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Just Preps | THE PREPS / ERIC SHEPARD

University Coach Stretches Shoestring Into a City Volleyball Championship

May 23, 1996|ERIC SHEPARD

There are plenty of financially strapped athletic programs in the Southland.

Few know that better than Neil Newman, who started the boys' volleyball program at University High in the early 1970s. His teams have been consistent winners in the City Section for the last two decades, despite operating on a shoestring budget.

Newman said he gets $1,000 a year to run the program, which includes one coach and two teams. Last year, he bought 36 new uniforms for $900. That left $100 for the rest of the season. Volleyballs costs $32 each.

"You do the math," he said. "We provide the kids with a terrific learning opportunity. Sports is just like a classroom, and the funding is ridiculous. I've told the Board of Education this a million times over the years, but they don't seem to understand."

Newman said the shortages force him to cut players every year, because there aren't enough coaches. He has a few volunteer assistants. Fund-raisers are ongoing.

University defeated Granada Hills in the section's Division 4-A championship match last Friday, the Warriors' third consecutive title. Senior Raoul Williams has received a scholarship to Cal State Northridge, and Nick Strouse hopes to compete at UC Santa Barbara or Pepperdine.

"Every year we get less money and support, but we manage to hang on," Newman said.

*

After spending more than a month sifting through 45 applications, Loyola Athletic Director Nick Wooler finally settled on a new boys' basketball coach Wednesday, Alex Acosta of La Puente Bishop Amat.

Acosta, who graduated from Bishop Amat in 1978, has been the school's basketball coach since 1986, guiding the Lancers to the playoffs every season.

"We felt Alex had the experience of running a high-level program for a number of years," Wooler said.

Acosta, who replaces Bill Thomason, was selected over Mike Kearney, the former boys' basketball coach at Verbum Dei.

*

Former Loyola basketball standout Ryan "Moose" Bailey has signed a national letter of intent with Penn State.

Bailey, a 6-foot-2 point guard and the younger brother of UCLA's Toby Bailey, graduated from Loyola in 1994. He backed out of a letter of intent he signed with Portland and attended Hargrave Military Academy in Virginia this past school year.

Before signing with the Nittany Lions, Bailey was considering USC, but that offer was withdrawn by Coach Henry Bibby last month.

*

There have been plenty of upsets in the first two rounds of the Southern Section baseball playoffs, but few bigger than those by Encino Crespi.

The Celts (21-7) began the Division I playoffs as the final qualifier from the Mission League and opened the tournament last Friday with a 1-0 victory over Lakewood, the Moore League champion. Brian Felten pitched a two-hitter and John Campanella doubled home the only run for Crespi in the third inning.

Proving the upset was no fluke, Crespi defeated Marmonte League champion Simi Valley Royal, 1-0, in a second-round game Tuesday. Christian Dempsey singled in the winning run in the bottom of the seventh inning. It was Royal's first shutout loss of the season.

"I figured it would be close, but I wasn't expecting this," Crespi Coach Scott Muckey said.

The playoffs continue Friday with the quarterfinals. The semifinals are Tuesday and the finals May 31 and June 1.

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The City Section had to adjust its baseball playoff schedule this week when Dodger Stadium officials changed their mind about when the facility would be available.

The Division 4-A and 3-A finals were to be part of a doubleheader at Dodger Stadium on May 30, but that was moved up a day at the request of the Dodgers. With the section's semifinals scheduled for May 28, winners won't even get a day of practice.

"I think I speak for most of the teams when I say we'd rather play at Dodger Stadium than have an extra day of preparation," said South Gate Coach Mike Ryan, whose team won the 3-A title last year. "This is something the kids look forward to every year."

The Dodgers have donated the use of the stadium to the City Section for the last several years.

High School Notes

The Southern Section boys' volleyball finals will be held Saturday at Cypress College. The Division III match begins at 2 p.m., followed by Division II at 4:30 and Division I at 7. . . . The Southern Section badminton finals are today at Cypress College. Title matches in Divisions I and II start at 2:30 p.m. . . . The Southern Section individual tennis tournament concludes this weekend at the Seacliff Tennis Club in Huntington Beach. The round of 16 and the quarterfinals are Friday starting at 1 p.m. with the semifinals and finals on Saturday starting at 10:30 a.m. . . . The Southern Section team tennis tournament concludes with the semifinal round today and the finals Wednesday. The finals will be held in four divisions at alternate home sites.

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