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VALLEY / VENTURA COUNTY SPORTS

Poly Girls Take Fifth, Reverse Loss to Sylmar

Volleyball: Gallardo makes big plays in 15-8, 11-15, 15-6, 10-15, 15-6 victory that gives Parrots conference lead.

October 22, 1998|MIKE BRESNAHAN | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

SYLMAR — This time there would be no fifth-game collapse. Gaby Gallardo made sure of it.

Gallardo delivered five of her 16 kills in the final game and Poly High defeated Sylmar, 15-8, 11-15, 15-6, 10-15, 15-6, in a Valley Pac-8 Conference match Wednesday night at Sylmar.

With Gallardo taking control, the Parrots (8-1, 7-1 in conference play) avenged a five-game loss to Sylmar two weeks ago and moved a half-game ahead of Sylmar in the conference standings.

"Fifth game, we said she was going to carry us," Coach Jimmy Ikeda of Poly said. "She was on fire against a good blocking team."

That she was.

Gallardo, a senior outside hitter, showed much more power and accuracy in the rematch, one of many things that changed for Poly this time around.

How superstitious were the Parrots?

For their prematch meal, they nixed the traditional lasagna entree, which they dined on before the first match against Sylmar, and switched to spaghetti.

"We just needed a change in the menu," Ikeda said before the match. "Hopefully, it'll change our luck."

Sylmar (8-1, 6-1), ranked No. 10 in the region by The Times, had all the good fortune two weeks ago, but none Wednesday in the fifth game.

The Spartans fell behind, 4-0, and never recovered.

"I thought we were lucky the first time and got all the breaks," Coach Bob Thomson of Sylmar said.

Said Gallardo: "We knew we had to take back what we lost."

The Parrots didn't win because they carefully scrutinized video tape from two weeks ago. To the contrary, the tape might as well have been erased.

"Sometimes it's best to just forget," Ikeda said.

Poly began winning the mental battle Saturday with a 15-6 victory over the Spartans in the semifinals of the Sylmar tournament.

The match was merely the latest in what has become one of the best City Section rivalries.

Poly defeated Sylmar for the City Section 3-A championship last season.

"Going five games against Poly doesn't surprise me," Thomson said. "It's a classic matchup."

Had the Spartans won, they would have improved their shot at a high seeding for the City playoffs.

"Our minds weren't into it," said Kassy Jimenez of Sylmar, who had 12 kills and six blocks.

Not that Poly minded.

"Now we're tied [in the season series]," Ikeda said. "Back where we want to be."

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