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CITY VOLLEYBALL FINAL

Chatsworth Topples Taft Again

May 17, 2003|Paul McLeod | Times Staff Writer

Woodland Hills Taft came out swinging, but it was Chatsworth that successfully defended its City Section boys' volleyball title in four games Friday night at Cal State Northridge.

The 7-15, 15-13, 15-10, 15-2 victory for Chatsworth (14-3) was a repeat of last season's final. Taft (10-6) was making its sixth consecutive appearance in the championship match.

Taft attacked the middle of the Chancellor defense in the first game. The Toreadors had forged a 7-5 lead, but then 6-1 middle hitter Josh Zagha got the ball time and time again and he exploited the lack of a Chatsworth block from just about every position, including the back row. The result was an 8-2 run that closed out the game and stunned the taller Chancellors, who started 6-7 Daniel Kitzes and 6-4 Ramsey Darling in their front row rotation.

"We weren't down at all after that," Kitzes said. "It just pumped us up to come back to win. Our coach told me to take away Zagha's line and penetrate."

Kitzes, who finished with seven blocks, and Darling, who had 16 kills and four blocks, rebounded in the middle half of the second game. Chatsworth forged a hard-fought 7-6 lead, but added three more points on a solo block by Kitzes and back-to-back stuffs by Darling for a 10-6 advantage.

That fired up the Chancellors, who picked up another point on a Taft net violation and a cross-court kill by outside hitter William Pate for a six-point cushion. Taft cut the lead to 12-11 and then 14-13, but had to settle for a sideout and Chatsworth got the game-winner on a free ball when Kitzes, who had been called for a lift on a similar play moments earlier, swiped the ball with an open hand to the floor between two defenders.

Chatsworth grabbed ahold of the third game with a 9-4 lead. Taft rallied to trail 9-8 and 11-10 but couldn't tie the score. A hitting error by setter Maihan Noorzay handed Chatsworth a 12th point, Kitzes put away their 13th point and outside hitter Sean Freeark, who finished with 15 kills, hit off a pair of blockers to make the score 14-10. Several sideouts later Freeark and Darling teamed up to close out the game with a block.

Chatsworth took charge from the outset of the fourth game and closed out the game in just a few minutes.

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