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Girls' volleyball teams get set for new season

Bell-Jeff, Burroughs and Providence lost key players, while Burbank has large group back.

August 28, 2012|By Jeff Tully, jeff.tully@latimes.com

The Burroughs High and Bellarmine-Jefferson girls' volleyball teams both lost a key player to graduation this past season. Both players earned All-CIF Southern Section honors and helped their squads win championships in their respective leagues.

Likewise, Providence also lost a solid group to graduation.

In contrast, Burbank graduated just one athlete from a year ago, and the Bulldogs have almost their entire squad back.

Here is a closer look at how the teams are shaping up.

BURROUGHS

Megan Stephenson was Burroughs' go-to player in 2011, as she was voted the Pacific League's Player of the Year and earned All-CIF and All-Area selections. Stephenson had 337 kills and averaged 16 kills a match. In addition, she tallied 117 digs and 27 aces.

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The Indians (19-4) had a successful season with Stephenson leading the way during her senior season. Burroughs went undefeated in the Pacific League at 14-0, winning its first crown in four years.

"We not only lost Megan from last year, but we lost about half of our team," Burroughs Coach Edwin Real said. "But the good thing is that we get half the team back."

"With Megan gone, it just means we're going to do some things differently this season and try and involve everybody."

Returning for the Indians are senior middle Laura Howard, junior middle Caitlin Cottrell, junior setter Keana Figueroa, junior libero Daniela Gonzalez, senior opposite Autim Kanoho and senior outside hitter Tori Adams.

New to the team are junior setter Katie Rutecki and freshman outside hitter Danielle Ryan.

In league, Real said he expects tough competition to come from Acadia and Burbank.

"Once you have the league title at your house, you always want to keep it there," Real said.

BURBANK

The lone player lost to graduation for the Bulldogs was senior all-league middle Reilly Brennan.

"We had a good summer and the girls are looking good out there," Burbank Coach Sarah Brown said. "The fact that we lost just one player from last year is good.

"They are all working toward the same goal and they all know what is expected of them."

Last season, the Bulldogs went 12-5 and placed third in the Pacific League. They also won their Division II-A playoff opener against Xavier Prep.

Leading the returning players is senior all-league middle/opposite Stephanie Eskander. She tallied 189 kills, 56 aces and 44 blocks in 2011.

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