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Agoura's Barrus Serving Important Role


AGOURA HILLS — For two years, Agoura High's Heather Barrus waited for her chance.

The junior backed up her older sister, Tammy, as the setter on the Charger girls' volleyball team, and also became a serving and defensive specialist.

Tammy is now a freshman at Cal State Bakersfield and Heather is the setter for the defending Marmonte League champions.

But on Tuesday night, Heather Barrus excelled at what she had practiced. Her serving, including five aces, led Agoura to a 15-7, 15-10, 15-12 victory over Newbury Park.

The victory broke a first-place tie with Newbury Park and enables Agoura (9-2, 8-1 in league play) to control its own destiny in the Marmonte League.

The match started well for Newbury Park. The Panthers jumped to a 6-0 lead behind two kills and three blocks from middle blocker Kara McKeown.

The Chargers called a timeout, got a sideout on the next play, then turned the ball over to Barrus.

By the time Newbury Park managed a sideout, Agoura had taken a 7-6 lead--and all of the momentum.

"The only thing that went through my mind was that I had to take care of the ball," Barrus said. "I served well before, I had the confidence even though we were down."

After a sideout, senior Blair Thomas served four points and the game was essentially over.

Newbury Park (9-2, 7-2) never recovered from the change in momentum. McKeown finished with five kills and 10 blocks. Christine Arguijo, one of Newbury Park's top hitters, was shut out in the first game and finished with seven kills.

"Something out there made us fall apart and I still don't know what it was," Newbury Park setter Kari Norberg said.

Agoura took the lead in the second game behind the serving of Barrus and the play of Blair Thomas, who finished with a team-high 10 kills, and Maegan Thomas, who had eight kills and nine blocks.

The Panthers rallied to within 11-10, but sophomore Tahleen Varian had three kills on the next four balls to give Agoura a 14-10 lead. After trading sideouts, Varian's ace clinched the game.

Agoura had four aces in the final game, two each by Barrus and Maegan Thomas.

Newbury Park rallied from a 13-8 deficit to pull to within 13-12, but the serve came back to Barrus. Two balls and one ace later, Agoura had avenged its only league loss, a five-game defeat last month.

"Last time we were the ones who kind of fell apart mentally and physically," Barrus said. "I was looking forward to this since they beat us."

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