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South Coast Continues Winning Tradition

October 10, 2000|MIKE ITAGAKI

Fans could always find some of the best volleyball in Orange County down in the South Coast League and this season is no exception.

The league boasts the county's top-ranked team, San Clemente, and there are plenty of top players too, including two of the county's best juniors who went head-to-head last week: San Clemente's Katy Daly and El Toro's Kim Wilson.

Daly's 17 kills and 11 digs led San Clemente to a convincing 15-9, 15-12, 16-14 victory over previously unbeaten El Toro, but Wilson also impressed. She finished with 16 kills and 26 digs.

"Kim played great," El Toro Coach Michelle Kyman said. "We're disappointed that we didn't play how we were capable of playing, but a lot of that had to do with San Clemente."

El Toro is one of the five contenders already chasing San Clemente . . . with a limp.

El Toro is still without starting opposite Kim Ulloa, who could return this week after recovering from a knee injury. Capistrano Valley, one of the preseason picks to challenge San Clemente for the South Coast title, is also hindered by a nagging ankle injury to setter Andrea Delsigne.

Dana Hills is without its two setters, Claire Manning and Alisa Katz. Manning suffered a dislocated pinky and Katz dislocated her elbow in a five-game victory over No. 9 Esperanza Sept. 20.

The team's top offensive player, outside hitter Molly Chambers, is setting now, but Dana Hills Coach Mark Rivadeneyra hopes Manning will be ready when the Dolphins play at San Clemente Wednesday and at Capistrano Valley Friday.

"We were playing really well when we got slapped with the hospital stick," Rivadeneyra said.

Mission Viejo beat Dana Hills in five games last week, but the Dolphins bounced back with a five-game victory over Trabuco Hills.

Among Trabuco Hills' victories this season is a five-game win over Santa Margarita Sept. 29. The Eagles have won four consecutive Southern Section championships.

"That was the first time we've beaten them," Trabuco Hills Coach Craig Moothart said. "It was a great win for us. League is going to be interesting."


San Clemente has avoided the injury bug so far this season and the Tritons are unbeaten in best-of-five matches.

They lost to Long Beach Poly, the top-ranked team in Southern Section Division I-AA, in the Dave Mohs Memorial tournament final, and North Hollywood Harvard Westlake, the top-ranked team in Division III-AA, in the Santa Barbara San Marcos tournament semifinals last weekend.

They are No. 1 in the county, but they hear whispers to the contrary.

"We feel like maybe we haven't been getting respect as the No. 1 team in the county," San Clemente Coach Rob O'Rear said. "But I haven't seen a team that can stay with us, that is, when we play up to the ability I think we're capable of playing.

"It's just a matter of us staying at that level."


Irvine reached the final of the Santa Barbara San Marcos tournament Saturday but lost to North Hollywood Harvard-Westlake in the final, 15-9. Harvard-Westlake defeated San Clemente in the semifinals.

San Clemente's Katy Daly and Christina Vick and Irvine's Jody Carlson and Olivia Waldowski earned all-tournament honors.


Newport Harbor (3-4), winner of two consecutive State Division I and three consecutive Southern Section titles, has struggled some this season, but the Sailors' future under Coach Dan Glenn always seems to have silver linings.

Although an ankle injury has hampered starting opposite Christine Woller, a 6-foot junior, it's provided more playing time for two underclassmen who have sparkled: Claire Allen, a 5-11 sophomore, and Alyson Jennings, a 5-7 freshman.

Freshmen don't normally start, especially at high-profile programs, but the ones who have at Newport Harbor have impressive credentials.

Freshmen who have started recently for Glenn included two-time Orange County player of the year April Ross, now at USC; former section player of the year setter Jennifer Carey, now starting at Hawaii, and Melissa Schutz, who started at Colorado.

So what's the early skinny on Jennings?

"She's not as far along physically as some of those other kids," Glenn said. "But ball-control wise, she's further along than even Misty."

That's Misty May, Long Beach State's former NCAA player of the year and a U.S. Olympian in beach volleyball last month in Sydney, who also started at Newport Harbor as a freshman.


Ninth-ranked Esperanza, led by Kristy Chester, has a tough week, playing at No. 3 Huntington Beach today and at home Thursday against No. 8 Los Alamitos.

Wednesday, the Golden West League's two unbeaten teams meet when Ocean View plays at Santa Ana and the Empire League's front-runners also meet when El Dorado plays at Cypress.

Thursday, Mater Dei, top-ranked in Division I-A last week, hosts Lakewood St. Joseph, top-ranked in Division II-A last week.

This weekend, Del Mar Torrey Pines hosts its tournament, which features best-of-five matches. County teams participating include Mater Dei, No. 5 Corona del Mar, No. 6 Laguna Beach, Newport Harbor, Marina and Santa Margarita.


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