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Van Nuys Making Right Moves : Volleyball: Girls' team sweeps Sylmar after gaining permission to change divisions.


VAN NUYS — Fewer than 24 hours after Van Nuys High girls' volleyball Coach Dave Bessler won his personal crusade, his players helped him prove a point Wednesday.

Bessler petitioned the City Section in 1993 to allow Van Nuys, the defending 3-A champion, to move to the 4-A division. The request was denied and the Wolves won their second consecutive 3-A title with ease.

Bessler tried again this season, and at a City Section meeting Tuesday night, Van Nuys was given permission to compete in the 4-A playoffs.

Van Nuys celebrated by defeating Sylmar, 15-6, 15-1, 15-0, in a Valley Pac-8 Conference match.

Van Nuys must meet several conditions before being admitted to the 4-A playoffs. The Wolves must win the Mid-Valley League and the conference. And the playoff seeding committee must consider Van Nuys strong enough to play at the 4-A level.

If Van Nuys does not meet the conditions, the Wolves will not be allowed to drop back into the 3-A playoffs. The move in divisions is for this season only and will be reviewed after the playoffs. Van Nuys was the only team to petition to move classifications.

"I decided to go ahead and take the deal," Bessler said. "The only thing I was worried about was the girls missing the playoffs, but my team is good enough to win this conference."

Sylmar (5-1, 2-1 in conference play) and Poly (5-0, 3-0), are considered the only serious threats to take even a game from the Wolves in conference play.

Bessler said he did not tell his players of the move until after Wednesday's match, because they hadn't asked.

"They knew I was heading to the meeting last night and all they said was to 'Be nice to them,' " Bessler said. "I think they're worried more game-to-game than about the playoffs right now."

Van Nuys didn't need extra incentive against the Spartans. In the Venice Tournament last Saturday, Sylmar defeated the Wolves, 15-11, in the first round of the playoffs. But Van Nuys was missing three starters, including setter Connie Chae.

After trading points early in the first game, Van Nuys (6-0, 3-0) cruised behind the all-around effort of Chae, who finished with 29 assists, five kills, three aces and one block.

"We weren't worried about losing but we knew they would be one of our bigger rivals," Chae said. "They're supposed to be one of the tougher teams and I thought going in it would be a little closer."

Erika Alvarez led Van Nuys with 10 kills and outside hitter Ruby Tovar added eight.

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