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West Ranch volleyball clinches outright Foothill title

West Ranch is first team other than Valencia to win league since 2000

Posted: April 25, 2013 10:04 p.m.
Updated: April 25, 2013 10:04 p.m.

A.J. Smith, center, and his teammates celebrate after winning against Golden Valley at Golden Valley High on Thursday.

West Ranch Wildcats boys volleyball reached all kinds of new milestones last season with a deep run into the playoffs.

The Wildcats just added another big one to the list, and this one comes with a banner.

In less than dramatic fashion on Thursday at Golden Valley High School, West Ranch completed the task that has appeared inevitable for the last couple weeks by clinching an outright Foothill League championship, easily beating the Golden Valley Grizzlies 3-0 by scores of 25-19, 25-20, 25-9.

It’s the first boys volleyball league title in school history, and it’s the first time any team other than Valencia has won the Foothill League since 2000, when Canyon won with a perfect 9-0 record.

That was four years before West Ranch High School opened its doors.

“For the past couple years, we’ve seen our program growing a lot and knowing that we had so many guys returning from last year and Valencia was going to be losing some guys, we knew that this was going to be our year. And it has been,” said West Ranch head coach Nate Sparks.

Last season, after finishing second in league, West Ranch made it further than it had ever gone before in the playoffs by winning three matches on its way to reaching the CIF-Southern Section Division II semifinals.

With key returners like Tanner Skabelund and Christian Cayabyab returning as seniors this year, it put the Wildcats (22-8 overall, 9-0 Foothill League) as consensus league title favorites.
“Valencia has had that huge running streak for 12 years,” said West Ranch senior Brenton Scott. “That’s a big streak, and overcoming Valencia was really rewarding.”

West Ranch secured at least a share of the title on Tuesday with a win over Saugus. Thursday’s win at Golden Valley made it official with Hart sitting in second place and two matches behind.

“It’s a big deal,” said Scott, who had 10 kills on Thursday. “It’s an honor and it really kind of shows the talent and the commitment that we’ve had this year as well as the coaching. It’s been great.”

West Ranch has rolled through league play with authority this year, winning all nine matches by 3-0 scores.

Against Golden Valley (0-12, 0-9), the Wildcats were just as dominant as ever.

With the team’s top outside hitter, Skabelund, sitting out most of the match due to illness, Andrew Dieterle led West Ranch with 13 kills.

Ben Davis added 21 digs and Cayabyab tallied 27 assists after playing in just two games.

The Grizzlies had their best shot in the second game when the score was tied 12-12, but West Ranch’s power and height took over.

Tristan Murachanian led Golden Valley with six kills and Bradley Surette added three kills, 12 digs and two blocks.

“We’re trying to see who’s really competing,” said Golden Valley head coach Derek Saenz. “It’s a long-term goal for me. We don’t have any seniors on our team so we could conceivably get all of them back next year.”

As for West Ranch, it can complete a perfect 10-0 run through league with a win over Valencia in Tuesday’s league finale.



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