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Taft Continues to Exceed Expectations, Wins Again

April 22, 1999|MIKE BRESNAHAN

Before the boys' volleyball season, Taft High was forecast as a decent team.

The Toreadors made it to the City Section championship match last season. They lost six senior starters and had some talent returning.

But after defeating Granada Hills High, 15-7, 15-17, 15-11, 19-17, on Wednesday, the secret is out: This year's rendition of Taft may be better than last year's.

The Toreadors (9-1, 8-0 in conference play) clinched at least a tie for the Northwest Valley Conference championship, and with a victory over either Kennedy or Cleveland in their final two matches, they clinch the title outright.

Junior opposite hitter Mike Gledhill delivered his typical sterling performance--29 kills and six aces--but other players stepped up at important times as well.

Middle blockers Brandon Brown (16 kills) and Andy Ryoo (14 kills) each provided a successful alternative to feeding the ball to Gledhill.

"I don't want to say anything negative about last year's team, but this team is a lot like my 1990 team," Taft Coach Doug Magorien said of his City Section championship squad.

"We weren't that big [in 1990], but we played with so much heart. This reminds me of that."

The trouble began for Granada Hills on Monday, when setter Phillip Pelletier was declared academically ineligible.

Still, the Highlanders (9-2, 6-2) played well at times. Senior outside hitter Mike Aleman had 18 kills.

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