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VALLEY / VENTURA COUNTY SPORTS

Nelson Is Prepared for New Setting

Volleyball: Alemany standout plays for L.A. Athletic Club in U.S. junior nationals.

June 28, 1998|ERIC SONDHEIMER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Richard Nelson, a 6-foot-3 senior setter at Alemany High, is one of the region's top college volleyball prospects for 1999.

But how does he rate nationally?

Nelson will find out when he plays for the Los Angeles Athletic Club's 18-and-under team at the United States Volleyball Assn. junior national championships in Dallas. The tournament runs from Friday to July 6.

"This is the best of the best," Nelson said.

The Los Angeles Athletic Club, the defending champion, is led by 6-8 Curt Toppel, a senior-to-be at Loyola High. Toppel was most valuable player in the tournament last year and is joined by Robert Congelliere of Newbury Park, Jeff Toon of Kennedy and Chris Gorny of Littlerock.

Toppel, a member of the U.S. junior national team, might be the No. 1 volleyball prospect in the nation. Stanford and UCLA are at the top of his recruiting list.

Playing on the same club team as Toppel gives Nelson an opportunity to display his skills before college coaches.

"I will know pretty much where I stand with the other players around the country," Nelson said.

The Los Angeles Athletic Club also has a 16-and-under team competing in Dallas. The team includes T.J. Young of Glendale, Jason Koenig of Simi Valley, Eugene Kim and Darrin Phillips of Granada Hills and Mike Gledhill of Taft.

Another team entered is Sports Shack, coached by Alvin Lamarre of Crespi. Joe Nargi of Taft, Larry Cole of Campbell Hall and Matt Miller of Crespi are among the team's top players.

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