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VALLEY/VENTURA COUNTY SPORTS

Taft Has What It Takes in Long Run

Volleyball: Granada Hills starts fast but Toreadors win with more than play from Nargi.

March 27, 1998|LAUREN PETERSON | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Granada Hills High scored the first points in each game but Taft had the last words and defeated the Highlanders, 15-8, 15-13, 15-5, in a Northwest Valley Conference boys' volleyball match Thursday at Granada Hills High.

The Toreadors (6-0, 4-0 in conference play) defeated defending conference and City Section 4-A Division champion Granada Hills (5-2, 2-2) for the first time since 1992.

Cal State Nothridge-bound Joe Nargi, a 6-foot-6 opposite hitter, was smashing, as usual, and finished with 16 kills.

Nargi was the primary focus of an ESPN2 camera set up at courtside. But candid shots could have been caught of several other Toreadors.

Senior outside hitter Tomer Firouzman was right behind Nargi with 14 kills, and Elan Yakovee, another senior outside hitter, added 10 kills.

Senior setter Afram Naoum had 42 assists, three kills and four digs, junior middle blocker Chris Bowen added seven kills and two solo blocks and junior middle blocker Brandon Brown contributed six kills and two solo blocks.

"Everybody has their contributions," Firouzman said.

"We have a lot of talent, and it's not just Joey."

Because of that, Taft might not be just another team. The Toreadors' sights are trained on some lofty goals, including the conference title and the City 4-A championship.

Granada Hills has been there, but the torch might have been passed.

"They're kind of where we were last year," Granada Hills Coach Tom Harp said before the match. "Last year, we had everyone returning. This year, they've got everybody back."

If their play against Granada Hills was any indication, the Toreadors are not only back, they're better.

"I think this is a good team," Taft Coach Doug Magorien said. "Last year, we were a one-man Joe. This year, we're more balanced.

"If we play with confidence and a lot of heart, I think we can go far."

It took the Toreadors a while to get going against the Highlanders.

Granada Hills took a 5-1 lead in the first game, led, 9-4, in the second game, and was ahead, 5-2, in the third game.

But in the end, Taft was on top, each time.

"We just have periods where we don't concentrate and we give up points," Harp said of his Highlanders, who have only setter Frank Nguyen back from last year's team. "That's inexperience. There's being able to compete and there's getting the job done. Right now, we're just not getting the job done."

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