Crescenta Valley girls' volleyball runs into stiff competition in own tourney

LA CRESCENTA — The Crescenta Valley High girls’ volleyball team found itself among talented competition Saturday in the second day of the Crescenta Valley High Girls’ Volleyball Varsity Tournament.

Among the entrants in the 16-team event were South Pasadena, ranked No. 8 in CIF Southern Section Division II-AA, Village Christian (No. 5 in Division II-A) and Sierra Canyon (No. 6 in Division III-A).

“We were in a pretty tough bracket,” said Crescenta Valley Coach Jen Ku Lee, who didn’t keep stats for the tournament. “We had South Pasadena, Alta Loma and Eagle Rock in our bracket. But it’s good for us to go up against tough teams. We just have one league game left on Tuesday and one guaranteed CIF playoff game, so that’s only two guaranteed games.”

The Falcons secured fourth place in league and a trip to the postseason Thursday with a Pacific League win against Glendale. Crescenta Valley finishes the regular season with a league matchup Tuesday against rival Arcadia.

“With this tournament, where we’re going against some tough teams, it gives us a chance to see what we have to work on and what we have to do to hopefully win our last few games,” Crescenta Valley senior Emmie Walker said. “It’s good competition for us.”

Playing in the silver division, Crescenta Valley began its day with a 25-16, 25-20 loss to Van Nuys. That was followed by a 25-23, 25-20 defeat at the hands of Alemany.

If the Falcons wanted to salvage the day with at least one victory, they would have to do so against nearby neighbor Verdugo Hills in the seventh-place game. Crescenta Valley did just that, coming on top for a 26-24, 22-25, 15-10 win.

Crescenta Valley was able to hold on in the first game against the Dons, who were right in the thick of things in the opener.

Things didn’t do as well for the Falcons in the second game, although, as they trailed, 16-10. But Crescenta Valley battled back, and when Micaela Guarino came up with a kill late , the Falcons had cut the deficit to two, 23-21. However, a kill by Verdugo Hills brought it to game-point. The Falcons were able to earn a sideout on a Dons’ service error, but lost the game on an attacking error.

In the third game, Crescenta Valley took the lead, 4-3, on a Guarino kill. The Falcons increased the advantage to four, 8-4, on another kill by Guarino. The Dons were able to get to within one, 9-8, on a Crescenta Valley unforced error, but the Falcons maintained the lead the rest of the way, earning match-point, fittingly on a Guarino kill.

“After losing those first two, we just wanted to come back and play as a team against [Verdugo Hills],” Guarino said. “We didn’t want to get down and we wanted to come back and be positive.”

The Silver Division championship of the tournament was won by Eagle Rock, which defeated Immaculate Heart, 25-14, 25-21, to take the title. In a battle for the Gold Division championship, Sierra Canyon was able to outlast Village Christian, 17-25, 26-24, 16-14.

“There are some very good teams and some very good players who were in the tournament this year,” said tournament director John Nelson, who also serves as the Crescenta Valley boys’ volleyball coach. “We try and attract as many of the good teams that we can.

“We don’t usually attract the real heavy-hitting teams, but we attract the good Division II, Division III teams that want a good tune-up before the playoffs.”

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