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BOYS' VOLLEYBALL

Two Teams Make Polk Look Good

March 20, 2001|MICHAEL ITAGAKI

In 1998, Rich Polk proclaimed that his freshman class at Foothill would be good. Really good.

Three years and one job change later, Polk looks like a genius. On one hand, he is the boys' volleyball coach at Capistrano Valley, where he has helped the Cougars to a No. 4 ranking in the county.

But his former players at Foothill reached Monday's final of the Orange County Championships, and they have also rocketed to the top of the Orange County poll.

Polk's former assistant and friend, Scott Bruce, has the Knights challenging, and beating, the traditional county powerhouses.

"I don't regret leaving," Polk said. "This is fun to watch."

The top-ranked Knights aren't the most explosive team, but they are solid at every position. Outside hitters Matt Daniels and Kevin Logan are efficient attackers. Setter Ryan Burgess could be one of the county's best. Chris Coleman and Craig Astor aren't the biggest middle blockers around, but they are effective.

"I think they're the team to beat," Polk said. "They're playing well."

WHO'S NO. 1?

Foothill may carry the No. 1 mantle now, but at last weekend's Orange County Championships, it quickly became apparent that there aren't any powerhouses that should dominate all season.

"There are six or seven teams here that could easily beat each other," Polk said.

Polk's team could end up being the best of the bunch, but the Cougars didn't get to show it last weekend. Polk held out starting outside hitter Jared Levy, who has a stomach muscle pull, and the Cougars finished tied for seventh.

"Rich might have the best team when they get healthy," Newport Harbor Coach Dan Glenn said.

Newport Harbor, Irvine, Marina, Fountain Valley, Santa Margarita and Mater Dei were the other teams that advanced to the championship quarterfinals, and each is capable of beating the other.

"There are a lot of good teams out there," Mater Dei Coach Tom Costanzo said.

LOOKING AHEAD

Wednesday, No. 3 Santa Margarita plays at No. 5 Newport Harbor at 5:30 p.m. and the Sailors follow that with a match at Manhattan Beach Mira Costa on Friday.

Also on Wednesday, No. 10 San Clemente plays at Marina at 5 p.m., then the Tritons come home to host No. 2 Fountain Valley on Friday at 6 p.m.

If you have an item or idea for the boys' volleyball report, you can fax us at (714) 966-5663 or e-mail us at: mike.itagaki@latimes.com

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

BOYS' VOLLEYBALL TOP 10

Orange County Sportswriters' Poll

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Pos. School League Rec. 1. Foothill Century 2-1 2. Fountain Valley Sunset 1-1 3. Santa Margarita Serra 5-0 4. Capistrano Valley South Coast 3-0 5. Newport Harbor Sea View 2-1 6. Irvine Sea View 3-1 7. Mater Dei Serra 2-1 8. Marina Sunset 3-1 9. Edison Sunset 2-1 10. San Clemente South Coast 2-0

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