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On the Beat Volleyball: In the gym and on the sand

Posted: May 4, 2014 9:07 p.m.
Updated: May 4, 2014 9:07 p.m.

Springtime is usually when local boys volleyball players get to be the center of attention.

But while the high school boys teams are in season, some of Santa Clarita Valley’s best girls players are showcasing themselves around the country.

Last week, a club volleyball team featuring six SCV girls qualified for the 2014 USA Volleyball Girls’ Junior National Olympics, which will take place this summer in Minneapolis.

The team, coached by Kristin Dolan, is the 17-1 Los Angeles Volleyball Academy team based out of the club’s north location at the Santa Clarita Athletic Club.

Local players included on the team are: Valencia High’s Hayley Alvarez and Emily Bible, Saugus High’s Robyn Underwood, Hart High’s Claire Cansler and Brianne Beeman, and West Ranch High’s Haylee Fricke.

The team is also made up of players from Quartz Hill as well as Notre Dame High of Sherman Oaks.

This group qualified for the prestigious national competition via the Far Western tournament held in Reno, Nev. from April 25-27.

The Junior National Olympics is scheduled from June 24 to July 3 and it will include club teams from all corners of the nation.

This event is seen as USA Volleyball’s version of a national championship event for club volleyball teams.

On the sand: Speaking of Valencia High School, two alumni from the school were in action over the weekend in the American Volleyball Coaches Association Sand Volleyball National Championships in Gulf Shores, Ala.

Former Valencia Vikings Sierra Sanchez (Florida State) and Delaney Knudsen (Pepperdine) competed in the college sand volleyball national

Knudsen helped Pepperdine win the team national title.

The two college freshmen are the first Santa Clarita Valley products to ever earn scholarships for the newly sanctioned NCAA sport, which began in 2012.

Valencia continues its success in the high school world as well. Now in its third year of existence, the Valencia beach team will begin the playoffs on Tuesday in the Amateur Athletic Union’s Interscholastic Beach Volleyball League.

Valencia is 10-0 this season and will enter the postseason ranked No. 2 in the league made up of 47 teams.

That number is now narrowed to a 28-team playoff bracket.

In the league’s inaugural season in 2012, Valencia won the championship. It then followed up with a runner-up finish last spring.

This week, Valencia will try to reach the championship round for the third straight year.

Trinity Classical Academy is the only other local school that fields a beach team in this newly formed league, though Trinity didn’t make the playoffs this year.

The boys side: Let’s not forget about that other league that means so much to the local community — the Foothill League.

There weren’t any major surprises this week in league play. The Valencia boys did what was expected and won both of its matches to wrap up the outright league title.

In the week’s most intriguing matchup, West Ranch toppled Saugus 3-0 in a battle of teams that were tied for second place going in.

Due to tiebreaking procedures, West Ranch has already locked up the No. 2 spot in Foothill regardless of the outcomes of
Tuesday’s league finales.

The most meaningful contest on Tuesday will be between Hart and Canyon. Canyon sits at fourth place in league and a match ahead of Hart in the standings.

If Canyon wins at home, it will have a chance for an at-large playoff bid thanks to its respectable 14-8-1 overall record. It would be Canyon’s first playoff appearance since 2009.

Here are this week’s team rankings:

1. Valencia

2. West Ranch

3. Saugus

4. Canyon

5. Hart

6. Golden Valley


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