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VALLEY / VENTURA COUNTY SPORTS

Royal Rallies to Beat Westlake, Get Fair Share

Girls' volleyball: Highlanders pull even in standings, setting up co-championship with one match remaining.

November 01, 2000|MIKE BRESNAHAN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

SIMI VALLEY — Royal High, second-place finishers in the Marmonte League?

It certainly looked that way Tuesday night, as Westlake homed in on a second consecutive league title in girls' volleyball.

But somebody at Royal better make room in the athletic budget for a league co-championship banner, thanks to a 15-8, 11-15, 11-15, 15-8, 15-6 victory over Westlake at Royal.

Royal all but guaranteed a shared league championship between the schools, who have dominated league play since 1995.

Westlake led the fourth game, 5-0, and appeared to be on its way to victory, but Royal countered with a stunning 30-9 run over the next two games.

The Highlanders completely shut down the Westlake offense and served with deadly accuracy, compiling nine aces during the run.

"We've been telling them that they could handle this situation all year," Royal Coach Travis Ferguson said. "They didn't get rattled. They didn't doubt themselves. They showed they could handle it."

The Highlanders (15-8, 10-1 in league play) and Westlake (14-2, 10-1) are decisive favorites in regular-season finales on Thursday, with Royal at Simi Valley and Westlake hosting Agoura.

Westlake dropped the first game, but won the second and third games with relative ease.

The fourth game looked like more of the same, with the Warriors scoring the first five points.

Then came the Royal comeback.

Tanya Grover served nine consecutive points to propel the Highlanders in the fourth game.

The Highlanders jumped to a 10-2 lead in the fifth game and, shortly thereafter, capped their comeback.

Carly Huffman, who battled flu-like symptoms before the match, had 20 kills and Grover added 15 for Royal.

Katie Meledy and Tawny Thorp each had 13 kills for Westlake.

"I think we put our guard down and got comfortable," said Coach Rey Reyes, who found solace in the fact that the Warriors likely will still be co-champions. "It'll be a good finish for the season."

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