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By Loren Kopff
@LorenKopff on Twitter
Khanh Vo first coached the Cerritos High boys volleyball team during the 2006 and 2007 seasons before guiding the girls program in the fall from 2007-2012. Since then, Vo has been a lower level coach for the boys and girls since then until this season.
Back as the head coach for the boys, Vo and the Dons will now have a chance to win the school’s first California Interscholastic Federation-Southern Section championship as Cerritos swept West Valley High 25-19, 25-12, 25-22 this past Wednesday night on the road. The top team in Division 5 will now face second-ranked La Serna High on Saturday morning at 9:00 at Cerritos College.
“First time in school history, it feels good,” said Cerritos head coach Khanh Vo. “For us, the theme of the season is not about settling, but continuing to get better. If that means winning a championship, that’s awesome. I’m glad we have the opportunity.”
Cerritos began the season as the No. 1 team in the division, then dropped out but returned as the top team when the Apr. 3 polls came out and has not relinquished that spot. Vo, who has always expected a lot out of his teams as well as himself, said he was just glad that the players and coaching staff were willing to meet him halfway and just put out the work.
“I always believed we had a good chance to be in this position,” he said. “And I’m just glad that they kind of backed up those rankings because rakings are just a number. It doesn’t guarantee you anything. We still have one more match to hold up that number one ranking. We still have some work to do.”
Senior outside hitter Joshua Reyes led the Dons (26-9 overall) with 13 kills, seven digs, five blocks and three aces while senior middle blocker Nathaniel Andres added 11 kills and seven blocks. Sophomore defensive specialist Dylan Wong had 18 digs and five aces while senior setter Paolo Bautista dished out 38 assists along with eight digs, six blocks and three aces.
Vo added that this the smallest group in terms of height that he has ever coached and gives them tons of credit for getting better and playing with heart. This is the second time Vo has taken a team to the finals. In 2009, he guided the Lady Dons to the 3-A Division title match where they fell to Mayfield High in four sets.
“I’ve been blessed,” Vo said. “I’ve been blessed with two great groups of kids. For us to have this opportunity again is just a blessing. Hopefully the second time will be a charm.”
After winning four consecutive Division IV championships, the Cerritos girls team finished in seventh place in Division 3 out of 47 teams, picking up 129 points last Thursday at the Riverside Aquatic Complex.
The Lady Dons got out to a good start when the 200-yard Medley relay team of seniors Maya Valdoria and Arina Yu and juniors Ellice Huang and Breanna Rigor finished in third place, garnering 36 points. Valdoria would also win the 100-yard Breaststroke with a time of 1:04.45 and finish in sixth place in the 100-yard Butterfly with a time of 57.11. Rigor would also come in seventh place in the 200-yard IM with a time of 2:11.83. The 400-yard Freestyle relay team of the same four swimmers as the 200-yard Medley relay team came in fifth place with a time of 3:38.96.
The Cerritos boys finished in 13th place out of 42 teams with 83 points. The 200-yard Freestyle relay team of senior Anthony Touzani, juniors Edric Gaerlan and Matthew Cho and freshman Justin Sutanto finished in seventh with a time of 1:30.34. In the 500-yard Freestyle, sophomore Alex Rodriguez was fourth with a time of 4:41.48.
In Division 2 action, Whitney High junior diver Alyson Tam came in fourth place with 430.75 points and has advanced to the state meet in Clovis. She is seeded 13th out of 28 divers while junior Adriane Tam is seeded three spots below her after picking up 423.35 points.
In Division 4 action, the Gahr High boys team finished in eighth place out of 43 teams with 136 points while the girls racked up 67 points, good enough for 14th place out of 46 teams. The 200-yard Medley relay team of seniors Dongwoo Kim and Nicholas Iijima, junior Tyler Pierson and freshman Ronald Fisher came in third place with a time of 1:43.45. Kim also came in sixth place in the 100-yard Freestyle (50.04) and seventh in the 50-yard Freestyle (22.89) while Fisher was fourth in the 100-yard Backstroke (55.91) and fifth in the 100-yard Butterfly (54.44).
Junior Analysa Best was second in the 200-yard IM with a time of 2:14.64 and in the 500-yard Freestyle (5.22:62).
The Valley Christian High boys team also had 19 points as junior diver Aaron Augustine was second with 437.90 points.
TRACK AND FIELD
The CIF-SS championships will take place Saturday at Cerritos College with 22 area individual athletes plus the Gahr boys 4×100 and 4×400 and V.C. 4×400 girls relay teams participating. V.C. junior Marian Ledesma will compete in the 400 and 800 meter events and is part of the relay team while senior Michael Polk is competing in the high jump and triple jump. Junior Josh Akrofi is in the 100-yard and 200-yard dash while senior Maya Archer and junior Gavin Fua will compete in both in the discus and shot put events.