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Girls' Volleyball: Shorthanded Sailors lose battle for first place

Coach Glenn says he sat out four players in Sunset League showdown against Los Al because they violated team rules. Griffins swept and are alone in first.

October 10, 2012|By David Carrillo PeƱaloza

LOS ALAMITOS — The Newport Harbor High girls' volleyball team traveled to Los Alamitos on Wednesday to play for first place in the Sunset League. The last time these rivals met on the court was last year, when the CIF Southern Section Division 1-AA title was at stake.

Both programs are former shells of themselves when it comes to their starting lineups. The Griffins lost five starters and the Sailors four.

Despite the losses to graduation, each team has played at a high level this season. That changed for the Sailors in a showdown between two teams undefeated in league play.

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They entered it without four players, three of whom start. Los Alamitos Coach Dave Huber noticed a different Newport Harbor team while watching warmups.

The difference was evident during the match, which the Griffins easily swept, 25-15, 25-16, 25-15, to remain atop the league. Huber looked surprised after he said his team swept the Sailors for the first time in league play since Newport Harbor rejoined the Sunset League six years ago.

"We knew that their one outside [hitter] was out with the injury," said Huber, referring to Tristen Thompson, who suffered a season-ending knee injury on Sept. 28.

Already without one of their best players, the Sailors were shorthanded against Los Alamitos (23-3, 5-0 in league), ranked No. 3 in the CIF Southern Section Division 1-AA poll.

Coach Dan Glenn said standout junior middle blocker Carolyn Bockrath and senior setter Torey Thompson, along with senior outside hitter Sierra Brown and senior middle blocker Kaelin Davis missed the Sailors' second league match this week because they violated team rules. While Glenn never said what rules the four players broke, he said they would return to the team on Monday.

"It's disappointing that the girls got in trouble, whether we lost [Tristen Thompson] or not," said Glenn, adding that the outside hitter underwent surgery on Wednesday. "That's one of those things we got some rules and they didn't follow them. Now, we're just kind of moving on."

The No. 6 Sailors (14-6, 4-1) look to regroup before the start of the second half of league play. They will get another shot at Los Alamitos again in a league finale at home on Oct. 30.

The first matchup between these volleyball giants lasted as long as the previous one: three sets.

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