Talent doesn't seem to be a problem this season for Al Gasparian, the Golden West women's volleyball coach. But keeping players healthy does.
Golden West returned two talented starters--Dionne Powers, who was an All-South Coast Conference middle blocker last season, and Barrie Daffron, who has switched from outside hitter to setter this season.
Also, sophomores Kim Gray (Whitworth), Laura Phillips (Rhode Island) and freshman Samantha Caldwell (who was a redshirt at Washington State last season) transferred to Golden West from four-year schools. Mindy Daffron, Barrie's sister, who played at Grossmont three years ago, is also at Golden West.
But in the first week of practice, Powers broke a finger that required surgery. She is expected to miss a month. Also in the first week, Mindy Daffron suffered an ankle sprain and is expected to miss two weeks.
"This is the most talented team I've had since I've been at Golden West," said Gasparian, who is in his fifth season. "We don't have that one dominating offensive player, but we have a lot of depth and there seems to be no weak spot right now."
Gasparian has a career record of 61-17 at Golden West. He coached the Rustlers to a state title in 1984 and three South Coast Conference championships (1983-85). Last season, Golden West was 12-4 and didn't win the South Coast Conference championship for the first time in his four years there.
Despite having two starters sidelined, Golden West opened the season with three victories, including a three-game sweep over OCC last Friday night.
"To be 3-0 with the injuries shows how much depth we have," Gasparian said. "I just hope we can keep playing well."
Golden West, El Camino, Cuesta, Santa Barbara, College of the Sequoias, Orange Coast and Grossmont, which Golden West plays at home Wednesday at 7:30, are expected to be among the better teams in Southern California this season.
Orange Coast has to replace its all-state and Orange Empire Conference most valuable player, Kim Rochow, and All-Southern California outside hitter, Ann Javage, this season to remain the top volleyball team in the Orange Empire Conference.
Sophomore Karen Nickel, who was an all-conference player last season, returns along with Jennifer Deily, who was an all-conference player in 1985 but sat out last season.
OCC was 10-0 in the weak Orange Empire Conference last season before losing, 3-0, to Grossmont in the first round of the Southern California playoffs.
Does anybody really care about time? Orange Coast's 28-26 football victory over Golden West Saturday night should have had a simple ending. OCC had the ball with 35 seconds left and Golden West was out of timeouts.
But thanks to a series of discussions between coaches and referees, it took 20 minutes for the teams to play those 35 seconds.
First, the clock was accidentally stopped after a third-down play when OCC had the ball. The officials met and the clock was run down to 20 seconds. Then the officials met with the coaches and it was decided that there should be 35 seconds left.
OCC, which was in punt formation, then took a delay-of-game penalty as the clock ran down to 10 seconds. OCC took two more delay-of-game penalties without the clock starting, and the ball was moved back to the OCC 12.
Then OCC quarterback Keith Jarrett was tackled in the end zone for a safety with five seconds left. OCC kicked and Golden West downed the ball with one second left.
Golden West's final pass was incomplete as the game ended. Finally.
Community College Notes
Cypress soccer player Joe Carpentier, a freshman halfback, will be out for six to eight weeks with a knee injury. He sprained his right knee in a game last week. . . . Bill Flores, who won the state heavyweight title in wrestling last season for Cypress College, has returned as an assistant to Coach Ray Haas this season. . . . OCC wide receiver Jerod Jones broke his thumb last week during practice and is expected to be out four to six weeks. . . . Golden West's soccer team won the Golden West Soccer Cup late Saturday night by defeating OCC, 7-2. George Rojas led the Rustlers (2-0-2) with three goals. Kurt Lundberg added two goals in the first quarter.