This week in the Valley News Prep Volleyball Notebook we recap Paloma Valley and Murrieta Valley at the Freeway Games tournament along with Vista Murrieta at the Durango Classic in Las Vegas, this week’s CIF-SS coaches polls, some matches to watch and a Player of the Week…

  • Freeway Games recap

Both Paloma Valley and Murrieta Valley made the short trip for two days to the Freeway Games tournament, jointly hosted by Corona Santiago and Eastvale Roosevelt. It was a solid weekend for both area programs as they reached gold bracket quarterfinal action before bowing out in sweeps. Host Roosevelt swept Paloma Valley 25-22, 25-18 after the Wildcats defeated Bonita/La Verne in an opening round matchup. Meanwhile, Murrieta Valley won an opening round bracket match against Citrus Valley before falling to Orange Lutheran 25-20, 25-13.

  • Durango Classic recap

Vista Murrieta made their annual trip to the Durango Fall Classic in Las Vegas this weekend and the Broncos held their own against a tough field. They posted a mark of 2-4 and finished tied for 39th in one of the toughest tournaments in high school volleyball.

  • League Updates

Southwestern League

Defending champion Vista Murrieta received quite the test from Murrieta Valley as the Nighthawks were the first team to push the Broncos to five sets before falling. In fact, Murrieta Valley played a pair of five set matches last week, splitting their matches after going the distance with Chaparral in a five-set win on Thursday, Sept. 21. After two weeks of play Vista Murrieta is 4-0, Temecula Valley and Murrieta Valley are 3-1 and Chaparral is 2-2. Great Oak and Murrieta Mesa are both 0-4.

Mountain Pass League

Hemet West Valley (receiving votes in division six) and Tahquitz are atop the league at 4-0, Liberty is 2-2, San Jacinto and Citrus Hill are both 1-3 while Perris is 0-4. West Valley last week survived an upset bid from Liberty (receiving votes in division eight) who took them to five sets at home before falling. Jaylene Goodson recorded 12 kills for West Valley in the win while Kamryn Hubbell added 11. Skye Rosales added four aces and 27 assists for the Mustangs while Angeleen Fabrigas had 21 digs. Paige Rash had ten kills and 14 digs for Liberty while Dakota Jove and Lilly Webb each added three aces. The two sides play again on Tuesday, Oct. 10, in Hemet.

Liberty’s Cydne Dougherty had 15 assists and eight digs in a five-set loss against back-to-back Mountain Pass League champion Hemet West Valley. Valley News/Action Captures Media Group

Majestic League

Cornerstone Christian, enjoying their best season since the CIF-SS championship in 2019, swept Crossroads Christian/Corona and as a result will play Calvary Baptist/La Verne at home on Thursday for early control of the Majestic League title race. Both the Crusaders and Cougars are 5-0 in league and have not dropped a set so far.

  • Matches to Watch

– Murrieta Valley at Temecula Valley 

– Tuesday, Sept. 26 at 6:30 P.M. 

Both teams start the week trailing first place Vista Murrieta by a match and whoever loses this match will likely see their Southwestern League title hopes also go away. After back to back five set matches last week and an appearance at the Freeway Games tournament one has to wonder how much the Nighthawks have left in the tank? Meanwhile, the Golden Bears made quick work of Great Oak in their Thursday night match. 

– Temecula Prep at Desert Christian Academy 

– Tuesday, Sept. 26 at 4:45 P.M. 

Simply put, the South Valley League championship is at stake as Temecula Prep makes the trip out to the desert for their final matchup of the year against the Conquerors. 

Kalea Mejia of Temecula Prep goes up for a block in non-league action against Cornerstone Christian. The Patriots are ranked second in Division Eight this week. Valley News/Time Stood Still Photography

– Paloma Valley at Elsinore 

– Wednesday, Sept. 27 at 5:30 P.M. 

In the final year with these two programs as league rivals the question is how many of their two matches will go five sets? Last year the answer was just one. Elsinore begins the toughest part of their Ivy League schedule, playing both of last year’s co-champions and Rancho Christian in a span of five days. Meanwhile, Paloma Valley comes into the week after holding their own at Santiago’s Freeway Games tournament. 

– Vista Murrieta at Temecula Valley 

– Thursday, Sept. 28 at 6:30 P.M. 

Last year after their trip to Durango the Broncos faced their toughest match in Southwestern League play on the road against the Golden Bears who took a set from Vista Murrieta in their first meeting at Bronco Arena.

– Vista Murrieta at Temecula Valley

– Thursday, Sept. 28 at 6:30 P.M.

Last year after their trip to Durango the Broncos faced their toughest match in Southwestern League play on the road against the Golden Bears who took a set from Vista Murrieta in their first meeting at Bronco Arena.

– Calvary Baptist at Cornerstone Christian

– Thursday, Sept. 28 at 5:30 P.M.

A year ago, the Cornerstone Christian girls volleyball team struggled to a 2-19 mark overall and was 2-10 in Majestic League play. Longtime coach Ryan Shipley resigned and was replaced by Paul Amoy, who guided Calvary Murrieta to back-to-back section titles in ‘07 and ‘08. They’ve already eclipsed last year’s win total and on Thursday night will play Calvary Baptist for early control of the Majestic League championship.

  • CIF-SS Coaches Polls

Four Valley News area teams find themselves in the CIF-SS top ten for their respective playoff divisions while another four are receiving votes in the poll dated Monday, Sept. 18.

After surviving a five-set thriller against Rancho Christian (who is receiving votes in division five) Paloma Valley remained the eighth ranked team in division four.

Despite a coaching change at midseason, highlighted here, Linfield Christian (who is 8-2 since Kat Pierce took over for Dana Ortiz) stays atop the rankings in division six.

Temecula Prep stays in the second spot in this week’s division eight rankings while California Lutheran also stays ranked ninth.

Also receiving votes in their respective playoff divisions besides Rancho Christian are West Valley (Division Six), Liberty (Division Eight) and Cornerstone Christian (Division Nine).

Paloma Valley’s Grace Liesemeyer earns the Valley News Player of the Week award for her stellar play in a five-set win against Rancho Christian and earning the Wildcats all-tournament selection at Corona Santiago’s Freeway Games tournament. Valley News/Action Captures Media Group
  • Player of the Week

Grace Liesemeyer, Paloma Valley

In a Thursday night win over Rancho Christian, it was Liesemeyer anchoring the Paloma Valley defense with 15 of her team’s 71 digs in the five-set thriller along with adding three aces. Over the weekend she also earned all-tournament honors at Corona Santiago’s Freeway Games tournament. “Grace is our hustle and energy,” Wildcats coach Stephen Kaas said. “All of the other coaches we played against this last weekend said great things about her play against an impressive field, earning our All-Tournament selection in the process.”

Derryl Trujillo can be reached by email at