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VALLEY / VENTURA COUNTY SPORTS | HIGH SCHOOL VOLLEYBALL

Canyon's Gibson Pierces Stereotype

March 30, 2000|MIKE BRESNAHAN

Gideon Gibson loves to see that look on his teachers' faces.

It usually comes after he informs them of his interests in computer drafting. Or after he aces another test.

It hits them then: Despite a pierced tongue, Gibson is . . . normal?

A senior on the Canyon High boys' volleyball team, Gibson has spiked hair and a silver ball attached to the middle of his tongue, but he is otherwise a study of normalcy. Perhaps even a model of intellect.

"He does a lot of thinking," said Coach Dave Gutierrez of Canyon. "I've had times where I've picked his brain and there's always something in it. He's a real logical kid."

Gibson also is a talent on the court for the Cowboys (4-2, 1-0 in Foothill League play).

He refined his game on the beach last summer and improved his knowledge by serving as an assistant on the Canyon girls' volleyball team last fall.

"It gave me a different perspective," Gibson said. "It gave me the coach's point of view on what was going on."

This season, the 6-foot-4 ambidextrous opposite hitter is one of the top attackers in the region, surpassing the 30-kill mark in three matches and erasing the memories of his inauspicious volleyball beginning.

As a freshman, he was more interested in mountain biking. He went out for volleyball only because a friend urged him. He barely played.

"A kid that plays one match will a lot of times drop out," Gutierrez said. "Gideon just began to play volleyball all the time. Although he was terrible, he just played and played and played. He sold himself out to volleyball."

As for the pierced tongue . . .

"A couple friends of mine said it was the cool thing to do, and I had never really done anything different," Gibson said. "It was time for a change."

Deep down, however, Gibson is one of the guys. Just ask his teachers.

"It just blows them away when they get to know me," he said.

*

Looks like Taft can play with the big boys.

The defending City champion held its own against several Southern Section teams last Saturday in the Dos Pueblos tournament in Goleta.

Taft handled Thousand Oaks in the first round of the tournament playoffs, 15-4, and held a 10-5 lead in the quarterfinals against Division III powerhouse Santa Ynez.

The Toreadors lost to Santa Ynez, 15-11, but earned respect.

"All those guys were huge, but we had them worried," Coach Doug Magorien of Taft said of Santa Ynez. "We had them sweating."

Royal lost to Santa Ynez in the semifinals, 15-13. Loyola defeated Santa Ynez in the final.

*

Highland went 20 days between matches, an unbelievably long stretch considering spring break was not a factor.

Before playing Palmdale on Wednesday, Highland's last match was a three-game victory over Canyon on March 9.

In between, two nonleague matches were canceled.

A match against Hart was nixed because of a scheduling conflict. Hart ended up playing L.A. Baptist on the same day Highland thought it was supposed to play Hart.

A match against Long Beach Jordan was canceled when referees did not show up. The teams played a five-game scrimmage.

"We're still in early-March form," said first-year Coach Tom Jones. "It's not good the way things have happened. It's frustrating for the players."

Highland (3-0) did participate in the Dos Pueblos tournament last Saturday, but it remains to be seen if their inactivity in match play catches up with them.

*

Jason Peplinski, who helped build a regional power in only three years, will step down as Quartz Hill coach after the season.

Peplinski grew tired of the commute from his home in Simi Valley to Quartz Hill--a 125-mile round trip--and will coach at Moorpark High next season.

Peplinski said he is ready for the challenge of coaching Moorpark, which has struggled since joining the Marmonte League three years ago.

"I saw Moorpark play at the Foothill tournament and they're very young and very talented," he said. "I was impressed."

In the meantime, Peplinski has Quartz Hill pointing toward an April 14 match at Highland, the first of two league showdowns with the Bulldogs.

*

Pat Nihipali, a talented 6-foot-9 sophomore at Mira Costa, might be on the sidelines when the Mustangs host Royal on Friday in their annual nonleague match.

Nihipali, who transferred from Anaheim Esperanza in December, sat out Friday in a three-game loss to Newport Harbor and won't play until eligibility questions are resolved regarding his family's move from Yorba Linda to the Mira Costa attendance area.

"There's a glitch in the residency issue," said Coach Mike Cook of Mira Costa. "He's already played in three matches, so I don't know if we'll have to forfeit those or not. But our administration and the Southern Section are checking it out."

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

The Top 10

Regional rankings, listed

by school, league, record

and last week's ranking

No. 1 ROYAL

Marmonte, 9-0 (1)

No. 2 HIGHLAND

Golden, 3-0 (2)

No. 3 TAFT

West Valley, 8-0 (3)

No. 4 CANYON

Foothill, 4-2 (5)

No. 5 QUARTZ HILL

Golden, 5-1 (6)

No. 6 ALEMANY

Mission, 8-1 (8)

No. 7 CHAMINADE

Mission, 6-1 (7)

No. 8 WESTLAKE

Marmonte, 8-1 (NR)

No. 9 VILLAGE

CHRISTIAN

Alpha, 10-0 (9)

No. 10 SIMI VALLEY

Marmonte, 7-1 (4)

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