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Brande: Lots of action on next level

December 06, 2013|By Charlie Brande

With the rich girls' high school volleyball tradition at our local schools, it is always exciting to follow these players as they continue to play through their college years. Since the late 1970s through today, the number of local college players has been steady.

At UCLA, Madie Smith (Corona del Mar High) just completed her senior season as a setter and back-row specialist. She is the last Smith to play at UCLA following her sisters, Morgan and Jordan. Also at UCLA, is Newport Beach's Monica Stauber (Mater Dei) who competed two years at the University of Hawaii before transferring this season to help with the Bruins' setting.

Across town at USC, Kirby Burnham (Newport Harbor) has ended her indoor career, but returns for her senior season on the USC sand team. As the defending NCAA doubles champion, Kirby is hoping to follow in the footsteps of another former Sailor and Trojan, April Ross.

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After completing her undergraduate studies at Cal, Mary Buckingham (Newport Harbor) will compete for USC sand as a graduate student.

Another former Sailor, Cinnamon Sary, competed last year both as an indoor player and with the sand team at USC (finished fifth at the national championships). Cinnamon has been accepted to the USC Film and Cinema School (quite an honor) and will no longer compete in volleyball. She is extremely happy with her educational direction.

At UC Irvine, Mackenzi Campbell (Newport Harbor) has completed her senior season as a setter and back-row specialist.

Another former Newport player, Katey Thompson, is finishing her senior year at UCSB with a flourish. Leading the Gauchos in kills per game and aces, Katey was a first-team All-Big West Conference selection.

Britton Taylor (Corona del Mar) is a sophomore middle blocker who suffered a sprained ankle early in the season and has not returned to early season form.

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