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Gasparian Has Success at Home and Abroad

September 23, 1997|STEVE KRESAL

Albert Gasparian, the women's volleyball coach at Golden West, is finally getting to know his team and he likes what he sees.

The Rustlers have won nine of 10 matches in winning three consecutive matches.

But the reason it has taken Gasparian some time to get familiar with his team is because he missed the first two weeks of practice. But had a good reason.

Gasparian was in Sicily working as an assistant coach for the United States women's volleyball team that was playing in the World University Games.

The U.S. team finished second, losing to Russia.

"I came back in good spirits," Gasparian said, "and I got some good ideas about what we should be doing."

That can't be good news for the rest of the teams in California, which Golden West has dominated.

The Rustlers have won the last four state titles and eight overall under Gasparian, who has a record of 314-36.

But Gasparian, in his 16th season, doesn't believe his players face any extra pressure because of the program's past accomplishments.

"I don't think it's anything new," Gasparian said. "It just means everybody is gunning for us and we have to be ready to play at that standard every time."

The Rustlers will have to be at their best this week when they host Cerritos at 7 p.m. Wednesday. Cerritos is the last team other than Golden West to win a state title (1992).

After that, Golden West will spend Friday and Saturday in the Phoenix area, playing in the Valley of the Sun tournament.

The tournament, which is being held at Scottsdale and Mesa colleges, features several top teams from across the country, including Southern Idaho, which has won the last four national two-year college titles.

"Physically," Gasparian said, "we'll see things we don't see in California. There are several foreign athletes and a lot of [the players] are older and stronger than ones we're used to playing against."

Golden West is led this season by outside hitter Mariah Marquis, who is among the top players in the state, according to Gasparian. Golden West is also fortunate in having two talented setters. Becky Sidoti returns after playing about 40% of the time last season and freshman Allison Ciarelli also has joined the program after leading Huntington Beach to a Southern Section title last year.

"We're pretty good," Gasparian said, "but we have a lot of room to grow."

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