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Prep Playoffs at a Glance : SOUTHERN SECTION BOYS' VOLLEYBALL FINALS

May 29, 1993|MIKE REILLEY

* Today's schedule: at Cerritos College. Division I (7:30 p.m.)--Capistrano Valley vs. Huntington Beach; Division II (5 p.m.)--Simi Valley Royal vs. Esperanza; Division III (2:30 p.m.)--Whittier Christian vs. Bellflower St. John Bosco.

* Last year's finish: Division I--Santa Barbara d. Huntington Beach, 15-7, 15-8, 15-10; Division II--Simi Valley Royal d. Esperanza, 10-15, 15-13, 4-15, 15-11, 15-11; Division III--Whittier Christian d. Calvary Chapel, 15-10, 11-15, 15-3, 15-13.

* Outlook: Division I--This is the matchup everyone in Orange County wanted: top-seeded Capistrano Valley (20-0) against third-seeded Huntington Beach (22-0). Neither the Cougars, the county's top-ranked team, nor the second-ranked Oilers were challenged in the semifinals. Capistrano Valley advanced with a sweep of fourth-seeded Laguna Beach, and Huntington Beach beat second-seeded Manhattan Beach Mira Costa in four games.

The teams match up well. The Cougars' Eric McKelvie and the Oilers' Chris Jones are among the section's best setters. Huntington Beach middle blockers Chris Swann and Nick Ziegler will have their hands full with Capistrano Valley's Eric Seiffert. What could decide this match is the play of two outside hitters--Capistrano Valley's Aaron Garcia and Huntington Beach's Shadd Walker. Look for Garcia, who's headed to Stanford, to take over in the fifth game. Also, Huntington Beach could be without hitter Jon Wimbish, who dislocated his ankle in practice last week. Wimbish sat out the Oilers' quarterfinal and semifinal victories, and Coach Rocky Ciarelli is only hopeful he will be back. Prediction: Flip a coin when it's tied, 14-14, in Game 5. Capistrano Valley to come up heads and win in five.

Division II--Top-seeded Royal and second-seeded Esperanza meet in a rematch of last year's final, which Royal won in five games. This year's match should be just as close. Royal, the two-time defending league champions, lost setter Travis Ferguson to graduation, but feature one of the most balanced hitting attacks in the section. Esperanza counters with setter Chris Pitzak, outside hitter Brad Goldston and middle blocker Paul Nihipali. Esperanza has played well most of the season, but Royal has taken its game up a notch in the past month. Take Royal in five games--again.

Division III--Can top-seeded Whittier Christian make it three consecutive section titles? The Heralds (18-0) have yet to lose a game in the playoffs, but they face a tough test in second-seeded St. John Bosco (18-0), the Del Rey League champion. Playoff experience will be the deciding factor here, and Whittier Christian has a veteran in middle blocker Derek Beard, last season's Division III MVP. Look for the Heralds to win in four games.

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