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Volleyball: Plenty of local flavor in NCAAs

December 14, 2012|By Charlie Brande

The NCAA women's volleyball national tournament's final eight featured teams with three players who played for local high schools, and it is Newport Harbor's Tatum Norton playing for the national championship with the Oregon Ducks.

Norton, who was an All-CIF libero last season, has been a serving specialist as a freshman for the Ducks, who will play for the national title Saturday against the Texas Longhorns.

Oregon played against a favored Nebraska Huskers team in Omaha, Neb. in the quarterfinals on Saturday, with over 13,000 loud Nebraska fans all dressed in red. After losing the first set, the Ducks used ball control and serving to win the next three and earn a berth in the NCAA Final Four. They then beat top-ranked Penn State Thursday night in Louisville, Ky.

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The national championship match will be televised on ESPN2 at 4 p.m. PT.

Not since CdM's Prentice Perkins went from CIF champs to NCAA Final Four team while at Long Beach State have any of our local players made a jump like Tatum has this season. That was 1990 and Prentice is now the head women's coach at TCU. It would be so exciting if Oregon can win it all just like Long Beach did in 1991.

Prentice, who is now Prentice Lewis, has continued to recruit locally. Megan Munce, who played at Newport, finished her final season at TCU. Megan was an All-American setter in 2009 and at the midseason mark this year, she was second in the NCAA in aces per game. She holds the career assist record for the Horned Frogs.

Morgan Boukather, who was an All-CIF star at Corona del Mar High, was a major part of the rotation at opposite hitter for the Stanford Cardinal this season. Unfortunately, Stanford lost to a defense-minded and unranked Michigan team after entering the tournament as the No. 2 seed.

Former Newport Harbor standout Cinnamon Sary, who was All-CIF as a setter and as an outside hitter, was going to redshirt this year as a freshman at USC. In early October, Coach Mick Haley decided the Trojans needed Cinnamon's setting in the lineup and pulled her out of the redshirt. In the Elite Eight, USC lost to an extremely physical Texas team in three straight.

Former Sailor setter Arielle Lysacek completed her senior season at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She is the program's career assist record holder.

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