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Firing First Volley, Taft Bests Monroe in Replay of City Final

March 09, 2000|STEVE GALLUZZO

It was only a preseason match but the boys' volleyball showdown between Taft and Monroe highs on Wednesday generated an hour and a half of playoff intensity.

In a rematch of the City Championship match last year, Taft again proved superior, 15-12, 15-10, 15-7, in a nonleague victory at Monroe that could earn the Toreadors a higher postseason seeding if both repeat as league champions.

"This has now become a rivalry," Coach Doug Magorien of Taft said. "This isn't just a preseason match. Whenever you have two of the best teams in the Valley playing each other, there's going to be more enthusiasm.

"But the fact is, it's still early. I'm sure they'll make their adjustments and we'll make ours, and there's a good chance we'll meet again down the road."

Mike Gledhill had 18 kills, seven blocks and two aces for the Toreadors (2-0), who swept Monroe in the City final last May.

Masood Noorzay and Bryan Capper each added 10 kills, while setter Andrew Reback had 45 assists for Taft. Junior middle blocker Nick Armstrong had seven solo blocks.

Taft opened the match with a 5-0 run but Monroe battled back to take a 7-6 lead when Capper hit long. The Toreadors answered with a 7-0 run and won the game on their second try when Capper and Josh Groner blocked outside hitter Than Vu of Monroe.

Vu had 11 kills for the Vikings (1-2) and six others had at least five kills, but Monroe hit 12 balls into the net in the first game and was constantly playing catch-up.

The Vikings made 21 service errors, almost negating 22 assists by senior setter Arthur Llanes.

"For seeding purposes, this was an important match but to be honest I'm not thinking that way right now," said Coach Bob Berrenson, who led the Vikings to a City 3-A title in 1997. "This is a young team and we have to learn to be more consistent. We're not where we need to be yet."

Berrenson has coached in 10 City Section finals with three schools.

His teams won three 3-A titles at Reseda, including back-to-back in 1988 and 1989, and he led Van Nuys to finals in 1991 and 1994.

Taft, defending West Valley League champion, saw a 6-2 lead in game two evaporate on three consecutive unforced errors.

When Gledhill blocked junior outside hitter James Zandueta of Monroe, Taft took the lead for good, 11-10.

Monroe, defending Valley Mission League champion, beat Taft in five games in a nonleague match last season and was undefeated until being upset by the Toreadors in the City final.

Monroe led, 5-3, in the third game before Taft ended the match on a 12-2 run.

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