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VALLEY / VENTURA COUNTY SPORTS | BOYS' VOLLEYBALL

Matter of Black and White as Thousand Oaks Wins

April 12, 2001|MIKE BRESNAHAN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

THOUSAND OAKS — They lost their coach to a surprising resignation last week, but they haven't lost ground in the region's toughest league.

Members of the Thousand Oaks High boys' volleyball team are still entrenched in second place after a 7-15, 15-7, 15-8, 15-10 victory over Westlake in a Marmonte League match Wednesday night.

It remains to be seen whether they can catch Royal, but the Lancers looked good against Westlake, Danny Raven delivering 15 kills and Kevin Rex adding 13 to help overcome an uninspiring start.

The victory came a week after Tom Black abruptly resigned midway through his third season at Thousand Oaks.

Black, a fiery, up-and-coming coach, also resigned his position as a teacher. He could not be reached for comment. Thousand Oaks officials declined comment.

Black, a former assistant at Royal who played at UC San Diego and Crespi High, has been replaced by Tara White, a former player at Pepperdine who was in her first season as an assistant.

"It was shocking," said White, who is 3-0 as a head coach. "It's feeling a little bit better. My primary concern is the guys, that they're staying together. That's coming around, too."

The Lancers (9-3, 7-2 in league play), ranked No. 5 in the region by The Times, had 14 blocks, 13 in the final three games, and had success feeding Raven on the outside.

Raven, one of the top juniors in the region, had seven kills in the fourth game.

"We've got to get behind our new coach," Raven said. "I respect [Black] more than anybody else, as a coach and a friend. We've just got to keep playing our game."

Westlake (8-5, 5-4), ranked No. 9 in the region, faltered after a promising beginning, unable to match Thousand Oaks' diverse attack.

"I think we got a little hesitant," Westlake Coach Rey Reyes said.

Thousand Oaks lost to Royal in four games last month, but gets another chance May 1 at Royal.

"If we play to our full potential, we could definitely beat Royal," Raven said. "I just don't think we've gone that far yet. We need a little bit more work and we need to keep building every time we come out."

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