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Redondo Union hopes to challenge Marymount for girls’ volleyball title

Portrait of a smiling Mele Corral-Blagojevich.
Mele Corral-Blagojevich is the top returning player for Redondo Union in girls’ volleyball.
(Aleksandar Blagojevich)

High school girls’ volleyball is back in the Southern Section after a year’s absence because of last year’s COVID-19 restrictions. Athletes were pretty much left with club competitions, though the City Section did move its season to spring, enabling championships to take place.

The Lakewood/Molten Classic starts the schedule Saturday at Lakewood High. Among the teams entered in the Division 1 competition are Redondo Union, Harvard-Westlake, Los Alamitos and Long Beach Poly.

Southern Section favorite Marymount lost out on a chance to win a Division 1 title last season, but the Sailors are the team to beat this season with the return of Stanford-bound Elia Rubin and Duke-bound Kerry Keefe.

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The question is, which teams will challenge Marymount?

Redondo Union usually competes for championships, and this season should be no different. The return of All-CIF junior Mele Corral-Blagojevich gives coach Tommy Chaffins a 6-foot-1 standout to build around. She was a star as a freshman.

Santa Ana Mater Dei will challenge with seniors Jordyn Schilling (libero) and Shanelle Puetz (setter). But the Monarchs’ real strength could come from a gifted group of sophomores, including Babi Gubbins (outside hitter) and Isabel Clark (middle blocker).

Lakewood has a standout in Oregon State-bound Laura Williams.

In the City Section, Palisades returns the City Section MVP in senior setter Kaia Kanan, plus outside hitter Ava Pearce, an All-City selection as a freshman.


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