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BOYS' VOLLEYBALL

Tritons' Bemus Commits to Irvine

May 16, 2000|MIKE ITAGAKI

UC Irvine continued its recruiting binge in Orange County last week, landing its fourth local recruit when San Clemente's Spencer Bemus committed to the Anteaters.

Bemus, a 6-foot-5 opposite/outside hitter, is a versatile player who helped the Tritons finish second in the South Coast League this season.

He joins 6-5 outside hitters Jimmy Pelzel, a U.S. junior national team member, and Kyle Martin, both from South Coast League champion El Toro, and Irvine's B.J. Fell, who helped the Vaqueros win a Sea View League co-championship. Irvine is second-seeded in the Southern Section Division I playoffs.

"I'm pretty good friends with all of those guys," Bemus said. "I kind of thought that with all four of us going there, we'd have a shot at a championship in our four years."

Bemus chose to stay closer to home, unlike his older brother Corin, who went to Loyola Marymount after helping the Tritons reach the Division I final in 1995.

Spencer's road to the final must go through Newport Harbor tonight, when the Tritons travel to play the Sea View League co-champion Sailors, led by Stanford-bound outside hitter Billy Clayton.

ON THE MEND

El Toro's Martin has been out of action for two weeks since he injured his knee in a league-title clinching victory over San Clemente. But Martin and the Chargers got some good news last week.

When Martin first hurt his knee, he thought it was hyperextended. An initial diagnosis said there could be potential ligament damage, but an MRI revealed it was only a severe bruise.

El Toro Coach Michelle Kyman said Martin should be cleared to practice by Wednesday. So if the Chargers can find a way to win at Claremont in the second round tonight, Martin could be ready for a potential quarterfinal meeting against third-seeded Corona del Mar.

"That was some really good news for us," Kyman said. "Hamid Zand played in Kyle's spot in our first-round match and he played really well. Everyone stepped up."

El Toro beat Long Beach Jordan in four games in the first round.

LOOKING AHEAD

Tonight's top match at 7 is San Clemente at Newport Harbor. The teams finished the regular season ranked fifth and seventh in the county and split their two meetings this season.

San Clemente has one of the most physically imposing teams in the county, with UCLA-bound outside hitter Gray Garrett (6-6), Bemus, junior Nick Gardner (6-5) and senior middle blocker Brian George (6-6) leading a potent attack, which has only lacked consistency this season.

Newport Harbor is led by Clayton and setter Kent Turner.

Another high-powered matchup features Simi Valley Royal, the Marmonte League champion and top-ranked team in the Times' San Fernando Valley/Ventura Edition rankings, playing at Serra League champion Santa Margarita, the sixth-ranked team in Orange County.

In Division II, Orange County all-star football quarterback Brian Bartczak leads Valencia into a second-round match at Woodbridge, which finished the regular season ranked second in the division. Woodbridge is led by Princeton-bound setter Jason Liljestrom.

Another all-county matchup features two league champions--Garden Grove at Foothill--with the winner advancing to meet, likely, top-seeded Santa Barbara.

In Division III, fourth-seeded Whittier Christian, led by Brigham Young-bound outside hitter Tim Layton, plays at Paraclete tonight.

If you have an item or idea for the boys' volleyball report, you can fax us at (714) 966-5663 or e-mail us at mike.itagaki@latimes.com

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