There are broken ping-pong paddles still wedged in the backyard trees at the Spittle house in Redondo Beach. And at the family's previous home in Lomita, the backyard grass likely still has difficulty growing, having been trampled by years of point-by-point plodding, on both sides of a painstakingly erected net, by members of the first family of UC Irvine men's volleyball.
Dean and Tina Spittle are counting down the days, sometimes moments, of a memorable nine-year run during which at least one of their sons — first Paul, then Nick, then current senior setter Anthony — have played for Anteaters coach John Speraw.
In that time, the Spittle brothers have forged a legacy as unique as it is admirable, in what has become one of the nation's top programs. During that span, UCI has played in three Final Fours and two NCAA title matches, capturing national championships in 2007 and 2009.