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TOP 10 STORIES OF THE YEAR:UC

December 30, 2006

The top 10 Newport-Mesa sports stories of 2006, as selected by the Daily Pilot sports staff.

1UC Irvine men's volleyball: The Anteaters, who won their first Mountain Pacific Sports Federation regular-season title, earned an at-large berth to the four-team NCAA Championships at Penn State. Playing in their first Final Four, UCI lost a semifinal match to Penn State to finish 27-5. The 'Eaters, who were ranked No. 1 in the nation at one point, finished No. 2 in the final national poll. Outside hitter Jayson Jablonsky was named National and MPSF Player of the Year. Speraw was selected National Coach of the Year by the American Volleyball Coaches Assn.

2Vanguard University women's basketball: The Lions finished the season 31-2, 20-0 in the Golden State Athletic Conference. They were ranked No. 1 throughout the season, but lost in the semifinals of the NAIA Division I Championships. Forward Kelly Schmidt was named NAIA Player of the Year. She finished the year with 2,181 points, making her the school's all-time scoring leader as a junior.

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3Misty May-Treanor dominates: The Newport Harbor product continued to solidify herself as an icon on the Assn. of Volleyball Professionals beach tour with partner Kerri Walsh. They won 13 of 15 team AVP tournaments, setting an AVP single-season record.

4Newport Beach Breakers' Pete Sampras: The former tennis great, a 14-time Grand Slam singles champion, came out of retirement to compete. However, Breakers Coach Dick Leach says his team has, "no chance because Sampras is so out of shape. Leach said Sampras, who retired in 2002, should not have played the season.

5Corona del Mar girls' running programs: Led by senior Annie St. Geme, the CdM girls' track and field team repeated as CIF Southern Section Division III champion. St. Geme closed out a spectacular career with the top time in the nation in the 1,600 (four minutes, 42 seconds). In the fall, the CdM girls' cross country team, led by Sarah Cummings and Shelby Buckley, won its third CIF Southern Section Division III title and second straight state title. Cummings and Buckley finished the year by reaching the prestigious Foot Locker Invitational.

6Brad Bryant wins Toshiba Classic: Bryant, also known as, "Dr. Dirt," birdied five of his last eight holes, including the par-5, 510-yard 18th to finish nine-under-par 204 for the tournament. He edged defending champion Mark Johnson, John Harris and Bobby Wadkins, all of whom finished at 205.

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