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Fryer: Cypress volleyball rolls on
The Cypress girls volleyball team is not in the Orange County top 10, nor included in the CIF-Southern Section's 2A rankings.
But it is a consistently winning program with another good team this year.
Cypress has won five consecutive Empire League championships, outright or shared. The Centurions are living up to the tradition this year. They were 11-3 overall and 5-1 in league going into a match Thursday against Western.
Centurions coach Kim Binder said the team lacks the individual star some of their league opponents have.
"Across the board, though, that's where we're strong," she said. "Our weakest player is almost always better than the other team's weakest player."
Cypress has moved some players from position to position to find the winning mix. Moriah Brookins spent most of her previous three varsity years at middle blocker, but now she is playing opposite hitter.
Taryn McCullouch, playing middle, might be the team's most consistent player. Amber Rose and Alyson Utke have been standouts as outside hitters.
Cypress has some big games coming down the stretch, including a home league match next Thursday against neighborhood rival Kennedy, plus more league action against Pacifica, which handed the Centurions their one league loss, and Yorba Linda.
Rankings might not be in Cypress' future, but another league championship just might be.
Taking a look around Orange County high school sports:
• Fullerton football player Anthony Garcia has been fighting cancer and has been unable to play this season. He is a senior, so Coach Julian Smilowitz and the team want to get him playing time somehow. Tonight against Sonora, Garcia will get three handoffs, will take a knee on all three plays, and then Fullerton will punt to Sonora. It is a first-class, sportsmanship-counts, Champion-for-Character move on the part of all involved.
• The Southwest Division football rankings, selected by coaches, are quirky, which will be a problem if not corrected because division rankings have significant influence on seedings and bracketing for the CIF-SS playoffs. Foothill beat Laguna Hills, 31-0, but in the Southwest rankings Laguna Hills is No. 6 and Foothill is No. 7. Yorba Linda, No. 5 in the division, beat El Modena by 12 points, Esperanza by four and lost to Tustin by 33; Foothill lost to Tustin by seven points, beat El Modena by 28 and Esperanza by 28.
• The lighting has been repaired at Santa Ana Stadium. On behalf of all the players, coaches, spectators, etc., who enjoy "The Bowl," thank you.
• Orange County football official and officials assignor Paul Caldera – the guy who schedules officials, including himself, to work the games -- did some moonlighting in August and September. He was an NFL replacement official during the officials lockout. Caldera worked four preseason games and three regular season games and concluded, "It was a great experience, and I got a better understanding of why it's the greatest game in town."
• Caldera's crew is working the Mater Dei-Santa Margarita football game tonight. Fox Sports Net is televising the game live at 7:30 p.m.
• The 8-man football game differs from the 11-man, not only in number of players on the field but field size. An 8-man football field is (minus end zones) 80 yards long by 40 yards wide, compared to the 11-man field of 100 yards wide by 53.3 yards wide. There must be five offensive players on the line of scrimmage for a legal play.
• Small-school players rarely are invited to play in national all-star games. Saddleback Valley Christian's Joe Harvey bucked the trend. Harvey, a 6-foot-6, 275-pound two-way lineman, was selected to play in the Blue-Grey National All-Star Classic in Florida on Jan. 12.
• Give a listen to the High School Football America radio program on KLAC/570 on Fridays from 10 p.m. to midnight. It is the smoothest and most complete Southern California high school football radio show that has been on the air these past 22 years.
• There are some excellent marching bands in the county. The favorite halftime bands seen so far this football season are the bands of Cypress and Woodbridge. Woodbridge gets first place, because it plays the theme from the movie "Pee Wee's Big Adventure."
• The most popular mascot (i.e. team name) among the 587 CIF-SS member schools is Eagles, which represents 39 schools (county schools that are Eagles are Calvary Chapel, Estancia and Santa Margarita). The second-most popular is Lions, with 17 (JSerra, Tarbut V'Torah and Westminster are the county's Lions).
• Here is the correct contact phone number for The Orange County Retired Coaches Luncheon, Jan. 16 at the Santa Ana Elks Club, and organizer Carl Sweet: 714-993-9392. All retired coaches, male and female, head coaches or assistants, are invited.
• Don't complain about how far your team has to travel for an away game. In a Hi-Lo League 8-man football game on Saturday, Lee Vining will travel 219 miles, one way, to play at Trona.