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VALLEY / VENTURA COUNTY SPORTS | HIGH SCHOOL VOLLEYBALL

She Won't Bug Out on Highland

September 27, 2000|MIKE BRESNAHAN

The definition might as well be changed to "season-ender."

Mononucleosis is never good to catch, even though the long-term effects are minimal, because it usually puts an athlete on the shelf for months.

Unless you're Brynn Olsson.

The Highland High senior was diagnosed with mononucleosis two weeks ago but continues to play on the girls' volleyball team.

Olsson, a 5-foot-9 outside hitter who has committed to Southern Mississippi, consulted a doctor after feeling weak for three weeks.

She was cleared to play last week--the strain of the virus she caught was relatively minor--with some restrictions.

"I just have to listen to my body," she said. "If I get tired, I have to sit out. It still bugs a little."

Coach Tom Jones of Highland isn't bugged at all by Olsson's return.

Highland is expected to win the Golden League championship with Olsson and setter Amy Truong, who also has committed to Southern Mississippi.

Without Olsson, Highland would have been low-flying.

"She was struggling there for a while, but I'm glad she's back practicing with us," Coach Tom Jones said. "She's an incredible player for us and she would have left a hole. Her attitude and leadership on the court would have been missed."

It's a little surprising that Olsson excels in volleyball, not basketball because her father is the girls' basketball coach at Saugus.

Brynn played basketball sparingly growing up and decided she'd rather be a spiker than a shooter.

"I wasn't very natural at basketball," she said. "I said, 'I stink at this. . . . I need to try something else.' "

She found volleyball, which was fine with her father.

"I always wanted her to do what she wanted to do," Eric Olsson said. "Once she decided on volleyball, she pretty much cut everything else out [athletically] and has worked very hard at it."

Eric had a decision to make earlier this month when Highland played at Saugus. He easily arrived at a conclusion.

"You've got some loyalties with school, but you've got to root for your daughter," he said.

*

Two possible awards for Ventura High: comeback player of the year and comeback coach of the year.

Coach Debbie Litten, who missed last season while on maternity leave, has the Cougars (3-0) pointed toward a successful season, and Chelsea Rasmussen, who missed last season because of a knee injury, is a big reason why.

Litten turned the team over to her husband, Gary, last year so she could spend time at home with the couple's three children, including newborn Libby.

Litten was a little nervous when she returned in May.

"I was a little concerned because you always wonder how they're going to react when you get back," Litten said. "But the kids came back strong and we've just kept going."

Rasmussen, a 5-9 outside hitter, tore the anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee playing for a club team before last season.

Rasmussen has come back strong. She had 14 kills in a four-game victory over league rival Buena on Thursday.

*

Next Thursday offers a preview of the Marmonte League championship.

Royal and Westlake have almost taken turns winning the league title, with Royal taking it in 1998 and Westlake winning in 1996, 1997 and 1999.

Four teams, including Royal and Westlake, split the title in 1995.

The match at Westlake begins at 6 p.m.

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

Girls' Volleyball Top 10

Rankings of teams in the region

*--*

RK LW School (League) Rec. 1 1 Harvard-Westlake (Mission) 3-0 2 2 La Reina (Tri-Valley) 5-0 3 3 Westlake (Marmonte) 4-0 4 6 Ventura (Channel) 3-0 5 7 Sylmar (Valley Mission) 3-0 6 8 Village Christian (Alpha) 12-0 7 9 La Canada (Rio Hondo) 5-1 8 NR Oxnard (Pacific View) 4-1 9 NR Royal (Marmonte) 4-4 10 4 Chatsworth (West Valley) 2-1

*--*

*

*--*

RK LW School (League) Rec. 1 1 Harvard-Westlake (Mission) 3-0 2 2 La Reina (Tri-Valley) 5-0 3 3 Westlake (Marmonte) 4-0 4 6 Ventura (Channel) 3-0 5 7 Sylmar (Valley Mission) 3-0 6 8 Village Christian (Alpha) 12-0 7 9 La Canada (Rio Hondo) 5-1 8 NR Oxnard (Pacific View) 4-1 9 NR Royal (Marmonte) 4-4 10 4 Chatsworth (West Valley) 2-1

*--*

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