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CLOSE-UP : Royal Girls Hope to Rise After the Fall From No. 1

October 15, 1986

After winning eight straight Marmonte League titles, the Royal High girls volleyball team entered this season ranked No. 1 in the Southern Section 2-A poll.

Midway through the season, the Highlanders will be satisfied with qualifying for the playoffs. Royal is in fifth place with a 4-4 league record, and playoff berths are guaranteed to only the top three teams.

"It was not shocking, I saw it coming," Royal Coach Bob Ferguson said. "I saw the talent in the league. Unless you are on every night, you're going to have a rough time. We haven't played real well. If you lose a couple of games, you start to think 'What am I doing wrong?' I think the kids lost a little confidence in themselves--in fact, I know they did."

One of Ferguson's tactics was to change the starting line-up. That didn't work.

He put the original line-up back in place last weekend, and the Highlanders responded with an encouraging fourth-place finish at the Diamond Bar tournament.

Royal's remaining league matches, however, will determine whether the team gets a chance to live up to lofty advance billing.

"I think the level of intensity that you have is really important," Ferguson said. "I don't know if we had the level of intensity in practice sessions that we needed for at least a week or so. We'd get down to the last points of a game, and we didn't finish it off. We'd do anything but have that killer instinct."

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