady Lancers pushed to extend the match.

The Lady Lancers made a slight push to extend a lead to 11-7, but La Habra reeled it in to tie 12-12.

Both teams battled until the Lady Highlanders pulled away late. The momentum took a turn in La Habra’s favor when Spear argued a call of a net violation against her team and got the call reversed.

That call made the score 20-17 in favor of the Lady Highlanders. They would finish the sweep shortly thereafter.

“That turnover point was a huge break for us,” Spear said. “We would have been in a bit of trouble if that hadn’t been overruled. It’s nice to take these four games, but I’m still concerned with Sonora. These girls know they can’t afford to lose anything and they’re playing like they know it needs to happen now.”

La Habra takes its four game Freeway League winning streak into another big matchup with Troy on the road, Tuesday night.

The win keeps La Habra in second place behind the Lady Warriors.

“If we play the way we’re playing now, we can take a game or possibly a match,” Spear said. “It’s going to be tough, but I think we’re capable of doing it. If we catch them off guard, that would be great, but if not, all I want is for them to play their best and I’ll be happy with that.”

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Water Polo: La Habra prevails, Sonora stumbles

Posted on 24 October 2013 by La Habra Journal

La Habra Coach David Edwards goes over game plans with his team during a timeout in a game against Sunny Hills earlier this season.

by La Habra Journal Staff

The La Habra Highlanders’ boys water polo team improved their Freeway League chances with a 15-9 win over the Fullerton Indians, Thursday, at La Habra.

La Habra started the game sluggish, and Fullerton did not at all. The Indians came out strong and dominated the first quarter. It appeared that Fullerton was going to end the first quarter with a 5-3 lead.

With only six seconds remaining in the quarter, Sean Pedersen got a rebound on a missed shot by Grant Harris and put in a goal to cut the deficit to 5-4.

“We came out really slow at the beginning,” said junior Jacob Graham. “I was a little scared when they came out that strongly. They did a few things that I did not expect them to do, but we got it together and started to play our game.”

It did not take long for the Highlanders to take over the game. La Habra outscored Fullerton 6-1 in the period and took a 10-6 lead into the half.

“We should have been able to play that way all game,” said La Habra coach David Edwards. “We just didn’t come out ready to play, and they took advantage of us.”

The La Habra offense was anchored by Graham and Grant Harris. Sean Pedersen struggled for the second consecutive game. He had two goals on fourteen shots and got kicked out of the game late in the fourth when he got his third exclusion.

“Sean was off again,” Edwards said. “He is getting shots off but just keeps shooting mid-cage. We need to reel him back in, and get his mind back where it needs to be.”

Graham had five goals and two assists, and Harris had three goals and four assists.

“I thought we played really well today,” Harris said. “It wasn’t necessarily pretty but we got the job done.”

The second half was more of the same and Fullerton was never able to get themselves back into the game.

With the win, the Highlanders improve to 4-2 in league play and will get a rematch with Sunny Hills, who is also 4-2. The first match did not go the way the Highlanders wanted it to, but they are confident this time around.

“Sunny Hills is a great team, but we also made a lot of mistakes and did not play to the level that I know we can,” Edwards said. “We need to lower the number of exclusions and play hard all four quarters.”

The winner of the game will put themselves in a good position to make a run at the playoffs.

– JEREMIAH GIRARD

TROY 12, SONORA 4

The Sonora boys’ water polo team struggled to find ways around Troy’s smothering defense, falling to the Warriors 12-4 in a league game, Thursday afternoon at Troy High._MG_0080

The Raiders settled for outside shots, most coming from goalkeeper Nick Angulo, as the Warriors were allowing nothing inside. Angulo scored a goal at the end of the first quarter.

Angulo’s goal was the only score for Sonora in the first half, as the Warriors jumped ahead 6-1.

Richard Atnip and Shane Conlin scored in the third quarter for the visiting Raiders (6-17, 1-5). Daniel Babashoff added a long-range goal with just over a minute remaining in the fourth quarter.

Adrian Barragan and Trent Samaha led the way for Troy (10-9, 5-1) with three goals each. Johnathan Shim finished with six assists for the Warriors.

Sonora stays on the road next Tuesday with a game at Fullerton.

– NATHAN PERCY

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