It’s been a bold new beginning — or, at least, an exciting makeover — for the Metro Conference this fall in both girls volleyball and girls tennis as the conference has split into three leagues.
The new leagues follow the previous split for football, but with the exception that league membership is based on geographic location rather than competition level.
The Metro-Mesa League includes Bonita Vista, Eastlake, Otay Ranch, Mater Dei Catholic and Olympian.
The Metro-Pacific League includes Chula Vista, Hilltop, Castle Park and Sweetwater.
The Metro-South Bat League includes Montgomery, Mar Vista, San Ysidro and Southwest.
League play began Wednesday in the Metro-Pacific League. Early front-runners include Chula Vista and Hilltop, both of which earned the distinction of winning their first-ever match in the new league.
Chula Vista defeated Castle Park 25-21, 25-19, 25-20. Carly McCoy paced the victorious Spartans with 10 kills and five blocks while teammate Janan Salaam recorded five aces.
Hilltop defeated Sweetwater 25-23, 25-11, 25-23.
In Friday’s match-ups, Chula Vista hosts Sweetwater at 4 p.m. while Hilltop hosts Castle Park at 4:30 p.m.
The opening round of league play concludes next Wednesday as Hilltop hosts Chula Vista and Castle Park hosts Sweetwater.
The second round of league play will feature games at opposite sites.
Hilltop improved to 17-13 while Sweetwater is 11-14, Chula Vista is 5-11 and Castle Park is 2-8. However, league placement will depend solely on league contests, thus wiping the slate clean and providing a new proving ground for programs following the conclusion of non-league play.
Castle Park won last year’s South Bay League title with a 12-0 record.
Hannah Teague leads Hilltop with 144 kills, followed by teammate Janelle Ayala with 123. Ayala tops the team with 48 aces, followed by teammate Emily Nicholas with 44. Ayala also leads the team with 75 blocked shots while Brigitte Young tops the team with 199 digs, followed by Teague with 167 and Catherine Bajo with 143. Nicholas is the team’s assist leader with 387.
Sweetwater’s Kimberly Gutierrez is averaging 5.7 kills per set.
Prior to opening league play, Hilltop went undefeated in four match-ups against teams from the new Metro-South Bay League.
As for Chula Vista, McCoy, a senior middle-blocker, led the South Bay League in blocks during the 2012 season while Salaam, a junior, was the MVP on the Spartans' junior varsity team last year. Other top players this season for Chula Vista include senior libero Mireya Ortiz and senior opposite/outside hitter Chyenne Long. McCoy and Long are both three-year starters.
The Spartans are looking to become a resident power in their new surroundings after finishing with a 14-10 record, 8-4 in league last season.
"We are looking to improve off of the best season our program has had in the past 8-10 years," noted CVHS coach Joey Espinoza. "Our team now knows what it feels like to have a winning record, but at the same time knows how it feels to come up short by not winning league. It has been motivating them to work hard in the off season, with hopes of winning a league title and making the playoffs."
Teams in both the Metro-Pacific League and Metro-South Bay League will each play six league games while teams in the Metro-Mesa League will play eight league games.
Bonita Vista leads the Metro-Mesa League standings with a 4-0 record after defeating Otay Ranch on Monday 25-12, 25-20, 27-25. Eastlake sits second in the league standings with a 3-1 record after defeating Olympian on Wednesday 25-122, 25-18, 23-25, 25-21.
Otay Ranch is 2-2 in league play while Olympian is 1-3 and Mater Dei Catholic is 0-4.
Metro-Mesa teams have proven especially competitive in non-league play this fall. Bonita Vista is 19-7 overall, followed by Otay Ranch (16-10), Olympian (15-12), Mater Dei Catholic (8-14) and Eastlake (8-15).
League play concludes Nov. 8, followed by the San Diego Section divisional playoffs.
Allie Loitz leads Bonita Vista with 307 kills, followed by teammate Makena Wilson with 165. Loitz also leads the Barons with 50 aces and 56 blocks while Megan Riley tops the team with 357 digs, followed by Loitz with 202. Taimane Napoleon is the team’s assist leader with 497.
Grecia Cordero leads Otay Ranch with 233 kills, followed by teammate Shayne Mojica with 196. Mojica tops the team with 44 aces while Cordero ranks next with 36. Shania Anderson and Kezia Flores are tied for the team lead with 29 blocks each while Cordeo paces the team with 242 digs, followed by Mojica with 221 and Megan Angerstein with 211. Dominique Conrady is the team’s assist leader with 347.
Khalia Jordan leads Olympian with 195 kills, followed by Lauren Appleman with 118. Jordan and Yvette Macias share the team lead with 43 aces while Elle Dayrit tops the team with 62 blocks. Macias paces the team with 274 digs while Krista Schmidt tops the team with135 assists.
In the Metro-South Bay League, Montgomery (12-5 overall) has opened up a 2-0 lead after defeating league rivals Southwest (3-0 on Monday) and Mar Vista (3-1 on Wednesday). In four games against teams from the new Metro-Pacific League, the Aztecs went 3-1, losing only to Hilltop.
Early season Montgomery leaders included Kia Clark and Lysette Serna in kills, Evangeline Morga in digs and Mikayla Anaya in assists.
Southwest is led this season by senior captain Rachelle Cayabyab, who finished 9-3 in doubles and 4-5 in singles last season. She will be a four-year varsity letter-winner, according to coach Bill Stewart.
Impact newcomers include seniors Deila Jacobo and Jasmin Ruiz. Jacobo finished 11-13 in singles last year despite not begin a full-time starter in the rotation while Ruiz finished 8-5 in doubles, also not as a full-time starter.
Stewart said the 2013 Raiders feature a mix of experienced and developing players.
"I look for our three returning players to continue to work hard, improve and by the end of the season have a good chance to qualify for the CIF," he said. "We will be starting the season with 10 or more first-year freshmen or sophomores, so this team will develop as they get more experience."