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Girls' Volleyball Dream Team: Sary hangs tough for Sailors

Newport Harbor senior dealt with pain and stepped up with standout performance against Mater Dei and others.

December 27, 2011|By David Carrillo PeƱaloza
(Kevin Chang / Daily…)

Cinnamon Sary found it hard to stand on her own two feet at the end of her final volleyball match on the Newport Harbor High court.

The senior needed a hand to get up, yet no one was around at first to help her.

The problem was practically everyone else in the gym rushed the court to celebrate an upset win of Mater Dei. The Sailors had just qualified for the CIF Southern Section Division I-AA girls' title match and the reason why laid smack right on the floor.

Sary was in pain, unable to move.

The feeling was the best Sary said she has ever experienced.

Sary led the Sailors to the unthinkable, a section finale, with a 22-kill and six-dig effort. The odds were stacked against them with a standout player quitting the team a couple of weeks before the playoffs.

At first, Sary didn't believe in any postseason run, until Coach Dan Glenn made her and the rest of the Sailors buy into the possibility. Sary matured into a leader down the stretch, someone Glenn counted on.

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Every time out, Sary impressed Glenn, who's been in the coaching business at Newport Harbor for 26 years and has seen it all.

"What can you say about Cinnamon?" Glenn said with a huge smile after the Sailors defeated Mater Dei, 25-22, 18-25, 25-16, 25-23, in the semifinals. "She's fun to watch play. I love watching her play."

What wasn't there to appreciate about Sary? She was a versatile player, who performed wherever Glenn asked her to play.

She just didn't play. She dominated matches.

Sary is the Daily Pilot Newport-Mesa Dream Team Player of the Year.

She picked up many accolades, the All-Orange County Player of the Year award and All-CIF Southern Section Division I-AA and first-team All-Sunset League honors, while starting at a new position in high school.

Knowing she was going to play setter at USC after high school, Glenn needed Sary at outside hitter. She always wanted to hit the ball, after distributing the ball her previous years with the Sailors.

She ended up hammering it more than she expected, finishing with an area-best 452 kills, and it beat her up.

Her shoulder hurt. Then her neck.

The more the Sailors won, the more balls Sary pounded away.

The Sailors (26-10) made it to their second section final against Los Alamitos in the last three years and then the semifinals of the CIF State Southern California Regional Division I playoffs. They played seven matches in the playoffs.

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