While the annual clash between Poly and Lakewood’s football teams this Friday is drawing a lot of attention, this afternoon’s tilt between the two schools’ girls’ volleyball teams has just as much on the line. Both the Lancers and Jackrabbits are undefeated in league right now, having each already topped Wilson, and so today’s 4pm match (at Poly) will decide who’s in first place after the first round of Moore League play.

As always when Poly plays Lakewood, the two teams’ coaches have nothing but glowing things to say about their opponents.

“We’ve put a lot of work into preparing for this match,” says Poly coach Leland McGrath. “We really respect what Mike’s done over there, he’s got great pieces and his team plays really smart.”

“They’re very good,” says Lakewood’s Mike Wadley. “They’re well-coached, much better than last year since they aren’t dealing with the injuries. They remind me a lot of the old Jordan boys’ teams in the early 2000s (one of which won a state title), they jump and hit very well.”

The Jackrabbits are more athletic overall, and have more quality options on the front line. But Lakewood’s Megan Kruidhof is the best single option in the match, and the Lancers have the edge on the back line, where seniors Heather Eggers and Tiffany Cobian are a calming presence.

“They’re really solid,” says McGrath. “A lot of it will come down to passing and defense.”

“That is the difference right now,” agrees Wadley. “We have a four-year starter senior libero and they don’t—they’ll have it in the future, but right now we do.”

Both coaches see the game as being played between equals, although Lakewood is ranked No. 10 in CIF Division 1 this year.

We’ll have live updates from the Ron Palmer Pavilion this afternoon at 4pm. 

Sports Guy Mike Guardabascio has been writing professionally for a decade, with his work published in dozens of Southern California magazines and newspapers. He's won numerous awards and is the author of the historical book "Football in Long Beach."

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