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Fountain Valley Strong Despite Early Loss

March 06, 2001|MICHAEL ITAGAKI

The Fountain Valley boys' volleyball team preferred a different result, but the Barons' stirring 3-hour 10-minute season opener last week has certainly piqued interest.

The Barons extended top-ranked Santa Margarita to five games before falling, but the highlight went to 6-foot-5 senior Nate Hagstrom, who had 69 kills.

"Holy cow, that was a brutal match," Santa Margarita Coach John Hawks said. "We knew they were going to him. We even had three [blockers] up [against him] on the pipe, but he just went around, through, and off the top of the block. He had a pretty good night."

Nate's younger brother Tyler, a sophomore for the Barons, said his teammates recognized pretty early who had the hot hand.

"We just said let's keep setting him," Tyler Hagstrom said, "since he was putting almost every one away."

Said Santa Margarita's Blake Robinson: "He was unstoppable. We couldn't do anything until he got tired."

Nate Hagstrom finished the match with 69 kills in 98 attempts with 15 errors, for a .511 hitting percentage.

"I thought it was a misprint," said Coach Dan Glenn, who is in his 15th season at Newport Harbor. "Sixty-nine, that's crazy. And that's bad news for us because we have to play both of those teams."


Hagstrom, who will play at Long Beach State next season, and his Fountain Valley teammates used that game against Santa Margarita to offer an early glimpse of their championship potential this season.

Fountain Valley has another Division I college recruit on the team--Russell Holmes, a 6-foot-8, Brigham Young-bound middle blocker. Tyler Hagstrom is also one of six Long Beach Club players on the team.

And there's Todd Hanson, the first-year coach who is giddy about coming home. "I graduated from Fountain Valley in '86," he said. "This is where I want to be."

Hanson played at Golden West College and was also a teammate of Fountain Valley's former coach, Tim Johnson.

However Johnson didn't even tell his old buddy about the job opening when he left to coach at Golden West College.

"Man, we played together in high school and he doesn't even say anything to me," Hanson joked.

Hanson got a call from the booster club president, Hagstrom's mom, about the job opening and now he's coaching a team that has a Southern Section Division I title in its sights.

"We played the best team in the county [last week] and gave them a run for their money," Nate Hagstrom said. "I saw a lot of good things in that match but we still have a lot of things to work on."


The Knights made their push to climb the rankings by twice beating The Times' preseason second-ranked team, Mater Dei, in the first week of the season.

After beating the Monarchs, 15-9, 15-12, 16-14, in a best-of-five match on March 1, the Knights followed with a 15-7 victory in the quarterfinals of the University tournament, which Foothill also won.

"We were down, 5-1, when I called a timeout," Foothill Coach Scott Bruce said. "Then we outscored them, 14-2, the rest of the way. We got on a roll."

Matt Daniels, who was the team's MVP for the University tournament, Kevin Logan and setter Ryan Burgess have been setting the pace for Foothill, which will get another big test Wednesday when it hosts Santa Margarita.


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