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Girls volleyball falls short against tough league opponents

There’s good news right out of the gate for Claremont girls volleyball in 2018. Coach Angel Posada has remained with the team for a second year. That may seem underwhelming, until one looks at the previous seven years rosters with an astounding seven different coaches.

The return of Coach Posada gives the girls some consistency, which is particularly valuable considering the newly reorganized Palomares League looks to be quite competitive.

The girls got their first taste of that competition last week when they lost a 3-2 heartbreaker to Alta Loma, one of the two new league teams.

On Tuesday, Claremont had a chance to redeem that close loss when they hosted first-place Glendora. The first two sets were so close, it was difficult to keep track how many times the score was tied. The Tartans prevailed in the first set, 25-23, but Claremont reversed fortunes in the second with a 25-23 win of their own.

That is when it all fell apart. The third set was tied at four when Glendora went on a six-point winning streak and never looked back, expanding the gap to a 25-12 final. Unfortunately, the fourth and final set was more of the same, ending in a decisive 25-11 victory for the Tartans and the 3-1 win.

Both teams played very well, but the Tartans seemed more polished and the Pack was prone to making costly unforced errors. The loss brings Claremont to 1-3 for the new season, and 0-2 in league.

“The girls just lost confidence and they [Glendora] pulled a few things we hadn’t seen yet and we weren’t able to stay calm in those adjustments. Anyone who has seen the sport enough knows when you can’t stay calm it is very easy to just break down and that leads to a domino effect taking over,” Coach Posada said.

“We had our bright moments but every time we did, we canceled it out with something negative. Whether it was a missed serve after a great play, a dropped ball after a great block or a great pass that then swung into the net,” he said.

Some bright moments came from outside hitter Sonia Bliss, who played a very aggressive and controlled game at the net, and new libero Alex Price who did a fine job keeping the ball in play.

“Alex Price was our defensive specialist last year. She competed for the libero position this year, did her off-season training and showed us the confidence that she was the right choice,” Coach Posada said. “From there we just tried to pick up other players to fill in the roles.”

Claremont lost some key offensive stars to graduation and that void has not been fully filled. Coach Posada brought up several girls from JV, but the team simply needs more time to gel and find its groove. The Pack had a very short preseason, just three games, so they are still in the team-building process, even as the league is well under way. And then there is the new league lineup.

“It’s made teams a little more equal,” Coach Posada said of the rearranged Palomares League. “It’s a challenge. Colony is going to be a good school. Alta Loma is a challenging team and not easy to take down. But every team in this league has some kind of weakness, even Glendora showed their weakness in our one [winning] set.”

He predicts the league will be like last year when the first place position bounced back and forth all season. “I think Colony, Alta Loma and Glendora will be great battles,” he said.

“Losing will always be a bummer. You deal with it as fast as you can and move on to the next one. My mind is on Colony,” Coach Posada said. Claremont played Colony Thursday after press time.

 

CHS baseball coaches resign citing ‘external factors’

Claremont High School baseball coach Ron La Chase resigned last week citing “limitations and external factors” as reasons for his decision.

CHS Athletic Director Mike Collins said he was sorry to see Coach La Chase leave, but could not comment further because it was a personnel matter. He said the open position will be posted for the next couple of weeks, and the baseball program will be on hold until a new coach can be hired.

Assistant coaches Ron Jones and Ryan Jones also resigned.

The COURIER obtained a letter from Coach La Chase to the “Wolfpack baseball family” dated August 30, in which he thanks the parents, coaches and players for their hard work and dedication. In a message directly to the players he stated, “My goal was to teach you important qualities that you will need to be successful adults.”

Regarding why he decided to leave, the letter states:

“I am resigning from my current position as head coach from Claremont High School because I do not think that I can pursue my position here to my fullest potential while maintaining my standards of integrity. I came to the conclusion that limitations and external factors will be too big of a distraction to continue as a successful baseball coach.”

The Pack had a pretty good season in 2018. After losing their first five league games the boys made a late rally that included a 6-5 upset over first place South Hills. Claremont ended up with a 13-14 record overall, 6-9 in Palomares League.

Baseball is a spring sport so there is ample time to find a new coach with a minimum interruption to the program, according to Mr. Collins.

—Steven Felschundneff

steven@claremont-courier.com