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Sary sensational for Tars

Daily Pilot High School Athlete of the Week

USC-bound senior moved from setter to outside hitter and stepped up her game for Newport Harbor during the postseason.

December 02, 2011|By Matt Szabo
(Kevin Chang / Daily…)

In some ways, this wasn't the senior year that Cinnamon Sary could have envisioned.

Newport Harbor High finished third in the Sunset League for the first time since rejoining it five years ago. From the summer to the end of the regular season, Sary said four seniors quit the team.

At the end of the year, though, the Sailors played their best volleyball. And there was no question who was the catalyst behind that.

It was Sary, pounding down kill after kill from the outside hitter spot even though her normal position is setter.

In seven playoff matches the Daily Pilot Athlete of the Week totaled 153 kills, leading the Sailors in kills every time. She helped Newport Harbor, unseeded in the CIF Southern Section Division I-AA playoffs, make the championship match. She had a season-high 37 kills in a road upset of Clovis West in the first round of the CIF State Division I Southern California regionals, then 29 more in the next round as the Sailors nearly did the same at Los Angeles Marymount.

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The USC-bound Sary is a special talent. In terms of girls' setters at Newport Harbor, Coach Dan Glenn has seen nobody better.

"Misty [May-Treanor] only set her freshman year," Glenn said. "[Sary] is as good as any setter that's ever come out of Harbor, on the girls' side. She's just a phenomenal volleyball player. She's one of the best setters in high school, and this year she showed she was one of the best outside hitters in high school too."

The Sailors moved their best athlete to outside hitter out of necessity, while junior Torey Thompson took over as the primary setter. Both players thrived, but at times during the season Sary said it was definitely a physical grind.

She said she woke up on Thanksgiving and had trouble moving her neck. The chiropractor helped, but Sary was hurting at the very end against Marymount two days later.

"I always want to hit," Sary said. "I always ask my coaches, 'Please let me hit? Can I just hit in this one rotation?' I love to hit, but after this season, I've never been so excited to be a setter again … My body was so beat up. I just had to keep on thinking, 'I'm going to be a setter in college.'"

The team captain also dealt with other issues. Sary said by the beginning of the high school season, seniors Maddy Trammell (setter), Maddy Ridgeway (outside hitter) and Stephanie Verheyen (defensive specialist) had left the team. Sary said Trammell is her best friend.

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