Eagle Rock defeats Palisades for first City Section Open Division girls’ volleyball title

Eagle Rock's Wendy Jurenec (20) attempts a spike against Palisades during the City Section Open Division girls' volleyball championship match at Birmingham.
(Steve Galluzzo / For The Times)

Jade Fuentes was lifted into the air Saturday night by a teammate as screaming Eagle Rock fans waving green pom-poms saluted her ability to send a volleyball crashing to the court during the City Section Open Division girls’ final at Lake Balboa Birmingham High.

Fuentes helped the Eagles achieve a historic victory in beating 30-time City champion Palisades for the school’s first upper-division volleyball championship. The scores were 25-21, 15-25, 26-24, 25-22.

As players celebrated on the court, an emotional coach Tim Bergeron looked on, kneeling with his hand on his forehead.


“I was crying,” Bergeron said. “I’ve been at Eagle Rock for 12 years in boys’ and girls’ volleyball and never had the opportunity to play for the top-division title.”

In the third set, Fuentes came through with the winning kill that led Eagle Rock players to drop to the court in exhaustion and disbelief after a rally with the Dolphins that lasted more than a minute.

Palisades coach Carlos Gray understood what Bergeron had accomplished.

“If any coach deserves a championship, it’s Tim Bergeron,” he said. “He’s a great coach. He runs the entire three levels by himself and runs a quality program.”

A decisive moment for Eagle Rock came in the first set when the Eagles trailed 8-6 and standout senior Wendy Jurenec had to be helped off the court because of an ankle injury. Bergeron called timeout to compose the team. The Eagles responded by winning the set 25-21 behind the serving of Sarah Carbonel and a final kill from Fuentes. And Jurenec returned for the second set.

In Division I, Chatsworth withstood a gallant effort by Venice to prevail 25-18, 25-21, 18-25, 23-25, 15-10. Sophomore Imani Taylor and freshman Geraldine Martinez made major contributions for the Chancellors. Freshman Biko Hollie helped lead a Venice comeback that almost succeeded.

In Division II, top-seeded University defeated second-seeded Los Angeles Elizabeth 25-19, 25-19, 25-21.


In Division III, Van Nuys Grant won its first championship with a 25-19, 15-25, 25-23, 25-20 win over Sherman Oaks CES. Sophomore Kayla Fray was a key contributor.

In Division IV, Port of Los Angeles defeated East Valley 22-25, 25-14, 25-23, 26-24 for its first title.