First Things First for Golden West Women

The Golden West women’s volleyball team could win its third consecutive State title on Sunday, but first the Rustlers must get to the tournament.

Golden West (20-2), the top-seeded team in Southern California, plays host to No. 8 Santa Monica (13-7) at 7 tonight in one of four Southern California finals. The top four teams from Southern and Northern California meet in the State tournament starting Friday at Cerritos.

Golden West rolled past Rio Hondo in three games and Santa Monica (13-7) beat Grossmont in a five games in the first round of regional play.

Santa Monica won the first two games, lost the next two, and was down, 13-4, in the final game before winning, 15-13.


“We know they’re tough and used to winning,” Golden West Coach Albert Gasparian said.

His Golden West teams have won four of the last five State titles and are the top-ranked team in the State this season.

Golden West also has won 59 consecutive matches at home.

“We have developed this season,” Gasparian said. “There are times when we look great, but there are also times when we have mental lapses.”

Golden West is led by sophomore outside hitter Jessica Redding, who was selected as the Orange Empire Conference’s most valuable player.

Sophomores Lisa Brown and Ursula Luna and freshmen Tina Bowman, Mary Luhrs and Beth Rosen are the Rustlers’ other starters.


More volleyball: Fullerton (13-5) also has a chance at a berth in the State tournament. The Hornets, the sixth-seeded team, play at No. 3 Cerritos (15-3) at 7 tonight.

Fullerton was second in the Orange Empire Conference behind Golden West. The Hornets are led by freshman outside hitter Kathy Gayton, who was an all-State selection along with Golden West’s Redding.


Soccer: The Cypress women’s team and the Rancho Santiago men’s team take part in the State tournament starting Saturday at East Los Angeles College.

Cypress (16-2-2) goes against Santa Rosa (18-1-2) at 1 p.m. Mt. San Antonio (17-1-1) meets Ohlone (14-4) in the other women’s semifinal. The winners meet at 11 a.m. Sunday for the State title.

Rancho Santiago plays Fresno (13-3-4) at 7 p.m. Saturday in the semifinals. The Dons, who are making their second consecutive appearance in the State tournament, are 17-1-1.

East Los Angeles (20-2) plays American River (15-4-2) at 4 p.m. The title game is at 2:30 p.m. Sunday.


Men’s basketball: Golden West (2-4) and Irvine Valley (1-3) join host Orange Coast (1-5) in the Kiwanis tournament starting Thursday.

In Thursday’s first round: Golden West plays West Los Angeles at 2 p.m.; Irvine Valley takes on Long Beach at 4 p.m.; Orange Coast plays at Victor Valley at 6 p.m. and Imperial Valley goes against El Camino at 8 p.m.

The tournament continues Friday and the title game is at 7 p.m. Saturday.

Saddleback (2-2) and Rancho Santiago (4-2) are in the Grossmont tournament starting Thursday as well. The Gauchos play East Los Angeles at 3 p.m. and the Dons meet host Grossmont at 5 p.m.


Women’s basketball: Cypress plays host to the Lady Charger Classic starting Thursday. The Chargers (2-3) take on Miramar at 8 p.m. in the first round.

Other Thursday games are: San Diego Mesa vs. Citrus at 2 p.m.; El Camino vs. Fresno at 4 p.m.; and Long Beach vs. American River at 6 p.m.

The tournament continues Friday with the title game at 4 p.m. Saturday.

Also Thursday: Fullerton (4-2) plays Sequoias at 7 p.m. and Golden West (1-3) takes on De Anza at 8:45 p.m. in the first round of the College of the Sequoias tournament in Visalia.


Four Orange County athletes have made commitments to play at four-year colleges. Rancho Santiago shortstop Tony Zuniga and right-handed pitcher Matt Montgomery have signed letters of intent to play at Long Beach State. Zuniga was the most valuable player in the State tournament last spring as Rancho Santiago won its second State title in three seasons. Montgomery was the winning pitcher in the title game against Cerritos. . . . Saddleback’s Chad Wanders, a right-handed pitcher, has signed with San Diego State. He was at Hawaii last spring. Cha-Ron Walker, a power forward on Saddleback’s basketball team, has signed to play at Arizona. Walker is a 1993 graduate of Morningside High.