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Monroe, Taft Set for Rematch


There were plenty of doubters when Monroe High beat Taft in the second match of the boys' volleyball season.

The Vikings were lucky, some thought. They caught Taft, City Section runner-up last season, at a bad time. They would still have trouble in conference play.

Monroe is now one victory away from winning the City Championship title. The Vikings will play Taft in the final at 8 tonight at Cal State Northridge.

"It wasn't a fluke match because we've done it all season," Monroe Coach Bob Berrenson said of his team's 15-9, 2-15, 15-12, 13-15, 15-10 victory over Taft.

"If we [played well] every five, six, seven matches, it could be called a fluke. But we did it every match. I'm a believer in my own team."

The top-seeded Vikings (16-0) have swept each of their three playoff matches by playing determined defense, digging every ball that makes it to the back row.

They will be tested by second-seeded Taft (14-1), which features 6-foot-5 opposite hitter Mike Gledhill, a left-hander who can take over a match.

"Like a basketball team with a great scorer, he's going to get his points," Berrenson said. "We just have to deal with him."

Taft is also fueled by revenge.

The Toreadors lost in the 1998 City final in four games to Palisades.

Taft beat Palisades in a five-game quarterfinal last week, and a victory tonight would complete its mission.

"We're just working on redeeming ourselves for the loss to Monroe and for being runners-up last year," Taft Coach Doug Magorien said.

Berrenson has been here before, coaching five lower-division City champions.

He won titles at Monroe last season, at Van Nuys in 1991 and '94, and at Reseda in 1988 and '89.

Magorien won an upper-division championship at Taft in 1990.


In the City Division final, top-seeded Kennedy, which plays second-seeded Hamilton (11-5) at 6 tonight at Northridge, is singing a different Toon.

Kennedy (8-8) reached the upper-division semifinals last season with Jeff Toon, now a redshirt at Cal State Northridge, but the Golden Cougars are content to be playing for the lower-division championship.

"I think we are a good, solid team for this level," Kennedy Coach Mike Stanton said.

Toon, a Times' all-region middle blocker last season, graduated, but Kennedy has reached the City Division final thanks to several position switches.

Andrew Choy, a setter at the beginning of the season, was moved to outside hitter three weeks ago, giving Kennedy the outside presence it had been lacking.

Andy Pong was moved from outside hitter to middle blocker a little over a month ago, solidifying the middle.

"I've had to do a lot of juggling and the adjustments have taken us a while to get used to, but I think we've done pretty well," Stanton said.

The City finals will be televised live on KLCS, channel 58.

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