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Briefs: Plenty of locals in NCAAs

Men's volleyball final four features 12 players from the Newport-Mesa area.

May 04, 2011
(Courtesy of UCSB…)

The NCAA men's volleyball championship has a definite Newport-Mesa feel with no fewer than a dozen players dotting the rosters of the four participants, who open play in Thursday's semifinals at Penn State.

The most prominent locals are the UC Santa Barbara starting middle blocker duo of Scott Slaughter and Dylan Davis, both Corona del Mar High products.

Slaughter, a 6-foot-7 senior, led the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation with a .505 regular-season hitting percentage en route to second-team all-conference recognition. He had 228 kills and a team-high 101 total blocks during the regular season.

Davis, a 6-9 sophomore, helped the Gauchos (17-14), upset top-ranked USC in the MPSF Tournament final Saturday. Davis enters with 174 kills, a .478 hitting percentage and 93 total blocks.

UCSB also knocked off BYU, ranked No. 2 nationally, in the MPSF quarterfinals in Provo, Utah.

UCSB, which also includes CdM High products and reserve outside hitters Blaine and Weston Nielsen, will take on USC (23-3), which lists five local products on its roster, in one semifinal. Blaine Nielsen has played 18 sets, starting three matches, and has totaled 26 kills.

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Jeff Carlson, a sophomore backup setter out of CdM High, posted 50 assists while playing in 18 sets this season for the Trojans.

Andrew Pizula, who played at Orange Coast College, is a junior backup libero who had nine digs this season for USC.

Tucker Peleuses, a 6-4 opposite from Newport Harbor High, had 11 kills this season for the Trojans, whose roster includes CdM High product Joey Booth, a 6-5 freshman outside hitter, and J.B. Green, a freshman libero out of Newport Harbor.

Connor Curry, a 6-0 freshman libero who has not played this season, is at Penn State (26-6), which will battle Ohio State (24-6) in the other semifinal.

Ohio State's roster includes OCC product Mike Stewart, a 6-5 middle blocker who started three matches and collected 36 kills and 12 block assists in 18 sets thus far.

Kyle Lawrence, a sophomore setter out of Newport Harbor High, had 30 assists and two digs in four sets this season for the Buckeyes.

— From staff reports

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Davis signs with UCI

Will Davis, a 6-9 post player from Sacramento, has signed a national letter of intent with the UC Irvine men's basketball program, Coach Russell Turner said.

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