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SOUTHERN SECTION VOLLEYBALL PLAYOFFS : Capistrano Valley, Laguna Beach Play Rematch Tonight


In a much-anticipated rematch, top-seeded Capistrano Valley and No. 4 Laguna Beach will meet in the Southern Section Division I volleyball semifinals at 7:30 tonight at Dana Hills High.

Capistrano Valley (19-0) beat Laguna Beach (17-2) in a five-game match in March.

But the Artists were without starting setter and Pacific Coast League MVP David Berney, who had been suspended for disciplinary reasons. The Artists' only losses this season were to Capistrano Valley and No. 3 Huntington Beach, which swept Laguna Beach in early May when Berney was out with an ankle injury.

Berney returned and had 79 assists to lead the Artists to a five-game victory over Goleta Dos Pueblos in last week's quarterfinals. This is Laguna Beach's first appearance in the semifinals since 1986, and the Artists haven't reached the finals since winning it in 1983.

Capistrano Valley, top-ranked in Orange County and the section all season, is playing in its first section semifinal. The Cougars feature a balanced attack with outside hitter Aaron Garcia, middle blocker Eric Seiffert and setter Eric McKelvie.

The winner of Capistrano Valley-Laguna Beach advances to the finals against the winner of third-seeded Huntington Beach (21-0) and No. 2 Manhattan Beach Mira Costa (21-0), which play tonight at Redondo Union High. Huntington Beach beat Mira Costa in last year's semifinals.

Huntington Beach beat Irvine in a five-game quarterfinal match without starting outside hitter Jon Wimbish, who dislocated his ankle in practice last week and is out for tonight's match. Oiler Coach Rocky Ciarelli said he's hopeful that Wimbish will be back if they make the finals.

The Oilers will have their hands full with Mira Costa, one of the tallest and strongest teams in the section. Middle blocker Chris Walmer, 6 feet 5, and 6-4 setter Zane Smythe lead the Mustangs.

The Empire League is well represented in Division II with second-seeded Esperanza (16-1) and unseeded Foothill (15-2) reaching the semifinals. Esperanza plays No. 3 Upland at El Dorado High, and Foothill meets defending champion and top-seeded Simi Valley Royal at Simi Valley High.

Top-seeded Whittier Christian, the two-time defending Division III champion, takes a 39-match winning streak into its semifinal match against unseeded Santa Ynez.

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