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A Streak Ends But Taft Wins Anyway


Taft High won't be celebrating its 50th, but a bigger bash might be on the way.

The Toreadors' consecutive-game victory streak was terminated at 46 by Grant, but they recovered to win, 15-9, 10-15, 15-6, 15-6, in a semifinal of the boys' volleyball City Championship on Tuesday at Taft.

Mike Gledhill delivered 27 kills and the Toreadors took another step toward defending the City title they won a year ago.

Top-seeded Taft (16-0) plays No. 3 Venice (16-0) in the final Friday at Cal State Northridge.

The possibility of winning 50 consecutive games in match play was tossed out by the fourth-seeded Lancers (12-4), who became the first team to avoid a sweep by the Toreadors.

"It wasn't exactly a goal to go undefeated [in games], it was a hope," said Gledhill, who will attend Pepperdine. "That game lost was just a wake-up call."

Indeed, Taft readjusted with strong performances in the third and fourth games to reach a more important aim.

"We didn't let that loss deter us from our goal of getting to the final," Coach Doug Magorien said.

It's not a concept that Venice wants to consider, but Taft might be a better team than last year.

The Toreadors revolve around Gledhill, but others have contributed.

Bryan Capper had 21 kills and Andrew Reback, who split time at setter last season, had 67 assists and mixed up the offense well.

"Everyone knows Mike's the one, but the other guys really make up the difference," Reback said. "We're much more balanced."

Ron Roiz had 14 kills and Michael Charleston added 11 for Grant, which out-blocked Taft by a staggering 21-7 margin.

But the Lancers had trouble passing, especially as the match progressed.

"We made too many mistakes, too many unforced errors," Coach Howard Cahn said. "We played well at the net, but they got their kills. They hit cross-court very well."

Grant had seven blocks in winning the second game, canceling out 12 kills by Gledhill.

But Taft turned a 5-4 lead in the third game into a 2-1 advantage in games by scoring 10 of the next 12 points.

Capper had six kills in the third game, Gledhill had seven in the fourth game and Taft was on its way to a championship-match appearance for the third consecutive season.

"It's kind of a relief," Magorien said. "I hope the kids don't feel that way though. We still have to win."

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