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PREVIEW:Teams hoping for more playoff runs

HIGH SCHOOL GIRLS' VOLLEYBALL SEASON

With new leagues and CIF realignment, locals like their odds at qualifying for postseason play.

September 09, 2006|By Jeff Tully

BURBANK — Although four local high schools field girls' volleyball teams, only one has been able to enjoy sustained success the past few years.

The team is Providence, which was the lone area squad to qualify for the CIF Southern Section postseason last season.

However, the Pioneers will likely have company in the playoffs this season, which is good news to Burroughs, Burbank and BellarmineJefferson.

With the exception of Providence, the other schools have changed leagues. The Bulldogs and Indians have gone from the Foothill League to the Pacific League and the Guards exit the challenging Sunshine League and will compete in the Santa Cruz League.

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Although he is elated about being rid of the tough competition in the Sunshine League, Bell-Jeff Coach Miguel Segura is not all that pleased with the Santa Cruz League.

"Don't get me wrong, the Sunshine League was just so tough for us," Segura said. "We had to play league games against not only teams that were winning CIF champions, but teams that were in the state finals.

"I would have liked us to be in a little more competitive league than we were put in. Probably, St. Matthias is going to be our toughest league opponent.

With league competition still a few matches off, here is a look at how the teams ate shaping up.

PROVIDENCE

The Pioneers had an outstanding 2005 season, going 22-6 and placing second in the Liberty League.

However, the team couldn't carry that success into the Division IVAA playoffs, as the Pioneers fell in the first round to La Salle, 25-19, 28-26, 25-19.

Despite losing three seniors to graduation, Pioneers' Coach James Jimenez not only likes his team's chances of vying for a league title, but he thinks the squad could go far in the playoffs, as well.

"We graduated a very good player in Vanessa Amran, but we have some good girls coming back," said Jimenez, who coached the Providence boys' team to a semifinal appearance last spring.

"We're probably looking at Viewpoint as another good team in our league. Also, Oakwood might have a good team."

Pacing the Pioneers is returning All-Area outside hitter Heather Hansen, a senior. Jimenez said he will try and set the ball for the senior as much as possible.

Junior opposite-side hitters Fio and Galia Sotomayor, who are sisters, return and should give the Pioneers steady play.

Returning senior defensive specialists Melissa Rosal and Shannon McShane will be expected to add depth to the squad.

Handling the setter duties is senior Natalie Kasbarian.

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