YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Notebook : Dual-Meet Loss Isn't a Concern for Irvine


There's no need to feel too sorry for Irvine, the defending State Division I girls' cross-country champion that lost last week to Corona del Mar in a Sea View League meet. The Vaqueros aren't concerned nearly as much about October results as November ones. And that's one of the reasons Irvine--then-ranked No. 1--didn't have the county's top runner, Jessica Corbin, in the lineup during its 23-32 dual-meet loss to Corona del Mar.

The story can be traced to the beginning of the season, when Corbin had hip problems--her muscle was putting pressure on a sciatic nerve. As part of the treatment, Irvine Coach Randy Rossi said, Corbin was prescribed heavy doses of ibuprofen, which caused some internal bleeding; Corbin lost some strength, became susceptible to illness and developed viral bronchitis. She wasn't able to participate in the team's faster-paced workouts and her condition didn't improve.

So Rossi decided to let Corbin rest last week. "We didn't want to lose to Corona del Mar, but the more important meets are farther down the road," Rossi said.

Beginning with the Orange County Championships, which are Saturday morning at Irvine Regional Park, but even that meet might not foreshadow what will happen later. Irvine was eighth last year but went on to win the State title, and times from the State meet indicated the Vaqueros would have been the county's best team in any division.

"You will find that situations will change from Oct. 15 to (next month) when you run the section and State finals," Rossi said. "It is important and we want to run well, but if I had my choice, I'd rather be my best in late November."

Irvine was second in the state in 1992 and finished fourth the two seasons before that.

Anna-Kaisa Niemi, an exchange student from Finland, Erin Livermore, Stacey McMullen and Rachel Newhouse are just as important as a healthy Corbin to produce similar results.


Sunny Hills water polo, arguably Orange County's most dominant program the past 25 years, suffered a rare loss Wednesday. Troy beat the Lancers, 11-10, in overtime, becoming only the second team to beat Sunny Hills in a Freeway League game since 1970.

It was Troy's first victory over Sunny Hills in league play in 27 years of water polo.

Troy's first-year coach, Chris Dyer, had been around for only five of those seasons--four as a player and one as an assistant coach--but that didn't diminish his joy.

"Sunny Hills kind of had a stranglehold on us, so it felt really, really good to beat them," Dyer said. "I was jumping around so much I almost fell in the pool."

Sunny Hills' last league loss came in 1991 to Buena Park, ending a Southern Section record for consecutive league victories (120). Now the Lancers are 133-2 since 1970.

"You can't complain too much," Sunny Hills Coach Keith Nighswonger said, "except that loss No. 2 was the last game we played. That's the only thing that dampens that."

Sunny Hills reached the section Division II title game last season, but only one starter and one reserve returned. The Lancers have won only three of their 16 games this season, but Nighswonger still sees an attainable goal for his team. Sunny Hills has won a section-record 24 league titles in a row, and the Lancers still have four league games remaining.

Nighswonger also has a message for the rest of the league.

"This is probably our most vulnerable season," he said, "so you better enjoy it while you can."


San Clemente, ranked No. 1 in Division I, plays host to No. 2 Long Beach Wilson in nonleague water polo at 6:45 tonight at Saddleback College, but it might not be the only time the teams meet this week.

Wilson and San Clemente are seeded Nos. 1 and 2 at the inaugural Southern California Invitational Friday and Saturday at Long Beach State.

The tournament also includes No. 3 Corona del Mar, No. 4 Foothill, Servite (ranked No. 1 in Division II) and San Diego Section power Coronado. The title game is scheduled for 4:45 p.m. Saturday.

The tournament is the brainchild of Foothill Coach Jim Brumm and Wilson Coach Ricardo Azevedo, who patterned it after the California State Invitational, a Northern California event that matches eight teams from the north and eight from the south.

The North Orange County tournament, which began Monday, also is set for Friday and Saturday. It features three teams ranked in the county's top 10: No. 6 Brea-Olinda, No. 9 Newport Harbor and No. 10 Costa Mesa. The round-robin title games are at 3, 6 and 9 p.m., Saturday at Independence Park in Fullerton.


Five of the six girls' volleyball teams in the Sunset League are ranked in the top 10 in Orange County or Southern Section Division I, and newcomers Los Alamitos and Esperanza are struggling in their new surroundings.

Los Alamitos (1-5), the defending section Division II champion that finished 18-1 last season, and Esperanza (2-4), opened league play with two losses each.

Los Angeles Times Articles