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VALLEY / VENTURA COUNTY SPORTS | HIGH SCHOOL VOLLEYBALL

Hickerson Got Back on Boards for Chaminade

May 04, 2000|MIKE BRESNAHAN

As he carefully and painfully slid down the snow-covered mountain, Adam Hickerson couldn't believe his luck.

The Chaminade High junior was snowboarding New Year's Day at Mammoth Mountain when he missed the landing to a 360-degree jump.

He removed his snowboard and, with the pain steadily increasing, slowly worked his way down the mountain, where he received the bad news at a local hospital.

He sustained an avulsion fracture in his left hip, requiring him to discontinue strenuous physical activity for six weeks.

What a way to begin the new millennium.

The 6-foot-1 outside hitter sat out while the rest of the Eagles prepared for what they expected to be a decent season for the traditionally moribund boys' volleyball program.

Hickerson was able to squeeze in three practices before the start of the season which, it turns out, was all he needed.

Hickerson has become an offensive spark for Chaminade (14-3, 8-3 in Mission League play), which has clinched a rare playoff berth.

His attack from the left side is a critical part of the Eagles' success, as is his new and improved mind-set.

Last year, if he spiked the ball out of bounds, Hickerson would yank the net. Or disappear for the next few rallies.

This year after a mistake, he seamlessly moves to the next play.

"I don't get as frustrated at myself," Hickerson said. "When I get mad at myself, the team starts playing bad because they're trying to calm me down. I worked on that when I was with my club team and it's turned out OK."

It hasn't been easy for Hickerson, who aggravated his injury in an early-season match against Alemany. The soreness has not left.

"As soon as I jump, I can feel it pulling right away," said Hickerson, who compared the feeling to a "lightning-bolt pain."

"It hasn't gone away because I haven't been able to take any time off. All during a match, I can feel it."

He has remained in the lineup, however, and is on his way to setting the school record for kills in a season. Maybe.

"I know that he would be [the record-holder], but boys' volleyball at Chaminade has never been anything spectacular," Coach Eric Dick said. "We've never had any records kept."

Hickerson and senior setter Paul Jocas, who has committed to UCLA to play the newly created Libero position, have the Eagles flying high.

"It's a huge, exciting time for us, compared to what Chaminade volleyball has done in the past," Dick said. "We've got all these guys doing things that have never been done here before."

Chaminade plays an important regular-season finale Friday at Alemany (13-2, 9-2), with a chance to tie the Indians for second place.

"We figured we'd probably make the playoffs this year, but we weren't counting on it," Hickerson said. "Then we started practicing and figured out how good we would be. We didn't think we'd ever have this big of a chance in league."

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Looking for a former Cal State Northridge men's volleyball player?

You might find him on the coaching staff of a team in the region.

In addition to Dick at Chaminade, Ed Bond coaches at Newbury Park, Travis Ferguson is a co-coach at Royal and Ryan Denihan and Tim Nelson are assistants at Alemany.

Peter Piexoto is the girls' volleyball coach at Alemany.

"We're far too unmotivated to do anything else that doesn't involve volleyball," Ferguson joked before getting serious.

"The volleyball community's not all that small. It's kind of accepted that once you're done playing, you either coach high school or club."

*

Royal dropped six spots in the Southern Section Division I poll.

The Highlanders (16-3) went 2-2 at the Santa Barbara Tournament of Champions, defeating Dos Pueblos and Huntington Beach before losing to Loyola and Newport Harbor.

The Highlanders, ranked No. 10 in Division I, finished seventh.

"That will leave us in the bottom part of the Top 10 going into playoffs, which could be tough," Ferguson said. "But it's been such a weird year. It should be pretty exciting in the playoffs."

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

The Top 10

Rankings of boys' volleyball teams in the region

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RK LW School (League) Rec. 1 1 Royal (Marmonte) 16-3 2 2 Highland (Golden) 12-0 3 3 Taft (West Valley) 14-0 4 4 Canyon (Foothill) 11-2 5 5 Alemany (Mission) 13-2 6 6 Chaminade (Mission) 14-3 7 8 Westlake (Marmonte) 11-2 8 9 Village Christian (Alpha) 20-0 9 NR Poly (Sunset Six) 14-0 10 10 Simi Valley (Marmonte) 11-2

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