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New regime begins at Sacred Heart

Tologs turn to new coach Ernest Banaag and his championship pedigree to restore program¿s tradition.

August 28, 2012|By Charles Rich, charles.rich@latimes.com
  • Colleen Degnan bumps the ball at a team scrimmage at Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy.
Colleen Degnan bumps the ball at a team scrimmage at Flintridge… (Tim Berger/Staff…)

During the past 15 seasons, the Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy volleyball program has built a storied tradition, evidenced by a pair of CIF Southern Section championships in 1996 and 1997 and consistently challenging for Mission League championships.

It’s something Ernest Banaag recognized from afar while shaping the Mayfield volleyball team into a perennial CIF champion. Banaag pined to become the head coach at Sacred Heart if the position ever became available. It did after last season, leading to Banaag applying for the job and filling the role.

Now, Banaag will look to usher in another chapter of success for the Tologs.

“The Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy volleyball program has a lot of pride,” said Banaag, who will succeed Anne Arlie after leading Mayfield to three straight CIF titles between 2008-10. “They certainly don’t like to lose, and I like that a lot because they are already self motivated.

“You see and hear a lot about the program because they’ve always been one that’s been competitive. I knew that it would be a great place to coach one day. I waited my turn and the job opened up.”

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While the Tologs missed the playoffs last season after finishing fifth in league, Banaag said they aren’t far from again contending for a league crown and vying for a playoff spot.

It might take some time for adjustments to be made, but Banaag said it can be done rapidly.

“I’ll come in taking a cautious approach,” Banaag said. “For example, you know the Mission League will be hard again, so I’ll see what happens during the first round [of league] and then assess things.”

The Tologs’ key returners figure to be senior libero Colleen Degnan, junior outside hitters Katie Conley and Madie Peterson and sophomore setter Sophia Coffey.

Holy Family has enjoyed its share of success lately, winning the program’s first Horizon League title in 2010 before sharing the league championship with Alverno last season.

Those two championships came under coach Robert Bringas, who fielded experienced teams that included Ashlee Sandoval, Aurora Aguirre and Denise Patino.

Virtually all of last season’s team graduated, leading to Bringas ushering in the newest crop of talent that will feature senior libero Katherine Barrios, junior setter Rianne Sanchez, junior middle blocker Nicolette Garcia and junior outside hitters/middle blockers Dominique Ornelas and Iris Guzman.

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