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Cinnamon thrives when it matters

Sary, a junior setter, has consistently risen to the occasion for Newport Harbor girls' volleyball.

September 24, 2010|By Matt Szabo, matthew.szabo@latimes.com
(Scott Smeltzer…)

Cinnamon Sary is not the most vocal player on the court for the Newport Harbor High girls' volleyball team.

It would be a big mistake to doubt her will to win, however.

"She's got a lot of game," Coach Dan Glenn said. "The bigger the match, the bigger she plays."

The Newport Harbor High junior setter is a big name now for the Sailors.

It's obvious to those who watch Sary, the Daily Pilot Athlete of the Week. She was one of the two Sailors named to the Dave Mohs all-tournament team, after helping lead Newport to the championship match Monday.

There, the team fell to Los Alamitos, but Sary said it was still a breakthrough tournament.

"We were finding ourselves," she said. "We played really well together for the first time."

Sary has played well individually. Last year, she was first-team All-Sunset League, a Newport-Mesa Dream Team selection and the ESPN Rise national Sophomore of the Year for girls' volleyball. She tallied 889 assists and helped lead the Sailors to Sunset League, CIF Southern Section Division I-AA and CIF State Division I titles.

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Glenn has seen his setter blossom and continue to progress. She was also all-tournament last month at the Ann Kang Invitational in Hawaii, where the Sailors finished third.

Not bad for someone whose age won't match her uniform number, 18, until she's already in college. She turns 16 next month. But Sary's development has helped the transition as Newport Harbor lost a wealth of talent from last year's team, including Kirby Burnham (USC), Katey Thompson and Kelly Heenan (UC Santa Barbara). Mackenzi Campbell, who was the team's starting setter until Sary stepped in following a finger injury, is now setting at Montana State.

Those four are not just on those college teams but contributing as freshmen, showing just how much talent the class of 2010 possessed. But players like senior outside hitter Maddy Brown, as well as junior middle blocker Alex Holbrook and Sary, are making sure "rebuilding" isn't in the Newport Harbor vocabulary.

"We have to defend a lot more," Sary said. "It's not as easy. Last year, it was just set Kirby, set Katey. We have to spread it around a lot more."

It seems to be working. The Sailors came into this week as the top-ranked team in Division I-AA.

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