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scene in the Southland | SOUTHERN SECTION REPORT

Mira Costa's Defeat Might Prove Valuable

October 19, 2000|GARY KLEIN

After an upset defeat in a San Diego tournament last weekend, Manhattan Beach Mira Costa lost its spot atop several national girls' volleyball polls.

But Coach DaeLea Aldrich said the loss was far from devastating.

"We look at it as being a learning experience," Aldrich said. "Sometimes, you need a reality check. We'll be fine."

Mira Costa rose to the top of the rankings behind setter Lexie Beers and senior outside hitters Jamie Grass, Brooke Donahue and Kristin Nelson, who led the Mustangs to the championship of the Nike Challenge tournament in Chicago in September.

Grass did not play last weekend in Mira Costa's five-game loss to San Diego Bonita Vista because of an injured ankle. Bonita Vista parlayed the momentum from that victory to upset Lakewood St. Joseph and Santa Ana Mater Dei en route to the tournament title.

Mira Costa is looking to rebound next week in the annual Santa Barbara Tournament of Champions as it prepares for a run at the Southern Section Division I-A championship and its first state title since 1986.

"The national recognition is nice to have during the season," Aldrich said. "But like I always tell the girls, 'Nothing matters till the end.' "

*

Long Beach Poly, defending football co-champion of Southern Section Division I, is one of four high schools from across the country that has five players in the NFL this season, according to a league survey.

Poly, which has produced more NFL players than any high school, tied this year with Ely High of Pompano Beach, Fla., St. Augustine of New Orleans and Willowridge of Houston.

Poly currently boasts Washington defensive back Mark Carrier, New England defensive lineman Willie McGinest, Oakland defensive back Marquez Pope, New York Giant defensive back Omar Stoutmire and Philadelphia defensive lineman Brandon Whiting.

Dorsey is one of 13 high schools with four players in the NFL. The former Dons are Tampa Bay receiver Keyshawn Johnson, Green Bay linebacker Na'il Diggs, Indianapolis running back Karim-Abdul al-Jabbar and Cleveland receiver Dennis Northcutt.

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