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THE TIMES 1997 SPRING ALL-COUNTY TEAMS

Alleman Caps His Dream Season

Player of the year: Esperanza standout ignores injured leg to lead Aztecs to first Southern Section Division I title.

June 13, 1997|MICHAEL ITAGAKI | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

ANAHEIM — Jon Alleman dreamed about winning a Southern Section title since he was in the eighth grade.

He remembered watching future UCLA star and 1993 Division II player of the year Paul Nihipali lead Esperanza to the title that season.

This season, Alleman played that leading role.

Alleman, The Times Orange County player of the year, helped the Aztecs win their first Division I volleyball championship, and he did it dramatic fashion.

First, he propelled Esperanza into the championship match by notching 35 kills in a five-game semifinal victory over Manhattan Beach Mira Costa, all on an injured left leg.

Then Alleman, who will play at Brigham Young next season, helped Esperanza rally to post a four-game victory over second-seeded and previously unbeaten Simi Valley Royal, tallying 33 kills in the title match . . . all with his taped hamstring.

"We haven't seen a player like [Alleman] all year long," Royal Coach Bob Ferguson said after the match. "He was dynamic. He pulled plays out of the hat time and time again."

Although Esperanza Coach Kurt Kersten said Alleman was only at about 80% for the championship match, Alleman was still the Aztecs' leader.

Sure, it might have been easier for Alleman to let his teammates carry the load when he was hurting.

After all, the team also featured UC Irvine-bound middle blocker Kyle Anderson, Loyola Marymount-bound outside hitter Dan Harrington and setter Justin Dalton, who will also go to BYU.

Although hampered, Alleman still wanted the ball.

"I didn't want anyone else to win it or lose it for us," Alleman said.

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