Prep Impressions: Oct. 13, 2015

Jurupa Valley Patriot's Vanessa Arredondo (left) serves during the fourth game vs. Riverside La Sierra on Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2015.

Jurupa Valley Patriot’s Vanessa Arredondo (left) serves during the fourth game vs. Riverside La Sierra on Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2015.

I covered the Riverside La Sierra-Jurupa Valley Patriot varsity volleyball match on Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2015, for The Press-Enterprise, HSGametime.pe.com & @PEcom_preps and I came away thinking La Sierra’s volleyball supporters travel very well.

The Eagles Nest filled its half of the open stands in Patriot’s gym while the Warriors had little more than half as many there to cheer on their previously unbeaten team.

It was an interesting mix, and speaks volumes about La Sierra’s success in girls volleyball. The Eagles have won 88 of their previous 90 league matches, claiming seven consecutive league titles along the way.

This season the roster is full of club-level talent, anchored by junior libero Savahna Costello, an all-league outside hitter last season who switched positions with the addition of Lauren Reid.

Reid, a 5-foot-10 senior, gives the Eagles a bolder attack at the net and the power to dominate opponents of similar size. Costello had a match-high 33 digs and has an 90-percent dig rate on the season.

La Sierra also features senior setter Maddie Lozano, senior hitter Malaya Dean and senior hitter Ashley Weaver. They’re a team of marked spirit and consistency.

La Sierra coach Bruce Bartholomew:
“We served pretty well, except in that third game that we lost. We moved in a little to the middle, release our middle blocker a little early to make sure were not leaving a gap. We’re getting kills. We were leaving gaps because we were coming over late even though we knew that’s where they were going to set. Once we release our middle, close it up and we can play pretty good defense behind it. (Patriot) the second-time around will be tough. I think Hillcrest will give us a challenge, too, but people know what we look like and how to focus on us. I think if we don’t give away too many points on missed serves and hitting errors I think we’ll run (the River Valley League). But both Hillcrest and Patriot can give us trouble if we don’t play our ‘A’ game.”

Patriot coach Victor Centeno:
“The biggest challenge is (La Sierra’s) experience. We have no club players. Everything you see I’ve had to coach. I always call it, ‘At best have hobby volleyball players.’ They play other sports, and we have some great athletes, and sometimes that experience gets us. Today, we came back on them but unfortunately my best hitter (Darrick Hewitt) was having trouble breathing. She was having the same problem last Thursday, we were able to overcome it but we couldn’t overcome it today. That doesn’t make up for our slow start. We had terrible serving the first game, unforced errors, but once we got to third game we were clicking. Beginning of the fourth game is when (Hewitt) started having her breathing issues. It’s something that we feel we can build off of because unlike other teams we have to build in the experience. To go through times like this and hopefully be better prepared for it next time.”

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