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Moorpark Women Have Been Stately This Season

November 30, 2000|FERNANDO DOMINGUEZ

It hasn't been difficult for Coach Steve Burkhart to motivate the Moorpark College women's volleyball team.

"This is a team you don't have to do a lot of ranting and raving with," said Burkhart, in his 10th season with the Raiders.

There wasn't much need for it because the Raiders kept rolling along, all the way to the state championships Friday-Sunday at Delta College in Stockton.

After losing the opener to Golden West in three games, Moorpark (21-1) regrouped to easily win the Western State Conference Northern Division title and to reach the state Final Eight for the second time in school history and first since 1996.

Moorpark's closest WSC match was a five-game victory over Ventura on Oct. 31. The Pirates (18-3) placed second in the division and survived the Southern California regional to make the state championship field.

The Raiders meet Santa Rosa (19-4) in the first round on Friday at 6 p.m. and Ventura plays Delta (23-2) at 8. Moorpark and Ventura are on opposite brackets of the double-elimination tournament.

Beating Santa Rosa would set up a potential rematch between Moorpark and top-ranked Golden West (23-0), seven-time defending state champion, which faces Cabrillo (18-0) in the first round.

"That's all the girls were talking about in practice," Burkhart said. "There wasn't a mention of Santa Rosa. I didn't like that."

Burkhart admits he'd like another chance to topple Golden West, winner of 12 state titles since 1977. The Rustlers defeated Moorpark, 15-10, 15-1, 16-14, on Sept. 14.

"It was a long, drawn-out affair, even though the scores don't indicate that," Burkhart said. "We are playing well right now."

Sophomore outside hitters Carina Nusinov, from Calabasas High, and captain Toni-Ann Merendino, from Royal, lead Moorpark. Nusinov was seventh in the state at 4.23 kills per game.

Ventura is making its first trip to the state championships since 1991 and the first under seven-year Coach Miki McFadden, a setter on the U.S. Olympic women's team in 1968.

The Pirates are led by middle blocker Elena Salvador, a sophomore from Thousand Oaks who ranked among the state leaders with 3.49 kills per game, and outside hitter Kristen Jones, a sophomore from St. Bonaventure who was ninth in the state at 4.13 digs per game.

MOORPARK: The Raiders are defending their state wrestling title Friday and Saturday at Golden West College in Huntington Beach.

Sophomore Saul Lucatero has a 25-0 record in the 149-pound competition and Chris Gonzalez, state runner-up last year, is aiming for the 184-pound title.

Other Raiders among the favorites for individual titles are Bumper Fleischman (133 pounds), Steve Hernandez (157) and Ben Flores (heavyweight).

"We'd like to think we're peaking at the right time," Coach Paul Keysaw said.

Moorpark won the Southern California regional on Nov. 18.

The Raiders also won state titles in 1990, 1991 and 1997.

VALLEY: Sophomore Shelly Stiles was selected All-American and to the All-Southern California women's water polo second team.

VENTURA: Serghei Vaculeac and freshman Lauren O'Brien were selected All-American and to the All-Southern California men's and women's water polo second teams, respectively.

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