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Quartet leads Newport

Thompson, Campbell, Burnham and Heenan have been highly instrumental during Tars’ magical season.

December 04, 2009|By David Carrillo Peñaloza

Most high school girls’ volleyball teams have one or two captains, maybe three. Three can be excessive in a sport with six players on each side of the court separated by a net.

At Newport Harbor, there are four captains. The Sailors have enough “C’s” for a computer geek to develop software.

The high number of captains is a first for Coach Dan Glenn, who’s in his 24th year at the school.

The total can confuse officials at matches. When introducing themselves to the Sailors’ captains, they meet middle blocker Katey Thompson, outside hitter Kirby Burnham, libero Kelly Heenan and setter Mackenzi Campbell.

“It’s kind of funny at coin tosses and stuff when you bring two-thirds of your team out there,” Glenn said. “They switch off on coin tosses, so if you lose the coin toss, then you’re no longer calling the toss until it comes back around to you.”

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The final coin toss of the season is tonight. Whichever senior gets to call heads or tails, the captain will surely be concerned with helping Newport Harbor win more than the toss.

Without the four captains, Glenn said the Sailors aren’t playing Salinas tonight for the CIF State Division I championship at UC Irvine at 7.

Newport Harbor (32-6) is enjoying one of its finest seasons in the program’s history. A lot of it stems from the leadership provided by Thompson, Burnham, Heenan and Campbell.

Before they led the Sailors to their first state final appearance since 1999, each experienced their fair share of ups and downs.

“We’ve definitely had a lot of downs,” Glenn said. “But it’s made the ups that much more enjoyable.”

The Sailors are the heavy favorites to beat Salinas (29-4) and win their fifth state title under Glenn. They haven’t always been the top team.

In the previous three years, Thompson, Burnham, Heenan and Campbell have seen the team lose more big matches than they won. The setbacks keep the Sailors motivated, most of it is out of fear the season will end in defeat.

The last two years the Sailors fell way short of their goal. Last year, they were swept by Long Beach Wilson in the quarterfinals of the CIF Southern Section Division I-AA playoffs. Glenn called the loss “a disappointing finish” to the season.

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