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Golden West Too Much for Pierce

April 25, 1998|MICHAEL ITAGAKI

If there were any questions whether the Golden West men's volleyball team was ready to defend its state title, the Rustlers answered them emphatically Friday.

Golden West only needed a little more than an hour to defeat Pierce, 15-11, 15-3, 15-2, in a state tournament semifinal at Irvine Valley College.

Sophomore Scott Lane, a 6-foot-6 middle blocker, had 15 kills and 10 blocks for Golden West (17-2), which advanced to tonight's 7:30 p.m. final at Irvine Valley to face Orange Empire Conference rival Orange Coast (21-1), which defeated Santa Barbara in the other semifinal.

Golden West, the three-time defending state champion, avenged one of its two losses. The Rustlers lost a five-game match at Pierce (15-4) earlier this season and now have earned a chance to avenge their other loss, which came against Orange Coast.

Friday, Golden West looked sharp and never let Pierce recover from a sluggish start. The Rustlers took advantage of seven Pierce hitting errors in the first game to take a 10-2 lead before closing it out.

Setter Casey Jennings' jump serve helped Golden West take a 7-0 lead in the second game, and the Rustlers scored 13 consecutive points to help them win the third game and the match.

"We're pretty focused right now," Golden West Coach Mike D'Alessandro said.

That includes Jennings, who had 14 assists in the first game, but moved to outside hitter for the final two.

Jennings had eight kills, three blocks and two aces.

Dragan Ognjanovic had 10 kills to lead Pierce, which struggled and had 18 hitting errors.

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