Valley News prep volleyball notebook: Week ending 9/9

This week in the Valley News Prep Volleyball Notebook we have a recap of the prestigious Dave Mohs Tournament in Orange County with other tournament results, the end of a lengthy streak, and league play on the horizon…

Rancho Christian ends Lions undefeated mark in five set matches under Ortiz:

In their previous two seasons with Dana Ortiz as head coach, the Linfield Christian girls volleyball program has been perfect in five set matches, going 7-0 en route to back-to-back CIF-SS playoff appearances. However, on Tuesday, Sept. 5, at the Eagle’s Nest, that streak ended as Rancho Christian knocked off the Lions at home in a five-set thriller by scores of 18-25, 25-23, 26-24, 17-25, 16-14. Savannah Thomas led Rancho Christian with 39 kills and hit .400 in the win with just eight attacking errors on 79 attempts and earned Valley News Player of the Week honors for the performance.

Dave Mohs Tournament recap:

Three Southwestern League teams went to Orange County for the Dave Mohs Tournament and one final tune-up before Tuesday’s opening matches. None of our area teams made the Gold Bracket in division one as Chaparral and Murrieta Valley went 1-2 in pool play with Great Oak going 0-3.

In Silver Bracket play the Pumas recorded an opening round win against Newport Harbor before getting swept by JSerra. Murrieta Valley got swept by the Lions in their bracket play opener but finished with a win against Newport Harbor.

Great Oak went to the Bronze Bracket and was swept by Menlo before defeating La Costa Canyon.

Ayala Tournament:

It’s not a tournament the Vista Murrieta volleyball team usually visits but this weekend the Broncos went to Ayala for their annual tournament and came away with the title. In pool play Vista Murrieta defeated Upland, San Dimas, and Walnut before defeating Ayala, San Dimas, and Los Osos in Saturday bracket play.

Vista Murrieta players celebrate winning the 2023 Ayala Tournament on Saturday, Sept. 9 in Chino Hills. Valley News/Courtesy: Tasha Montes

Whittier Tournament:

Temecula Valley earned a spot in gold division bracket play but fell in a close semifinal to Los Alamitos before bouncing back to finish in 3rd with a win over El Dorado. Madison Snow and Avalon Heintz were selected to the all-tournament team.

Temecula Valley players, with head coach Neemias Costa, celebrate their Gold Division semifinal appearance at the Whittier Classic on Saturday, Sept. 9. Valley News/Courtesy Photo

Late Tournament results:

A couple of late tournament results came in that warrant mentioning from across our area.

First on Saturday, August 26, the Murrieta Mesa volleyball team traveled to Palm Springs for a tournament and came away with the title. They recorded wins over Palm Springs, Rim of the World (twice), Moreno Valley, Rancho Verde, and La Sierra for the championship.

Murrieta Mesa players, along with second year coach Patrick Villanueva, celebrate a tournament title at Palm Springs High School on Saturday, Aug. 26. Valley News/Courtesy: Patrick Villanueva

Then on Saturday, Sept. 2, Linfield Christian made the short trip to California Lutheran and won another Dive into the Season Classic. They recorded wins over Temecula Prep (twice), San Jacinto Valley Academy, Holy Martyrs, and Calvary Chapel Downey. Brooklyn Pierce was also named to the all-tournament team. It’s the Lions at least third tournament title at California Lutheran in the last four years.

CIF-SS coaches polls: 

Nine Valley News area girls volleyball teams found themselves with mentions in the first CIF-SS Coaches Polls of 2023 that were released on Tuesday, September 5 due to the Labor Day holiday.

In Division Four Paloma Valley was ranked eighth although the poll was released prior to the Wildcats four set victory at Riverside King (last year’s Big VIII tri champion) by scores of 21-25, 25-23, 25-20, 25-19. Mia Rosas led the Wildcats with 22 kills and Hannah Welch had 21 assists to lead Paloma Valley.

After a CIF-SS quarterfinal appearance last year Rancho Christian finds themselves receiving votes in Division five.

Linfield Christian players, pictured here last week, earned the California Lutheran tournament title in Lake Elsinore on Saturday, Sept. 2. Valley News/Courtesy photo

Linfield Christian was one of two area teams to earn a top three ranking, checking in at number one in Division Six with Hemet West Valley at tenth in the same division. Also earning a top three ranking was Temecula Prep who earned a number three spot in Division Eight where California Lutheran was also rated ninth.

Liberty and Cornerstone Christian received votes in Divisions Eight and Nine.

Matches to watch:

Southwestern League

Temecula Valley at Vista Murrieta (early in the week)

After forgoing a trip to Hawaii to stay home and participate in the Ayala Tournament Vista Murrieta will open defense of their Southwestern League title at home against Temecula Valley.

Ivy League

Hemet at Paloma Valley (early in the week)

New Bulldogs coach Allison Rozell makes her debut against the defending co-champion Wildcats who posted a 2-0 mark against the Big VIII League in preseason play.

Ambassador League

Woodcrest Christian at Linfield Christian (early in the week)

This is a pivotal early season matchup for playoff positioning in a five team Ambassador League with only three automatic bids available. It involves two teams ranked in the top five of division six based on last week’s polling as the Lions (ranked first) host a Royals program enjoying their best season since Tesa Oaks was with the program and rewriting area records with every kill.

Ivy League

Friday, Sept. 15

Rancho Christian at Hemet 5:30 P.M.

After rolling to a Sunbelt League title last season without dropping a set the Eagles make their Ivy League debut against a Hemet side that saw a lengthy playoff appearance streak end last season by the narrowest of margins.

Derryl Trujillo can be reached by email at

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