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Southwestern League ranks among the best for girls volleyball

By in Press Enterprise on August 30, 2017

By Eric-Paul Johnson

The Southwestern League’s girls volleyball coaches — even those in their first season with a program — know their players will have to bring maximum energy and determination each Tuesday and Thursday night.

With five teams classified in Division 1 for the CIF-Southern Section playoffs and a sixth program in Division 3, the Southwestern League has a solid case for being the deepest girls volleyball league in Southern California. All six teams finished above .500 and qualified for the postseason last season. Great Oak, the fourth-place finisher, reached the Division 1 quarterfinals and qualified for state.

With each team returning key players, don’t be surprised if the Southwestern League repeats that feat.

“It has gotten so tough to win matches in this league,” said Great Oak coach Mark Motluck, who guided the Wolfpack to three consecutive league titles from 2013-15. “There has been so much parity in the league in recent years. If you don’t bring your A game, you’re going to leave the gym very unhappy.

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The Southwestern League has produced some elite teams recently, but the depth of quality teams in the league has been particularly noticeable in the past three or four seasons. Motluck said the option of club teams in Southwest Riverside County has plenty to do with the league’s success over the years.

Dana Burkholder, the former All-America setter at Arizona and current coach at Chaparral, started the Forza 1 volleyball club program in the summer of 2014. Forza 1 has grown into one of the region’s top clubs, but players in the area also have the option to play for the 951 Elite or Viper club teams.

“These are very family-oriented towns down here, and it has been supporting […]    

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