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Improved CHS volleyball team marches forward in CIF

Claremont High School girls volleyball inched past their first challenger in the CIF playoffs easily on Tuesday night, defeating the Sonora Raiders of La Habra 3-0.

The victory marked a storybook season for the girls, with a 9-1 record in league play and the Pack’s first league title since 1998.

Watching the team play, their talent is obvious. With smooth, confident motions they effortlessly get the ball where their top hitters will get a kill. And boy did they get kills Monday, led by Simone Bliss with 14 and Emilee Rohrer with 12.

Claremont came out strong in the first set, going up by three before Sonora got on the board, and pretty much maintaining a five-point lead all the way to the 25-17 finish.

The second set was a different story with Sonora holding a narrow lead until the Pack tied at the score at 8. From there Claremont reasserted their dominance, limiting the Raiders to just seven more points and an eventual 25-16 win. The second set also saw a large number of points given up through serving errors including four by Claremont. Claremont coach Dan Reighter indicated that he was pushing his team to try more difficult serves, which may have accounted for the ones that missed.

The final set was more like the first with Claremont controlling the pace and, even though Sonora tied the score twice, it was the most lopsided victory for Claremont with a 24-10 final result.

In spite of the lopsided score both teams played skillfully, including execution of some amazing saves. The Pack had some great defensive plays and passing with 14 digs from Bel Grabowski, 22 assists from Kylie Robinson 22 assists, and 15 assists from Merisa Marquez. Robinson also had four serving aces.

The girls program at Claremont has been a revolving door for head coaches recently, so Coach Reighter being able to pull off a league title in his first year is an accomplishment.

“I have to give it more to the girls than myself,” he said following the game. “The seniors have had four coaches in four years but they really came together and picked up the pace. I just had to make sure they stayed together.”

Bliss had a great game both on offense and defense and, along with Rohrer, showed some leadership as well. “She [Bliss] is definitely one of the top two players on the team, it will be interesting without her next year but some of the players we have coming up should be good,” Coach Reighter said. 

If Claremont prevails in the Gahr game Thursday, November 3 in Cerritos, they will be back in Claremont on Saturday. Be sure to see our updated coverage on claremont-courier.com Friday.

—Steven Felschundneff

steven@claremont-courier.com