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VALLEY / VENTURA COUNTY SPORTS | HIGH SCHOOL VOLLEYBALL

Fieldsteel Is a Real Trouper

November 01, 2000|MIKE BRESNAHAN

Ask Heather Fieldsteel what she wants to be doing in a few years, and her answer arrives in a nanosecond.

She wants to be a teacher, a perfectly understandable career choice based on her ability to capture a challenging audience.

For the last three years, the Village Christian High senior has been part of a theatrical group that travels to juvenile halls throughout the region.

The troupe performs an hour-long drama that delivers a message to its viewers--it's not too late to change your attitude . . . and your life.

The drama features a series of monologues that parallels the experiences of its audience. One character has been abused. Another is a gang member. A third character deals with AIDS-related issues.

The response isn't always enthusiastic, but the reactions are more positive than negative.

"The first 20 minutes, they laugh and they kind of jeer at us," Fieldsteel said. "But you can tell that all of a sudden it kind of clicks. And if someone else makes noise around them, they tell them to be quiet."

The troupe, called "His Company," strikes an emotional chord with some audience members.

"The kids we perform for have committed serious crimes," Fieldsteel said. "To see them cry is just amazing."

At one detention center, the viewers were inspired enough to form a choir after seeing the show, which also includes a choreographed singing routine.

They'd be equally inspired watching the 5-foot-4 Fieldsteel play volleyball.

Fieldsteel has forged a name for herself as a fierce competitor and an avid perfectionist who can't stand to lose, even if it's a scrimmage.

The two-time co-captain and All-Alpha League setter has helped lead Village Christian (18-1) to a No. 2 ranking in Southern Section Division IV-A.

"I wouldn't want to play against her," Coach Bill Schnobrich said. "She insists on being her best on a daily basis."

Regardless of whether it's on or off the volleyball court.

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Sylmar has taken its first step toward becoming a second.

The Spartans almost surely will be seeded No. 1 during the selection meeting Thursday for the City Championship playoffs and could become only the second team from the region to win the upper-division City title.

Chatsworth, which won in 1994, is the only team from the region to win the upper-division City title since girls' volleyball playoffs began in 1973.

"I never thought of it that way, but I guess it's a possibility," Sylmar Coach Bob Thomson said. "We have a legitimate shot."

The playoffs begin Monday.

As for the expected top seeding: "It would be very flattering," Thomson said. "But there's no guarantees with that."

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Sylmar (12-0) should get the nod for the top seeding in the City Championship, but who will round out the top eight?

Chatsworth (11-1) and Poly (11-1) could be seeded No. 2 and No. 3. Venice, San Pedro and Fremont likely will follow, though not necessarily in that order.

Taft (10-2), which has lost in four and five games to Chatsworth, seems to be a good fit for No. 7 and Van Nuys (9-3), with Georgia-bound setter Margot Wallace, could be No. 8.

Huntington Park and three-time defending champion Palisades should also make the 16-team field.

Kennedy (6-6) might be seeded No. 1 for the lower-level City Invitational playoffs, also a 16-team field.

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It's amazing what a jersey can do.

Louisville outside hitter Megan O'Connell was presented with the jersey of her future school, Hofstra, in a ceremony before a match last week against Chaminade.

Linda Chisholm, a member of the 1984 U.S. Olympic team, presented the jersey to O'Connell, who proceeded to deliver 20 kills in a victory that ultimately could send Louisville (9-6, 4-4 in Mission League play) to the playoffs.

"She has just been killing the ball," Coach Mary Beth Giordano. "She's really been playing well."

O'Connell and setter-outside hitter Colleen Hamlin, also a senior, have combined to give Louisville its best team in years.

"We're going to have trouble replacing them on the outside," Giordano said. "They've been our big guns."

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

Girls' Volleyball Top 10

Rankings of teams in the region

*--*

RK LW School (League) Rec. 1 1 Harvard-Westlake (Mission) 17-2 2 2 La Reina (Tri-Valley) 21-0 3 3 Oxnard (Pacific View) 16-3 4 4 Sylmar (Valley Mission) 11-0 5 5 La Canada (Rio Hondo) 17-2 6 6 Highland (Golden) 11-0 7 7 Village Christian (Alpha) 19-1 8 NR Royal (Marmonte) 15-8 9 9 Chatsworth (West Valley) 12-1 10 8 Westlake (Marmonte) 14-2

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