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: Today's Focus / High School Volleyball

Hoover Has the Formula

October 23, 1998|MIKE BRESNAHAN

It's a strange equation, but it works for Hoover High:

Pole vaulting + softball = volleyball.

Bridget Pearson, who is among the state's premier pole vaulters, and Cori Herbert, an ace softball pitcher, have combined to form the nucleus of the Hoover volleyball squad.

Pearson, a 5-foot-10 senior middle blocker, has led the Tornadoes (6-6, 3-3 in Pacific League play) in kills the last two seasons and is on pace to do it again.

Herbert, a 5-8 junior opposite hitter, has grasped volleyball quickly despite not playing before high school.

They appreciate the different aspects offered by volleyball.

"To get a kill, I have to rely on my passers and my setters," Pearson said. "It's much different to rely on other people. Pole vaulting is just me. It's just me and my pole on the runway. It's up to me to make it or break it."

Pearson won the pole vault in the state track and field championships as a sophomore. Last year, she finished seventh because of back problems.

She juggles a busy schedule, pole vaulting almost year-round, playing volleyball and fulfilling her duties as senior-class president.

"It's nonstop," said Pearson, who had a career-high 20 kills in a five-game loss to Arcadia on Wednesday.

"I'm never sitting at home, watching TV, thinking, 'I have nothing left to do.' I'm never without a worry, but I like it."

Herbert battled injuries last season in softball, pulling a groin muscle that never fully healed.

"I pitched but I couldn't get enough rest in between starts," Herbert said. "It just hurt all the time."

A Times All-Valley selection in softball after her freshman season, Herbert has recovered from her injury and is enjoying her time on the volleyball court.

"It's not nearly as stressful as softball," said Herbert, who also plays softball for a club team. "I think I have my mental game reestablished."

*

There's a new motto at Sylmar:

Practice hard . . . and dress warmly when you leave.

Coach Bob Thomson, struck by a severe head cold earlier this month, has installed a rule, hoping his players remain healthy.

When they leave the gym after practice, the players must wear a sweatshirt or jacket.

"Some of them have sniffles or coughs right now and I keep telling them, 'Hey, do you want what I've got?' No way," Thomson said.

"We're just trying to take preventive measures. We don't have that much depth. We can't afford [any illnesses]."

*

Mike Stanton doesn't hate Mondays.

But Tuesday posed a problem this week.

Stanton, Kennedy girls' volleyball coach, was hit on the mouth by an errant volleyball during warmups against Cleveland.

The damage: a chipped tooth.

The Golden Cougars then lost to the unheralded Cavaliers.

*

Gaby Gallardo of Poly is among the best players in the City Section.

Some say she could play with the boys.

"We played Grant the other day and the Grant boys' coach asked me if she could play on his team," Poly Coach Jimmy Ikeda said.

*

Lauren McCartin, an outside hitter at Saugus High, has played an important part in a 13-match winning streak at Cal Lutheran.

McCartin, a sophomore, had 15 kills in each of the last two Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference matches, helping keep the Regals (13-1, 8-0 in SCIAC play) in first place.

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

The Top 10

Rankings of girls' volleyball teams from the region

*--*

RK LW School (League) 1 1 Harvard-Westlake (Mission) 2 2 Royal (Marmonte) 3 3 Calabasas (Frontier) 4 5 La Reina (Tri-Valley) 5 4 Flintridge SH (Mission) 6 6 Westlake (Marmonte) 7 7 Buena (Channel) 8 8 Village Christian (Alpha) 9 9 Notre Dame (Mission) 10 NR Poly (Valley Pac-8)

*--*

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