Opening week of the high school volleyball season has come and gone across the area and while a few teams have not yet seen the floor yet, most have.

Wildcats open with big win over Big VIII tri champion Sharks:

If there’s one thing Paloma Valley girls volleyball coach Stephen Kaas does well with his schedule it’s that he gives his teams a look at a variety of different teams before league play begins. In opening the 2023 campaign he challenged his team with a matchup at Big VIII League defending tri champion Corona Santiago. It was a matchup that took five sets but saw Paloma Valley win by scores of 19-25, 25-22, 25-18, 24-26, 15-9.

Paloma Valley’s Mia Rosas, seen here in action against Temecula Valley last week, earned Player of the Week honors for her performance in the Wildcats win against Santiago on Tuesday, August 15. Valley News/Action Captures Media Group

Mia Rosas led the Wildcats with 17 kills and 9 digs in that win. They proceeded to split their next two matches falling in a sweep against Temecula Valley and sweeping JW North to finish week one.

Rosas also earned Player of the Week honors for her performance in the win against Santiago.

Eagles defend United Christian Academy tournament title:

Coming off a CIF-SS division six quarterfinal appearance and undefeated Sunbelt League championship in 2022 the Rancho Christian girls volleyball team earned their Ivy League spot.

They opened the 2023 campaign on Saturday, August 19 at the United Christian Academy tournament in Upland and for a second straight year brought home a tournament title, defeating Woodcrest Christian in that final match. Junior outside hitter Savannah Thomas earned MVP honors for the Eagles.

Rancho Christian’s Savannah Thomas earned tournament MVP honors as the Eagles claimed their second straight United Christian Academy tournament title. Valley News/Courtesy photo

“I feel super proud that our program has made it to the top (Ivy) league,” Villafana said. “Losing players like Mariah and Ellie is definitely big but these ladies have been working hard this summer to compete against these upper echelon programs. I am also proud that we have grown in numbers to the point where we have added a JV team which gives us an opportunity to compete against these schools.”

Rancho Christian opens the home part of their schedule against Santa Rosa Academy on Tuesday and visits Horizon Prep of the San Diego Section on Thursday.

Rancho Christian players, along with head coach Luci Villafana and assistant Paige Williams, take a picture with United Christian Academy’s tournament trophy on Saturday, August 19 in Upland. Valley News/Courtesy photo

Joining Villafana on the Rancho Christian bench this year is former Linfield Christian standout Paige Williams, a member of the Lions 2018 and 2019 CIF-SS championship teams.

Matches to watch:

Tuesday 8/22

Temecula Prep at Hemet West Valley 5 p.m.

Both programs reached the quarterfinals a season ago with Temecula Prep earning their spot in division eight and West Valley reaching a division seven round of eight.

Vista Murrieta at Marymount 530 p.m.

Vista Murrieta, last year’s CIF-SS division two champion, opens the year at state power Marymount as they prepare to defend their streak of Southwestern League championships.

Thursday 8/24

Santiago at Chaparral 530 p.m.

This match is a tale of two teams off to totally polar opposite starts in 2023. Chaparral has not missed a beat under first year head coach Gretchen Johnson and is 6-0 so far with an AB Miller Steeltown Classic title plus non-league win against Corona Centennial. They also were finalists at the Queens Court end of summer preseason tournament before falling to Corona Del Mar. Meanwhile the Sharks, who shared a Big VIII League title last year with King and Roosevelt, have yet to record a preseason win.

Derryl Trujillo can be reached via email at socaltrekkie@gmail.com.

Derryl Trujillo

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