It may be a short work week, but there’s still volleyball to recap and preview for what should be a remarkably busy sports week.

Linfield Christian wins Cal Lutheran tournament for a fourth straight year:

One of the question marks coming into this season was how Linfield Christian would fare after the graduation of Ambassador League Player of the Year Breanna Mitchell. So far, the early returns say that they should be pretty competitive in the race for two playoff spots behind Ontario Christian. Dana Ortiz’ team took a five-set match from Cal Lutheran, a CIF-SS quarter finalist last season in D8, earlier this week and again defeated the C-Hawks to win a fourth straight title in the ‘Dive Into The Season Classic’ this past Saturday in Wildomar. Anna Roth earned all-tournament honors as Linfield Christian also recorded wins over Santa Rosa Academy, Calvary Chapel Downey, Hamilton and Temecula Prep en route to the title. They will host Temecula Valley on Tuesday and Rancho Christian on Thursday before opening Ambassador League play.

Wolfpack at California Challenge hosted by La Costa Canyon:

Thanks to a team dropping out at the last minute, the Great Oak girls’ volleyball team was able to enter the California Challenge hosted by La Costa Canyon and San Marcos in San Diego County. The Wolfpack went 1-1 in Friday’s pool play session with a win over Cienega (AZ) and loss to Torrey Pines. In Saturday’s bracket play, they went 1-2 with a win over Los Gatos and losses to host La Costa Canyon and Santa Fe Christian.

First CIF-SS weekly coaches polls released this week:

Starting Tuesday of this week, the CIF-SS will release weekly volleyball coaches’ polls for all nine divisions as compiled by their Coaches’ Advisory Committees. To check out the polls, visit cifss.org/sports/girls-volleyball on Tuesday (regularly Monday) after roughly 3 p.m.

Player of the Week:

Murrieta Valley had a 3-0 week with wins over Ontario Christian (in 5 sets) in a rematch of last year’s CIF-SS D2 first round match, Paloma Valley, and Norco, to stay undefeated at 6-0. Audrey Black, a senior middle blocker, earns Player of the Week honors this week by hitting .414% and posting 12 total blocks. Nighthawks coach Ann Romero-Parks remarked, “Audrey moved to the middle blocker position this year and is already making her presence felt at the net. She is very athletic and has an exceedingly high volleyball IQ.”

Valley News ‘Player of the Week’ Audrey Black, center, and the Lady Nighthawks improved their record to 4-0 with last Tuesday’s 3-2 victory over Ontario Christian. Valley News/David Canales photo

Matches to watch this week:

Vista Murrieta at La Costa Canyon

The Mavericks are coming into this match off winning a California Challenge title while Vista Murrieta looks to bounce back from an opening night sweep at Marymount (LA). The Broncos will play just three non-league matches before jumping into Southwestern League play and seeking a fourth straight title.

Roosevelt at Chaparral

This is a rematch of a Sunday morning pool play game at the Queens Court tournament won by Chaparral in a two-set sweep (25-19, 25-23). Roosevelt dropped a five-set thriller to Etiwanda 20-18 in the fifth last Thursday to fall from the ranks of the unbeatens. Can they knock the Pumas from those ranks and get some big-time momentum heading into Big VIII League play?

Santiago at Great Oak

Santiago will finish with a winning record against the Baseline League, but the Sharks are 0-2 against Southwestern League opponents. Can they get on the board and set the stage for a Big VIII League title defense that starts a night later against Norco?

Great Oak at Paloma Valley

Hannah Schaffer played under Wildcats coach Stephen Kaas when she was in high school and now the two will face off as regular season opponents for the first time.

Derryl Trujillo has been an area sportswriter since 2018 and is the 2019 IEBCA Supporter of the Year award winner. He can be reached via email at socaltrekkie@gmail.com.