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Courtship Dates to Their Days at Northridge

March 21, 1997

They had a great time in the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity house at Cal State Northridge.

Now, Highland High's Mike Bird and Palmdale's Matt Tassinari are rival boys' volleyball coaches in the Golden League.

The present is fine, but the past is always fun to discuss.

Tassinari's favorite moment came before Bird was a fraternity brother.

Tassinari was playing for the fraternity volleyball team, which had a championship match against Phi Delta Theta, and Bird was the referee.

Tassinari said Bird penalized Pi Kappa Alpha at match point because one of its fans ran on the court and the opponent was awarded the victory.

Bird saw it differently.

"It was not the last point of the match," he said. "It was like 13-12.

"And I had already warned those nasty [fraternity] boys that if anybody runs on the court again, I'd award a side out."

When Bird pledged Pi Kappa Alpha the next year, in 1984, his nickname was "FanOnCourt." He was accepted into the fraternity and even coached Tassinari and the volleyball team for three years.

"It's kind of funny how he took that [match] away from us and the next year, he was one of us," Tassinari said.

Highland beat Palmdale twice last year.

Saugus selection: Saugus High this afternoon will announce its new football coach.

The finalists are Ron Hilton, a long-time varsity assistant, and Mike Kane, a former assistant at Cal State Northridge.

"I have no idea who they've chosen, but, to me, Ron should get the job," said Jim Phillips, the Saugus interim coach who was a member of the search committee. "He wants it, and he's been here 20 years and through four head coaches."

Runnin Bruin: Shawn Wills, a former tailback at UCLA, has been hired as an assistant coach by recently appointed Alemany High football Coach Jim Bonds.

Wills, who rushed for 1,586 yards for the Bruins from 1988 to 1991, will serve as a walk-on running backs coach.

Taking charge: The player dissent and parental meddling of last season have been left in the past, according to Westlake High baseball Coach Chuck Berrington.

Berrington, 31, and a longtime assistant at Camarillo, Thousand Oaks and Westlake, was named interim coach last April 18 after first-year Coach Dave Wilder was fired for providing false information on his job application.

Several Warrior parents wrote letters to administrators urging an investigation of Wilder's work history and accused him of disorganization and causing low morale among players.

Westlake (5-2, 1-0 in Marmonte League play) seems to have left it behind.

"That stuff stopped the minute I came in," Berrington said. "I've told the parents that if you see something you don't like, come into my office and I'll tell you what your kid needs to do to get better. But I will not discuss playing time--ever."

Berrington, a 1983 graduate of St. Bonaventure High and a former Oxnard College player, said he's clearly stated team rules and had one-on-one meetings with his players to advise them of his expectations and their roles.

"People had always told me, 'You can't win at Westlake; the parents have too much money and influence, and the kids are too spoiled,' " Berrington said. "But I've been around this area a while and people know I'm going to be fair."

Bronx bound: La Canada soccer goalkeeper Matt Cardis has committed to St. John's, last season's NCAA Division I champion. Cardis had a 65-2-3 record in three varsity seasons.

All in the family: Agoura High baseball player Brian Jacobsen and his sister, Kristy, a junior varsity softball player, started the week in style.

Brian, a sophomore third baseman, hit a two-run homer Monday to give the Chargers (5-2, 1-0) a victory over a touring team from Alaska.

Brian also had a double and earned his first save when he took the mound in the seventh inning with one out and one on and got two strikeouts to end the game.

On Tuesday, Kristy, a freshman, pitched a perfect game against Channel Islands.

Net loss: Before the baseball season, Agoura raised thousands of dollars to refurbish the school's infield surface and buy a portable batting cage.

In separate incidents, vandals drove a car across the infield, leaving deep tire marks, and stole the netting from the batting cage.

Agoura Coach Bruce Beck said the infield scars have healed in spots and will be filled in with sand in others. The netting has not been returned.

"We've got a $4,000 white elephant parked down the right field line," Beck said of the cage. "I guess somebody's doing some good fishing."

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