Category Archives: high school volleyball

Former friends

The friendship is off.

University High volleyball star Naryah Burton buried Lighthouse’s shot at State playoffs. The junior exploited her intimate knowledge of the playing skills of Lighthouse’s four stars against them. She had played with them as a club teammate.

The Wildcats tore open the Saints 25-22, 25-12 and 25-20.

Hmf. What kind of friendship is treachery?

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“It was very bittersweet. I played with them for a year in club,” Naryah says, feeling sorry for her friends but happy with her own performance. “I know how they play, so I kind of used that to my advantage. I didn’t want to beat them bad.”

Allie Scribner, Roxy Photenhauer, Clara Czer and Dahlia Gonzalez went home with no spoils.

Like a spy embedded deep in enemy territory, Naryah utilized espionage of her adversaries’ (former friends’) strengths, weaknesses, strategies, emotional resilence — everything.

It was a hacker’s haul, like the time when North Korea breached the Pentagon’s computers and downloaded top secret military plans of South Korea and the United States against it.

Dirty and devastating.

But as Coach Jessica Scribner points out, not all the blame can be pinned on enemy reconnaissance. As not all the blame can be assigned to notably taller players.

Lighthouse Christian Academy of Santa Monica entered the Uni High gym with saucer eyes — like country girls visiting Chicago for the first time and gazing upwards amazed at the skyscrapers. It’s been 10 years since Lighthouse has advanced to semi finals in playoffs.

“We could’ve done it,” Jessica says. “I think we could’ve at least fought harder than they did. They’re not sweating. Sure, we started a little slow. They were so wanting to do good that they didn’t actually do it. They didn’t get down and dirty. Some of them were sweating, but I didn’t see them fighting for it like they normally do. I think some of them were a little lazy.”

Not all was bad. Frida Macías played at a higher-than-normal level. Rally Allie never gave up. Her push in the third game raised the Saints from losing 17-9 to nearly come-from-behind win of 17-17.

Roxy wreaked… Read the rest: High school volleyball in Santa Monica

The Little Philosopher

There she was, their leader, in the dark hallway adjacent to the gym as some girls cried, imparting mental strength to her team even after a semifinal defeat. The girls were listening to Coach. Then Allie Scribner took over talking.

“I know this sucks and you’re all thinking about your mistakes,” the team captain said. “But right now, you need to think about what we accomplished this season. We went really far. We’ve made people proud of us. This hasn’t happened in forever. We are literally making memories. We’ve been a team this whole season. We’ll stay a team. I love you all equally.”

The spry sophomore produced some jaw-dropping hits, sets and serves all season to befuddle opponents and lead the Lighthouse Christian Academy of Santa Monica into semifinals. The Saints lost in Game 5 to AGBU Manoogian-Demirdjian School in Canoga Park Saturday.

Allie has cycled through a list of nicknames highlighting her prowess. She’s been called a gunslinger for her serves. She’s been said to fly like a butterfly and sting like a bee (playing off the nearly homonymous Ali). Her performance continued to inspire Saturday: Rally Allie, Aerial Allie. She blocked AGBU three plays in a row.

There she was, their leader, in the dark hallway adjacent to the gym as some girls cried, imparting mental strength to her team even after a semifinal defeat. The girls were listening to Coach. Then Allie Scribner took over talking.

“I know this sucks and you’re all thinking about your mistakes,” the team captain said. “But right now, you need to think about what we accomplished this season. We went really far. We’ve made people proud of us. This hasn’t happened in forever. We are literally making memories. We’ve been a team this whole season. We’ll stay a team. I love you all equally.”

The spry sophomore produced some jaw-dropping hits, sets and serves all season to befuddle opponents and lead the Lighthouse Christian Academy of Santa Monica into semifinals. The Saints lost in Game 5 to AGBU Manoogian-Demirdjian School in Canoga Park Saturday.

Allie has cycled through a list of nicknames highlighting her prowess. She’s been called a gunslinger for her serves. She’s been said to fly like a butterfly and sting like a bee (playing off the nearly homonymous Ali). Her performance continued to inspire Saturday: Rally Allie, Aerial Allie. She blocked AGBU three plays in a row… Read the rest: Lighthouse Christian Academy of Santa Monica bounces out of playoffs in semifinals

Claramente

To keep from panicking in tense games, Clara Czer says a keyword to herself when she goes to hit or serve. Usually, the word derives from her personal faith.

“I was really nervous,” the junior says. “The only thing on my mind was Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.”

Lighthouse Christian Academy fended off a public high school 73 times larger Wednesday to advance into semi-finals, but it drew down a cardiac Game 5 in which they were trailing 6-11.

Chaffey High School from Ontario, with 3,300 students, was within four points to win. Lighthouse, population 45, needed to surmount nine points.

“We had to really struggle in the last set,” says Roxy Photenhauer. “All of us agreed it was God. We came back from that time out, and we did not let a ball drop. We really, really, really fought hard because we owed it to ourselves and the rest of our teammates.”

At the end of the day, Game 5 went 18-16. (Game 5 goes to 15, but you have to win by two points.)

It was a scrappy win that saw the Saints lose some of the former fine form. LCA’s main hatchet-bearer Dahlia Gonzalez struggled with long hits. Squandering opportunities, serves went long. Players played through injury and sickness.

It was an agonizing game.

In Game 1, Lighthouse relapsed into a habitual poor form. Throughout the season, the Saints don’t seem to hit the ground running but take a full first game to find their form. Down for the whole game, they lost 17-25.

In Game 2, after both teams staying neck-and-neck, Lighthouse pulled away to seal off a 25-21 victory.

In Game 3, Lighthouse went down 5-11 receiving Chaffey’s strong serves like mortar shells.

But the girls kept their mental strength and rallied to level at 12-12. Elizabeth Foreman, LCA’s tall center, was slicing up the opposition with hits that cut like a warm knife through a cheesecake.

Having come from behind, Lighthouse finished off 25-18.

Momentum was on the Saints’ side.

But the Tigers pounced on their opportunities in Game 4 and pulled ahead in the middle of the game, while Lighthouse committed errors. The set ended 20-25.

Both teams were even with two wins, but Chaffey were riding high in confidence.

In Game 5, the Tigers continued to wreak havoc with its strong serves, pulling ahead 6-11 — a mere four points from victory. But in the time out, a flush Clara rallied the troops: “There were so many times that we were all so defeated. But I was like no, it’s not 15 yet.”

Suddenly, Dahlia, in the serving position, rediscovered her inner HIMARS. As 200 Saints fans shouted “Do it again, Dahlia!” the sophomore aimed and took fire. The Ukrainians take out Russian tanks, Dahlia hunted Tigers.

It became 13-11.

With hearts leaping out of chests on both sides, went 14-13 and then 16-16.

Either side needed two points.

With Chaffey serving, the girls played for 27 seconds back and forth, with both sides being cautious to not make a mistake, until Chaffey hit the ball into the night and Lighthouse got the point and the serve.

Roxie served a sinking ball that forced the Tigers into a dive on the floor. The return for the Saints was easy but instead of smashing the ball, sophomore Allie Scribner played it safe and lobbed the ball over.

When Chaffey returned it, Allie set… Read the rest: Santa Monica Christian school volleyball.

The Wrath of Dahlia in volleyball

One poor Packinghouse player wore the face of shell shock.

Dahlia Gonzalez sledge-hammered a ball down so hard and at such an acute angle that it landed in the first row.

Her opponent, who had no chance to return it, stood in astonishment for a moment as if the gods had decreed by oracle an evil future.

Welcome to Dolly’s woods.

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There’s no other way to say it. Dahlia — called Dolly by her closest friends — LEVITATED.

She was on a totally other level Saturday evening at Memorial Park in Santa Monica when Lighthouse Christian Academy sent Packinghouse packing in three straight sets to advance to round 3 of playoffs.

“Dahlia hit her best and served her best ever today,” remarks Coach Jessica Young.

LCA, student population 45, who slinked into playoffs on a wildcard win, is now a victory march to (dare we dream?) the unthinkable.

With two losses in its regular season, how can this be happening?

The girls, mostly sophomores and juniors, have been to go; I was done. And God impressed on her heart: I’m not done with you yet. I love you and I’m not done with you… Read the rest: The Wrath of Dahlia in volleyball.

She flies like a butterfly and stings like a bee

But she’s not Ali, as in Mohammad. She’s Allie, as in Scribner. She just led LCA girls volleyball to first round playoff win in 10 years.

She’s from a different time and a different sport, but she’s a champion just like her fellow top fighter, nearly honomymously named Muhammad Ali.

Oh, she’s a heavyweight, for sure.

Allie Scribner believed in herself and believed in her team to play an almost perfect game against Eisenhauer High School Thursday evening in Rialto.

The sophomore team captain aced serves, chased balls, launched perfect sets from anywhere on the court. She hit with power and blocked with ferocity. She took flight like a butterfly and stung her opponents like a swarm.

And when it came down to the last set and all Lighthouse Christian Academy needed was three serves to win its first second round playoff game in a decade, Allie with ice in her veins didn’t waver.

She aced one, slammed another and crushed a third.

“Allie’s a beast,” said Coach Jessica Young. “I feel like she’s got a lot of testosterone. She never gives up. Allie just made one mistake. She touches the ball every play. She plays smart. She’s looking for holes constantly. She’s encouraging to the team. She gives great set after great set.”

Fellow heavywieght Dahlia Gonzalez made the last block of the game, and the tiny school from Santa Monica beat the high school with 2,200 students. Lighthouse with just 45 students has a talent pool 50 times smaller to draw from.

The girls burst into tears. They slumped over onto the court. They hugged each other in disbelief.

As if culminating a season of practice and games, Lighthouse played its best game ever in Game 4, edging the Eagles 27-25. In Game 5, they nearly lost it on the final stretch, falling a couple points behind until they sealed the victory 15-13.

But the Saints started weakly, losing 11-25.

Thir spikes went long. Their serves were poor. The girls didn’t click. Meanwhile, Eisenhauer played smartly with precious few mistakes.

“We started out really weak. We were missing our starter, Elizabeth (Foreman),” said Coach Jessica. “All the odds were against us today. Roxy’s wrist today, Allie’s wrist, Clara’s foot, now Dahlia did something to her thigh. But we just claim that with God all things are possible.”

By Game 2, Lighthouse started to find its form. The irony is that the winning streak of points was struck by senior Ireland Daniel. She serves underhanded. At times, it appears her lobs barely make it over the net. Opponents snickered and sneered.

Yet they struggled against Ireland, perhaps because they had no practice against the beginner’s method of serving. Ireland sparked the turnaround run to victory.

“Nobody is serving underhanded right now, and maybe… Read the rest: She flies like a butterfly and stings like a bee.

Miraculous volleyball in Santa Monica

It was a game the Lighthouse Christian Academy wanted desperately to win. Not only were they fighting for second place, they were avenging their wounds from last year when Beacon Hill executed a stinging shutdown of Saints prowess.

So when two key players got injured, everyone was biting their lip worriedly.

Allie “Everything” Scribner sprained her wrist, and Clara “Fireball” Czer sprained her ankle. Allie got injured when Dahlia Gonzalez smashed the ball too hard at her hand during practice, and Clara got injured when a boy crossed the lie during a pickup game and landed on foot.

A few voices on the sidelines fumed: What were you thinking?!? Shouldn’t you have taken care of yourself better??? Can’t the boys…

But then something weird — miraculous — happened. Pastor Charlie Foreman, who loves to pray for the sick and injured — prayed. It wasn’t illegal sports doping. But it was, people say, outside of the normal purview of natural events.

It was another kind of PT. Not Physical Therapy. It was Prayer Therapy.

Allie recovered. On Monday against Panorama High School she actually was flinging herself all over the court diving for balls as if she needed to prove her body with a thorough thrashing. She played unrestrainedly and unaffected.

Meanwhile, Clara was sidelined on Monday. But she got prayer on Tuesday just before the big game. The pain… Read the rest: Miracles in Santa Monica volleyball

She’s Pho real

Some like it hot.

Lighthouse fans were savoring the Pho on a hot streak on Monday.

After a lackluster Game 1, Lighthouse Christian Academy gave Junior Roxy Photehauer the ball and told her to serve up some spicy noodles. The next five serves were too hot to handle for the Panorama High School Pythons.

“Roxy’s serving was great. Her digs were also good,” says sophomore Frida Macias. “This was one of her best games. She was ready every single time.”


LCA pulled away and cruised to a comfortable three straight wins thereafter.

Roxy typically plays libero. But since LCA was missing a key player due to injury, Coach Jessica Young thought to put her in the normal rotation. It didn’t seem to work as well.

After Game 1, Roxy confided to Coach: “I just want to dive for a ball.”

She changed jerseys and came out with some graceful lunges that looked like Tarzan swinging through the jungle. Panorama had a hard time finding the floor. “We won everything with her as libero,” says Coach Jessica. “She was hungry to get the hard balls.”

Then she came up for serves and fired off some sizzling hot serves.

It was LCA’s first game against a public school since anyone could remember, and maybe the girls were intimidated by the a gym bigger than they’ve seen full of Panorama students cheering their team. The gym — honoring their mascot, the python — bears the words: “Welcome to the snake pit.”

“I think they were slightly intimidated,” says Coach Jessica. “Everybody was… Read the rest: Santa Monica private school volleyball season 2022

War of the Battleships

Her older sister was quiet, studious and not too sporty. So who was the expect that the younger sister would be loud and make the game-winning hit as a freshman who was in her third game ever?

But Keziah Mendez won the wild cheers of the hometown fans, hitting a smartly-angled ball over the net that Gorman Learning Center couldn’t return for the last point of the game.

She’s 5’0″, and prior to joining Lighthouse Christian Academy of Santa Monica, she had never played volleyball, not even at church.

“That was really nice,” she said modestly, deflecting credit. “I missed multiple passes. I hit a few balls that were out. The one ball that was in, I let it go by. The girls on the team are very nice, and the coach is very encouraging.”

Oh, then there was the dive to the ground to rescue a team play. Keziah dove like Superwoman, popped up the ball just before Read the rest: Only third time playing volleyball? No problem. Just do heroics.

Four more inches, please

Everyday, before class gets underway with academics, Allie Scribner asks for prayer to grow four more inches — to be an even more competitive volleyballer.

Those four inches would have come in handy on Tuesday. Hillcrest Christian School, with taller girls, deployed effective blocking to stymie Lighthouse Christian Academy’s spiking game.

Lighthouse lost in five sets: 25-18, 20-25, 25-18, 16-25, 9-15.

The girls huddled in prayer after their first loss in four games so far this season.

“Lighthouse was so good at digging the ball that it got in our heads ,” admits Hillcrest Coach Michael Westphal, commenting on a battled, drawn-out victory that required the full five games to liquidate.

Lighthouse employs a dynamic style of play that culminates in spiking even when it starts with some of the most mind-boggling digs. It’s a team effort that has steamrolled so far this season.

To knockdown the LCA powerhouse, Hillcrest put to good use its mostly taller players. About one-third of the spikes fell back to Lighthouse, which mostly couldn’t pop back up to keep in play.

“Our blockers were great,” Coach Michael says. Read the rest: Four more inches, please

God save the Queen!

She actually signed her Shakespeare Sonnet quiz “Queen Elizabeth.”

Maybe she was being facetions, but later Thursday afternoon, she appropriated the title on the volleyball court by completing the reign of terror of Lighthouse Christian Academy’s strike force.

Dahlia Gonzalez and Clara Czer (also Frida Macias) provided the crossing spikes from opposite corners, creating havoc to the well-organized Gator team.

Then, senior Elizabeth Foreman provided the quick surprise shot from the middle that caught off guard forces deployed to deal with deadly corner attacks.

Accordingly, Lighthouse won 3 of 4 sets to extend its season winning streak to three.

After narrowly losing its first game 23-25, LCA won the second game 25-18, its third 25-19 and its fourth 25-20 in hard-fought, adrenaline-surging match.

After flaying the Gators, Lighthouse was feeling Gucci.

Lighthouse started sleepy. It seems like one of LCA’s problems is hitting its stride. In the first set, the Saints miffed spikes and serves go down 4-12. Eventually, they found their form and closed the gap, not enough to win though.

It was the last time… Read the rest: God save the Queen!

Happy Halloween: LCA’s volleyball serves struck fear

It wasn’t Friday the 13th. It was Tuesday the 13th.

And LCA’s sophomore Clara Czer was striking fear into the hearts of her opponents.

“I’ve played with Clara since the fifth grade, and Clara has always, always, always been a competitive person. Everyone ever has been scared of her. Everyone,” says junior Roxy Photenhauer. “Every coach, every player. Because she’s so fierce.”

Happy Halloween.

Clara lashed five straight aces in the final set to ice off Westmark School. Lighthouse Christian Academy of Santa Monica shut down the Lions 25-11, 25-13, 25-11 on Tuesday — Sept. 13 — at the Chatsworth’s 1st Place Sports Complex.

“I’d be scared to pass her serves,” admits teammate Dahlia Gonzalez, a sophomore. “She’s a light on our team, but darkness for the other side.” Read the rest: Varsity volleyball terrors in Santa Monica

Zeus-like spikes at LCA of Santa Monica

The Lighthouse Christian Academy launched its girls volleyball season Thursday and Zeus showed up for the win.

The latest incarnation of Zeus is sophomore Dahlia Gonzalez, who rained down lightbolts upon the hapless San Fernando Valley Academy Huskies. LCA won in three straight sets 25-10, 25-4 and 25-14.

Their attack was pointedly improved over last year, which was a positive season with 8 wins and 3 losses. The speed of serves and spikes, plus the downward angles, showed solid improvement. Last year’s team was formed with a solid core of sophmores and freshmen, a portent for future dominance.

One thing that stood out from the Thursday’s win was Dahlia’s sound barrier-breaking spikes. In the final play of… Read the rest: Zeus showed up at Lighthouse Christian Academy’s volleyball opener.

Unhappy feet

They are happy girls. But they needed happy feet.

Frida Macias is emblematic. She likes art and architecture. At least once a day, she laughs until she cries. She’s happy-go-lucky.

But Frida and her teammates, facing the toughest team in the league, didn’t have happy feet. On Thursday in Camarillo, Beacon Hill Academy delivered hits that feel like lightning bolts from Zeus, and a lot of their serves landed like attacks.

Lighthouse Christian Academy, if it was going to put a fight, had to move quickly on the court.

They didn’t. LCA lost in three straight sets: 10-25, 14-25, 11-25.

“We shouldn’t let so many balls drop,” Coach Jessica Young said. “When they decide to work hard and sacrifice their bodies, then we’ll be better.”

So happy feet that move fast.

“I feel like I could have done better by moving my feet,” Frida said. “But overall I think I did really good for this good team. At sometimes I was a little frustrated with myself because I wasn’t really moving my feet.”

LCA also needed to dive to return lightning bolts.

With an 8-2 season, the Saints will likely get into playoffs. Read the rest: Unhappy feet in volleyball

Wacky Wednesday, Whacky Tuesday

For WACKY Wednesday, Clara Czer wore impossible hair to school. For WHACKING Tuesday, the sophomore was whacking balls down upon her adversaries.

Lighthouse Christian Academy made full use of her hits (13) and kills (5) to beat San Fernando Valley Academy 3 sets to 1 in an intense girls volleyball competition Tuesday in Northridge.

“Clara was pretty consistent the whole game. She was almost flawless,” Coach Jessica Young said. “She has come a long way from junior high. She is able to control her emotions. She’s probably our best hitter right now. She has pushed herself harder and harder, and she can spike it almost straight down.”

In the last, hard-fought set that drew out to 30-28, Coach Jessica instructed the team to “play smart” in the last back-and-forth trading “just one point to win” moments. Just get the ball over and don’t try to be too aggressive.

Clara still did — successfully — back row spikes.

“I thought inside, ‘Oh she didn’t listen to me,” Coach said. “For her ‘playing smart’ is that aggressive. But she got it in.”

Nobody complains if you don’t mess up.

Lighthouse is now 8-1 and almost virtually guaranteed a playoff spot. Its last season game is Thursday against league-leaders Beacon Hill Classical.

“We had a lot of great team energy. I’m just really proud of us,” Clara said. “I think all of us are really improving. I’m so proud.”

Lighthouse struggled in the first set to adapt. SFVA hosted the game in its Northridge gym, a court covered with carpet. This took LCA off guard because the Saints usually dive for balls.

“At least two of our girls have rug burns,” Coach Jessica said. “They’re bleeding.”

The SFVA gym also had an unusually low roof, and the Saints lost more than one volley just because they hit with their accustomed strength. When the ball hits the roof or a fixture before going over, it’s the other team’s point. They lost the first set 20-25.

By set 2, LCA had recalibrated and won 25-23. “We came back really well,” Clara said. Read the rest: Wacky Wednesday at Santa Monica private school

Gunslingers at volleyball in Santa Monica

Katherine (left) and Allie

Suddenly, the volleyball court disappeared and the scene of a hot and dusty Wild West town emerged.

As a tumbleweed rolled lazily along in the scorching breeze and innocent bystanders scampered for cover, Allie Scribner, hands readied for her quickest draw, squinted sternly at her rival, Westmark’s Katherine Abraham.

When the ref blew the whistle, the gunslinger Allie fired, a blistering serve… straight at the person best able to return it, Katherine.

“I wanted to ace their best player,” Allie explained afterward. “I wanted to make them feel pain.”

It might seem that to liquidate the game efficiently, it was in Lighthouse Christian Academy’s interest to target easy victims with the deadly gunfire.

But when the spirit of posse justice possesses her, Allie turns into a merciless marksman.

“Number 1 had really good serves and overall played really well with the girls,” admitted Katherine, who herself was a powerful player and struck fear into the Santa Monica private school’s heart. Read the rest: Christian private school near Venice, CA – volleyball

Reform school volleyball in Los Angeles

Two years ago, Heidy Hutchinson misbehaved in school and, looking for a fresh start, transferred to Lighthouse Christian Academy in Santa Monica.

On Wednesday, Heidy led the 2nd-string team to a 1st-rate victory against beginner’s team Summit View School to notch-up LCA’s record to 6-1.

“Me and my brother went to public school, we got in trouble, we had to come here,” Heidy says. “We kind of became better people and grew in school. I learned more about God. I got closer to God, and that’s it.”

The sidelines erupted in wild cheers for Heidy as serve after serve — underhanded serves — went over the net and — excuse the pun — netted points for LCA.

They weren’t cheering for Lighthouse, which was unyieldingly driving Summit into the depths. They were cheering strictly for Heidy. She’s come a long way. (Link to an article on Heidy from 2019.)

“I’m not really a sports person. I’m not very athletic,” Heidy says. “I didn’t really want to play volleyball, but Sarah (Montez) and Lakin (Wilson) pushed me to play. They begged me to. I’m really thankful they did because I wouldn’t be playing if they didn’t.”

Lighthouse is NOT a reform school. But they say God can re-form anyone who has taken missteps down the wrong path.

When Heidy scored the last point, players on the bench mobbed her, high-fiving and hugging.

“She got the last winning serve!” Sarah said. “She’s the team captain.”

Heidy is not team captain, but… Read the rest: Christian School Los Angeles sports program

Homage to the Queen

Every ball she hit was for her mother.

Her mother passed away just months ago.

“My hardest hardship was my grieving. My loss,” Dahlia Gonzalez says. “It makes me want to play better… for my mom.”

Mom inspired Dahlia, and the whole Lighthouse Christian Academy team, to victory Tuesday in three sets against Ojai Valley School.

“Dahlia did pretty well this game. She did have an injured finger, but it didn’t seem to hold her back this game,” says Coach Jessica Young. “They were all good. She’s a natural athlete. Some of her passes looked like collegiate level to me. They were beautiful like in a magazine. She made some last-minute saves on the sideline. She can hit ambidextrously.”

Ray Dalio may be the master of the market, but la reina Dahlia is the queen of the court.

She has overcome a lot. The loss of her mother was on top of all the difficulties of Covid and not being around friends and not practicing sports (her preferred is softball).

The Saints dispensed the Spuds (Yes, they call themselves the Spuds. No, potatoes are not a big crop from Ojai) empty-handed.

Playing on grass in the private school’s bucolic Ojai property, LCA team members had to adjust. Hits were affected by breezes. Jumps were harder without the hardwood base. Diving would not displace the fall with a slide of smooth wood surface. Read the rest: Santa Monica Christian school sports volleyball

Houston, we have a problem

After Gorman Learning Center punked Lighthouse girls volleyball 12-25, maybe thought they had the match in the bag. After all, the scored showed a solid domination in Valencia Thursday.

But Allie Scribner got mad.

And game 2 was a role reversal. The freshman got mad and served a string of unreturnable serves. She smashed 11 blistering bowling balls down the alley (get it? For Allie). After rotating through, another six aces and near-aces to rack up points for Lighthouse Christian Academy.

How did Lighthouse answer GLC’s lopsided 12-25, a message of mercilessness and intention to humiliate?

Lighthouse responded by winning the second set 25-11.

They one-upped them by one point.

Houston, we have a problem.

Where did the dramatic turnaround come from?

There are two answers. The Saints complained the pacing of Game 1 was slow. They made sloppy mistakes and looked lethargic. They came alive in Game 2.

The second answer was the sweet-faced freshman-turned-furious-face Allie Scribner.

“I knew that we were playing slow. To get my team moving, I had to move and be excited and firey and wanting it,” she says. “You have to get mad to win.” Read the rest: Lighthouse Christian Academy in Santa Monica overturns volleyball match

Duty? Who believes in duty any more?

Lighthouse Christian Academy unrelentingly buried volleyball rivals Hillcrest, which fought fiercely for life in the third and final set, battling each rally up to a minute. The final 30-28 meant Hillcrest returned home without consolation.

With solid hits, serves and life-saving digs, Sarah Montez led the mostly freshman team in the 3-set sweep.

But there’s something funny about her leadership. The 5’3″ senior only took to volleyball only out of a sense of obligation.

“I have to make it my duty to serve my school and team because they are my family at the end of day,” Sarah says.

DUTY?

After modernism, postmodernism and existentialism staged a coup on our intellectual framework, the antiquated concept of duty has fallen into almost complete disuse. Ridiculed and deconstructed by philosophers, literary titans and intelligentsia, the concept of duty is a quaint castoff gone the way of knights and lances from the times of chivalry.

Duty.

Sarah committed to volleyball out of duty to her school. She practiced assiduously, joined a summer beach volleyball program and hit the gym.

All that commitment paid off Wednesday. She whacked the ball, rallied her players, guided the team to a hard-scrabble superiority.

Secret recipe Pho

The secret is the in the Pho.

Namely, Roxy Photenhauer — or simply “Pho” — who smacked the volleyball with vengeance to inspire her team, the Lighthouse Christian Academy, to fight until death in their attempt to repeat their season opening win.

In a thrilling 5-game match that saw Lighthouse teeter on the brink of losing in three close sets, LCA lost to always-tough rivals Newbury Park Adventist Academy in varsity volleyball Thursday. Two days earlier, Lighthouse handily defeated Pilgrim School of Burbank.

In set 3, the Newbury Park crowd erupted in cheers as one of their champion hitters thundered a ball down upon their rivals, only to be silenced by an impossible dig that fired it sneakily over the net unanswered.

The astonishing response came from sophomore Roxy Photenhauer, the last-born in a chain of same-named athletes and artists who have graced LCA’s hallowed halls.

“Roxy dug a ball pretty much as good as an Olympian could do it,” remarked Coach Jessica Young. “The other team was cheering for her.”

Roxy’s digging and serving — along with some mental toughness from her fellow Saints — sparked a comeback drive.

After losing the first two sets 21-25 and 24-26, the Lighthouse Saints rallied to squeak through with a 27-25 win in Game 3. Read the rest: Lighthouse Christian Academy Santa Monica

Administration 101: A+ Volleybal: meh

Lighthouse Christian Academy Santa Monica volleyball team 2019For administration class, A+. Actual volleyball, a C, at best.

Lighthouse Christian Academy of Santa Monica won four out of nine games this season in varsity volleyball. Girls from all different levels banded together and put forth their best effort. On Wednesday, the Saints limped out of its season against Westmark School of Encino.

“We all got in our heads,” says Sarah Montez, sophomore. Our emotions got to us. When somebody wouldn’t do good, we would think, Oh, well, she’s not going to get anymore. We got frustrated with each other. That was our worst game we’ve ever done.”

But while LCA’s volleyball has fallen off from the years when the slashed their way into playoffs, other skills associated with participating on team soared.

Namely, Sarah Montez became an entrepreneur.

When she found out that LCA wasn’t going to even have a team due to lack of interest among the girls, she spearheaded a move to assemble a team.

“Sarah and her parents were a major driving force in wanting to make sure there was a team this year,” says LCA Principal Josh Young.

Sarah, with the help of her parents and her close friend Laken Wilson, communicated with all the school’s girls and encouraged, cajoled, persuaded, spammed by text until enough players relented from the low self confidence and agreed to integrate on the squad.

Then, having mastered the business strategies of forming “a staff” and motivating them to their optimal performance, Sarah forayed into a search for a CEO. (There was no coach, which is a volunteer position.)

She held brainstorming session with interested parties. She formed a search committee to identify and recruit a ideal candidate. (She got her parents involved.)

They used software to scoure LinkedIn. Just kidding. They thought of who might pitch in from the Lighthouse Church, LCA’s oversight organization.

They zeroed in on Felipe Rodriguez for all his merits: He had time. He liked working with the youth. He was an expert at sports and teams.

There was only one drawback: Felipe didn’t know a thing about volleyball.

But options were few, and Felipe had the will to serve — even if he didn’t know how to serve (a volleyball).

Felipe contacted his good friend and fellow youth worker, Xiovana Moraida, who assists her husband, Lucas Moraida, as youth leaders in the Lighthouse Church of Santa Monica.

X — as she prefers to be called — agreed immediately to be head coach while Felipe was assistant. X had played volleyball in high school and played soccer in college, so she knew about competition and team dynamics. Read the rest: Learning business schools at a small school in Santa Monica.

Growing confidence leads to win at Santa Monica Christian school in volleyball

santa monica private school girls volleyballOverconfidence preceded lack of confidence.

We would start most games cocky. Then when we started to make mistakes or face tougher-than-expected competition, the false confidence gave way to self-defeatism.

We would jinx ourselves.

But on Tuesday, Lighthouse Christian Academy decided to start the game different: with humility and determination.

As is the case with most sports, the psychological game wins the game.

We won against Hillcrest Christian School of Thousand Oaks in three sets, confirming dominance started in a pre-season face-off.

In the first game, a big hit against our confidence was a ref’s call. We saw the ball as clearly landing in, but the line ref said it was out. Even an opponent volunteered to the ref that the call was wrong, that it was in.

But the head ref ruled it out.

It blasted our momentum. Read the rest of Psychological game wins the game – Santa Monica Christian school.

Not succumbing is overcoming

Lighthouse Christian Academy Santa Monica volleyballHeidi Hutchinson wasn’t too upset by Lighthouse’s loss Wednesday.

That’s because she’s winning, though losing.

Heidi comes from a rough background. So now, not only does she attend a school she says loves her, she’s part of a team actually playing league sport.

“I’m learning about being on a team instead of just working by myself,” says Heidi. “They never gave up on me when I couldn’t hit the ball straight. When I first started, I didn’t know how to do anything, but now we’re playing actual games. I have some real friends.”

Lighthouse Christian Academy lost in three sets to Delphi Academy of Santa Monica 21-25, 14-25 and 17-25. LCA’s record is 3-4.

But Heidi knows that winning has many measures. If you’re a school that regularly churns out batches of Ivy League-bound college kids and draws from club team sports, then congratulations, you’re a winner.

But for others in life who don’t get the supportive, nurturing start of a dual parent home with no financial lack, just making the decision to not succumb is to overcome.

Eventually, Child Protective Services intervened for Heidi and her twin brother David. After years of neglect and abuse, they are now adopted by their grandparents, who enrolled them at LCA.

The last time Heidi saw her mom was 2017. And her dad? When she was 4.

This is not a sob story. This is a story of how people can be winners. All of society is a winner for every kid who chooses to rise above hardship, process and hopefully heal from the trauma and not spiral out of control with some pernicious coping mechanism.

“It wasn’t until the middle of 9th grade when I came to the Lighthouse, and me and my brother finally felt cared about by teachers and friends,” Heidi says.

Good things happened because Sarah Montez and I wanted to play volleyball badly.Read the rest: Not succumbing is overcoming – Lighthouse Christian Academy in Santa Monica.

The X-Factor in Santa Monica Saints volleyball

X Factor on LCA volleyball teamXiovana Moraida doesn’t even want to call herself a volleyball coach. Her sport was soccer, and she was really good at that. She was team captain of Santa Monica College’s women’s soccer team in 2014. But she was pressed into it.

“I knew that if I didn’t step up and coach that there wouldn’t be a girl’s volleyball team,” says Xiovana, who goes by the easier-to-pronounce “X.”

Nevertheless, Xiovana has become the X factor behind Lighthouse Christian Academy’s resurgence into varsity volleyball after the sport was dropped out of the Saints’ offerings a few years ago.

On Monday, the Santa Monica Saints beat San Fernando Valley Academy from Northridge in five sets 25-19, 13-25, 25-23, 24-26, 15-13. LCA now has two wins and three losses.

Xiovana was born in Lodi but was raised in Lockeford, California.

santa monica volleyball christian high schoolStarting at the ripe old age of 5 years old, she played and loved soccer.

In 2013, Xiovana came to live in Santa Monica to live with her aunt for soccer while attending SMC. She was the captain of the SMC soccer team in her sophomore year (as well as being the captain of her high school soccer team). 

As Xiovana stayed in LA after college, she met her now husband Lucas Moraida. Lucas was from Arizona and was attending the Lighthouse Church. As her and Lucas began to talk more, X became a Christian and got more involved in the church. Read the rest of X-Factor in Santa Monica volleyball.