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Southern Section Volleyball : Gahr Does It All Right and Powers Past Irvine

November 16, 1986|STEVE LOWERY | Times Staff Writer

It was the big and little things that brought the Irvine High School girls' volleyball team down in the 4-A Southern Section final Saturday at Marina High School.

Big things such as the hitting of Gahr's Jill Johnson and Linda Crowwer.

Little things such as the bodies of Gahr's Gina Ham, 5-foot even, and Carolyn Domen (5-2), who passed, dug and dove to just about every corner of the court.

When it was over, and it was over much quicker than many had expected, Gahr had the match, 15-9, 15-13, 15-12, and its fourth Southern Section girls' volleyball championship.

The Gladiators did it with a combination of exceptional serving, passing and hitting.

"The better team won tonight," said Irvine Coach Mark McKenzie. "They were much more consistent. They did everything you have to do to win."

And Gahr did it early.

In the first game, Gahr broke out to leads of 7-3 and 10-5. In the second game, the Gladiators were up, 13-5. In the third, they took an 11-4 lead.

In each game, Irvine made furious comebacks, and in each game, the Vaqueros were physically and emotionally spent by the time they finally got close.

"We'd give away a few points early in each game," McKenzie said. "You can't do that with a good team like Gahr. I thought we played well as each game went along, but our early mistakes really hurt us."

After the big deficit in the first game, Irvine's Bev Oden, with five kills, and Cari Delson, with six, led a charge that brought the Vaqueros to 12-9.

But two hits into the net by Oden and a Delson hit that went long gave Gahr the match.

Irvine came within 14-13 in the second game, with Oden, a sophomore, and Delson, a junior, again leading the way. But Delson hit long once again at game point.

The third game saw Irvine come back to 14-12, but the Vaqueros missed three opportunities on serve to get any closer. Then Johnson blocked an Oden hit, and Gahr had the championship.

One consolation for McKenzie is that he loses only one player----senior Wendy Angus----from a team that played with seven sophomores and three juniors this season. That's good news for the future, but the inexperience may have cost Irvine a few points.

"I don't know what you put it down to," McKenzie said. "But I think Gahr did a much better job of keeping their composure. That could be our inexperience, I don't know."

Gahr's flying circus of Johnson and Corwwer provided 33 kills, controlling the net and often neutralizing the 6-1 Oden.

In matters just as important, but much more difficult to pin down under a statistic, Gahr, led by Ham and Domen, used excellent service placement and a scouring defense that exhibited little concern to bodily welfare.

"We won because we served and dug and went after balls," said Sonny Okamoto, Gahr coach. "This is the best we've done those things all year. I think this match was just a matter of us getting together at the right time."

In the 5-A final:

Mira Costa 3, Hueneme 1--Mira Costa of Manhattan Beach overcame a rocky start to rally for an 11-15, 15-8, 15-9, 19-17 victory.

For Mira Costa, it was the second consecutive 5-A championship and 7th in the school's history since 1972.

In the 3-A final:

Nordhoff 3, Calabassas 0--In a match that took less than hour, Nordhoff won, 15-6, 15-4, 15-4. Hitters Amy Svikhart, Shannon Firebaugh and Leeana Merriweather led the Rangers, Frontier League champions.

In the 2-A final:

Thousand Oaks 3, Atascadero 2--After losing the first two sets, Thousand Oaks rallied to win, 9-15, 10-15, 15-10, 15-11, 15-3. Amy Chellevoid, a setter, and hitter Julie Chellevoid, a sister combination, led Thousand Oaks.

In the 1-A final:

Brentwood 3, Campbell Hall 1--In a seesaw match, Brentwood beat Campbell Hall for the third time this season, 13-15, 15-2, 16-14, 15-4. Brentwood was led by hitter Kelly Sather.

In the Small Schools final:

Flintridge Sacred Heart 3, Mammoth 2--In perhaps the best match of the day, Flintridge Sacred Heart won, 15-10, 14-16, 15-11, 13-15, 15-7. Flintridge Sacred Heart, Horizon League champion, was led by Kristin Yunker, a 5-foot 3-inch hitter.

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