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VALLEY / VENTURA COUNTY SPORTS

Oxnard Erases Buena and Preseason Goals

Girls' volleyball: Yellowjackets aim higher after showing they can compete with the top teams.

October 11, 2000|MIKE BRESNAHAN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

OXNARD — They were supposed to be long-term goals, as if they were chiseled into the side of a marble slab or precisely penned using a quill and scroll.

But the success of the Oxnard High girls' volleyball team has changed all that.

After a convincing 15-11, 16-14, 15-10 victory over Buena in a nonleague match Tuesday night, the goals of a couple months ago might as well have been inscribed on a piece of scratch paper.

They need to be upgraded--soon.

Sarah Morrison had 10 kills for the Yellowjackets, who are playing the best volleyball in recent history, which is saying something.

Oxnard (11-3) has won Pacific League titles the last two years and a third is surely on the way.

This team is thinking playoffs.

"I think we're doing better than I expected us to be," Morrison said. "Before I wanted to make it to the second round [of playoffs], but now I think we can go further.

"I say quarterfinals if we just keep working hard and don't take anything for granted."

No argument there.

With Morrison, who has committed to Cal State Fullerton, and Sara Naumann, Oxnard has a potent attack that could cause problems for most teams.

Morrison, who recently moved from outside hitter to middle blocker, helped Oxnard overturn a 14-11 deficit in the second game and a 9-5 deficit in the third game.

After the match, Oxnard Coach Lori Rice read to her players the preseason goals they had written.

Some hoped to win a match or two in the playoffs. Others were content with a Pacific League title.

Not anymore.

"We definitely have to sit down and rewrite these," she said. "We now have the chance to take on the big dogs."

In an effort to break its playoff jinx of the last two years, when it was bounced in the second round each time, the team gave itself a new name before the season--Oxy.

The nickname may sound more like a facial cream, but it seems to be working.

"Athletics in general at Oxnard, and certainly volleyball, just hadn't taken off," Rice said. "We said, 'Let's go with Oxy and see if we have better luck.' "

The Yellowjackets, ranked No. 3 in the region by The Times, get another opportunity next Tuesday in a nonleague match against No. 4-ranked Ventura.

Buena (3-4) had 10 kills from Lindsey Martin, but came undone late in each game.

The Bulldogs played Oxnard even for the first part of each game but couldn't finish.

The second game was particularly troublesome for Buena, which allowed Oxnard to fight off five game points.

"They stepped it up and we just had a bad time maintaining momentum," said assistant coach Stacy Miller, who coached in place of Jack Richards.

Richards, an officer for the Ventura Police Dept., was out of town on assignment.

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