Sure, Laguna Beach has million-dollar ocean views, chi-chi restaurants and an amazing art colony but the longtime-based La Verne Club West 12 Elite team – consisting of girls from the local area — defeated Laguna Beach 12 Gaido to win the gold medal of the 12 American Division of the USA Volleyball Girls Junior National Championships on June 30 at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center. Our girls prevailed 25-22, 22-25 and 16-14.
In the first set, fourth-seeded Club West’s offense was clicking and it seemed to be unstoppable. But tough serving from Laguna Beach, which practically invented beach volleyball, kept Club West on its toes. Even with tough serving, it was not enough to keep Club West from reaching 25 first with a 25-22 victory.
In the second set, it was all Laguna Beach with its digs and tough serving. Laguna Beach led by six, 17-11, but Club West chipped away at the lead. Even though Club West was consistent in its offense and defense, the spark that Laguna Beach found at the start of the second set led to a 25-22 victory.
In a closely contested tiebreaker, Club West led the third set at the switch, 8-6. Laguna was not about to go home with a fight and fought back to take a 9-8 lead. The set seesawed, but strong blocking from Club West led it to the 16-14 victory and gold medal.
Club West defeated top-seeded SG (San Gabriel) Elitie 12 Roshambo, also from Southern California, 25-27, 25—18 and 15-10 in the semi-final.
Altogether, the girls won 10 matches in the four-day tournament, including 20 set wins against only four losses.
For each player stepping on the gold medal platform, winning the Junior National (formerly the Junior Olympics) was the culmination of countless practices and games going back to last October. Over that time, the girls bonded into a championship team.
“I knew we were going to win it all,” said Team Captain Sedona Hansen, a setter on the team. To be the last team standing, Club West, which officially moved to Rancho Cucamonga on July 5 after a long-time stay in La Verne, had to beat out about 50 other teams, including 27 in its bracket.
Club West is coached by Morgan Coberly, a former head volleyball coach at Bonita High School. Other coaches included Jonny Hart, Aaron Flores and Chris Petersen. The team representative is Kurt Vlasich and team chaperone is Patricia Zarate.
Morgan was the varsity coach at Bonita High School from 2003-07 where his teams won the League Championship in four of his five seasons and reached the CIF semi-final in 07’. In his final season as Bonita, Morgan was named both the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, and San Gabriel Valley Tribune Volleyball Coach of the Year.
Morgan was also named the 2003 All Sports Show Inland Empire High School Volleyball Coach of the Year.
Club West 12 Elite Team members included:
Sara Durdines – middle blocker, 12
Jordan Fuelling, outside hitter, 11
Kylie Miller, setter
Hannah Bruchet, server, 10
Sedona Hansen, captain, setter
Leila Toomalatai, 11
Amber Gunsur, 12
Loryn Carter, 11, middle blocker
Jessica Burns, 12, outside hitter
Coach Morgan Coberly
Back home in Southern California, the girls celebrated at The Corner Butcher shop in La Verne. Outside hitter Jordan Fuellling’s father John and uncle Will Fuelling own the shop, which is located at the Fruit and Foothill shopping center where the new Panera Bread will open next month.
After the girls enjoyed a fabulous lunch, including sliders, apple slices and different deli salads, they started dancing to their favorite song, Katy Perry’s “California Girls.” They knew all the words:
Fine, fresh, fierce
We got it on lock
Now put your hands up
Oooooh oh oooooh”
By their outstanding play, the girls created a lot of their own “oooooh’s and ahhhhh’s,” and now will be off for two months before they start practicing in October, with their eyes clearly focused on bringing home another championship to Southern California.
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Planning your next celebration? Call John or Will at The Corner Butcher Shop for the City’s finest selections of meat, fish, poultry, wine, sandwiches and more! Specials every day! 2359 Foothill Blvd. in La Verne or call (909) 596-6345.
Story filed July 10, 2010