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When Taft Comes Out Swinging, Thousand Oaks Comes Up Short

Boys' volleyball: Lancers play without five starters in first game and never recover, losing in three in match of two of region's top teams.


THOUSAND OAKS — It was supposed to be a showdown between two of the best boys' volleyball teams in the region.

But while Taft High came out blazing, Thousand Oaks was firing blanks and suffered a 15-3, 15-10, 15-9 defeat.

With four starters serving one-game suspensions for disciplinary reasons and another starter injured, Thousand Oaks had only one regular starter, Micah Porter, on the court for the first game.

Taft took advantage, using its height advantage to great effect with no threat of a block.

The Lancers (9-4), ranked No. 4 in The Times' regional poll, put up little resistance, hitting four balls out, committing six service errors and being charged with net violations three times in the first game--not that Taft needed any help generating points.

"We were fortunate that they didn't have their best players, but I still didn't expect us to come here and sweep them like we did," Taft Coach Doug Magorien said.

"Actually, my kids were aware that they didn't have their best on the floor and that fired us up even more once they put their starters in. We wanted to play them at their best."

Thousand Oaks sorely missed kill leader Danny Raven, who injured a shoulder Thursday and did not play.

Travis Schoonover didn't play at all because he missed practice the previous day. Three others missed the first game because of various infractions.

"Not having Danny was tough, not only because he's our offensive weapon, but also because he brings out the best in his teammates," said Coach Tara White of Thousand Oaks, who was an assistant until Tom Black unexpectedly resigned three weeks ago.

"But it's up to the guys we have in there to do the job. My mentality going in is for us win every match. That doesn't mean it's going to happen."

Thousand Oaks had no answer for middle blocker Nic Armstrong of Taft, who finished with 12 kills and four blocks, the last coming on match point.

"We've been looking forward to this game for a long time," said Armstrong.

"We've been really confident since the Las Vegas tournament earlier in the year. We feel real strong going into the playoffs."

Inshik Shin had 10 kills and outside hitter Bryan Capper added seven for Taft (11-1), defending City Section champion.

Taft trailed, 7-4, in the second game but took the lead for good, 9-8, when Capper hit through a block.

Porter had 10 kills and Kevin Rex added eight kills for the Lancers, whose previous losses had come at the hands of Royal, Moorpark and Canyon.

The Toreadors, ranked seventh, can wrap up their fourth consecutive West Valley League title next week.

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