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Winning streak sends CHS straight to CIF playoffs

When the COURIER reported on Claremont High School boys volleyball just over two weeks ago, the Pack was 2-2 in the Hacienda League and was in third place. The challenge was to hold on to that ranking in order to qualify for post-season play.

Instead, Claremont won all of their remaining conference games, including two matches that went to five sets, and now have secured the league title.

“They just refused to lose,” coach Bernie Wendling said during practice on Tuesday at CHS. “Both the Los Altos and Diamond Ranch games went to five sets, they just worked so hard.”

In addition to the close games, Claremont also won the Damien and West Covina matches 3-0.

Coach Wendling has enjoyed remarkable success at Claremont during his 20-year tenure, so the come from behind victory was a particularly fitting end since Claremont has been rebuilding in recent years.

The Pack will actually share the title with Damien and Los Altos with all three ending the season with a 6-2 record. In spite of the tie, Coach Wendling said he was hopeful that the Pack would have the home court advantage when the CIF draws are announced on Friday. However, he also said that playing at home in the second round may be better in the long run because the first round games tend to be easier to win.

During practice the boys were playing a short scrimmage to keep in form for the upcoming playoffs. The mood was noticeably light, but the boys still worked hard to earn each point. After a half hour or so coach Wendling called for a break as he reminded them to practice at a level 6 or 7, so that during the games they could play at a level 10.

The Pack played a non-conference game against Garden Grove after press time on Thursday and will play their first round CIF match on Tuesday.

—Steven Felschundneff

steven@claremont-courier.com