Golden West Makes Its Job Easier


Golden West has won the last two state men’s volleyball titles the hard way. The Rustlers have qualified for the tournament through regional play and upset teams that earned automatic berths.

But Wednesday night, Golden West, ranked second in the state, moved into position for an automatic birth by taking over first place in the Orange Empire Conference. Thanks to an awesome 48-kill performance from Scott Lane, the Rustlers beat the state’s top-ranked team, Orange Coast, 12-15, 15-10, 15-11, 15-9.

If the Rustlers win their final three conference matches--all against teams they have already beaten once--they will earn an automatic berth in the state tournament, which is April 25-26 at Golden West.


Lane’s biggest game was the third when he had 14 kills as Golden West won, 15-11. Lane had 10 kills and teammate Chris Kotsy 13 in the final game. The pair combined for a block for the final point of the match.

“I want to try and [win a state title] the other way,” Golden West Coach Mike D’Alessandro said. “without having to go through the regional. I hope we can win out in our final three matches.”

Orange Coast had won the first meeting this season in four games and won the first game Wednesday, 15-12. The key point in the first game came with OCC leading, 13-12. Golden West appeared to have won a sideout, but a Rustler player was called for going onto the OCC side of the court and OCC was awarded a point. The Pirates then closed it out on a combined block from Jason Klems and Fernando Sabla.

Golden West lost starting outside hitter Evan Hook to an ankle injury late in the first game but Matt Malone stepped in and finished with 17 kills in the final three games.

Orange Coast didn’t play nearly as well in the second game. Golden West opened a 5-2 lead then OCC was twice called for being out of rotation and Golden West received two effortless points to lead, 7-2.

Golden West went on to lead, 14-6, before winning, 15-10. Orange Coast led, 7-6, in the third but couldn’t hold it as Lane, who is 6 feet 6, continued to pound away despite the increased effort of the Orange Coast defense. Lane had 40 kills when the teams played earlier this year.


Orange Coast regrouped for the fourth game and opened a 7-3 lead before Golden West rallied.

“Our middles played much better this time,” D’Alessandro said when asked to compare the two meetings between the teams this season.

Orange Coast’s offense was more balanced than Golden West’s. Five players had at least 15 kills. Sabla led with 26, half of which came in the fourth game. Kevin Reid and Darin McBain each had 20. Josh Richardson had 18 kills and Klems 15 for Orange Coast (14-2, 12-2).

In Orange Empire Conference softball:

Fullerton 4, Riverside 2--Kristy Bonwell gave up one hit and retired the final nine she faced in six innings of relief to get the victory for host Fullerton (27-10, 12-1), which remained in a first-place tie with Cypress.

Cypress 16, Saddleback 0 (5, mercy)--Every starter had at least one hit for Cypress (47-3, 12-1).

Rancho Santiago 6, Golden West 1--Sheryl Anderson had six strikeouts for Rancho Santiago and teammates Jessica Cisneros and Cari Remmel had RBI doubles.


Irvine Valley 2, Orange Coast 0--Jennifer Cessna (10-15) pitched a five-hitter and struck out nine for Irvine Valley (16-16, 2-11). Linsey Welch had an RBI in a two-run sixth inning for the Lasers. Amanda Ward (5-10) pitched a five-hitter and Carrie Ritchey was two for three with a double and a stolen base for OCC (5-15, 2-11).

In Orange Empire Conference women’s tennis:

Saddleback 9, Riverside 0--Sisters Missy and Maria Hosoi won their singles matches and teamed to win at No. 1 doubles for Saddleback (12-4, 11-0). Saddleback can clinch a second consecutive conference title by beating Irvine Valley today.