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Los Alamitos volleyball off to strong start

STAFF WRITER

Experience means so much at all levels of sports. It is a reason why the Los Alamitos boys volleyball team is enjoying early-season success.

The Griffins, ranked fifth in Orange County, were off to a 14-1 start, including winning the title at the Foothill Varsity Classic, entering the start of play Friday in the Orange County Championships.

“I have (coached) this group of seniors since they were sophomores,” Griffins coach Mike Whitcomb said. “They were all on varsity as sophomores and they had excuses to lose and they were growing.

“Last year, we did well, but you always want to do better and they still had that ‘we’re not seniors yet’ excuse. They don’t have that excuse anymore. That little extra determination that this is our last go-around, along with the fact that they are more experienced and they’re better players, has propelled us.”

The Los Alamitos roster is mostly seniors, although it includes three juniors (middle blocker John Frenzel, setter Adam Simonetti and defensive specialist Anthony Wong-Orantes).

Senior outside hitter Cole Thompson was MVP of the Foothill tournament. Fellow seniors Harrison Knott (outside hitter) and Austin Marriott (middle blocker) also earned all-tournament honors.

“What separated us (in the Foothill tournament) was our consistency of high-level play,” Whitcomb said. “Whereas in the past, we would play that way and then have a letdown and one thing would lead to another and it would take awhile to get back to the top.

“Now, they know how to get beyond a setback.”

The Griffins are using the O.C. Championships as their final preparation for the Sunset League race. They open league play next Friday against Newport Harbor.

“I expect Newport (Harbor) to be tough. No matter who they put on the court, you know they’re going to be well-coached and disciplined,” Whitcomb said. “Same thing with Edison. … Huntington (Beach) is going to be a big mountain to climb.”

This year’s seniors missed the CIF-SS playoffs as sophomores and were eliminated in the first round last year. After their start this season, an extended run in the playoffs is a goal they’re striving for.

O.C. CHAMPIONSHIPS SCHEDULE

The Orange County Championships continue today at 8 a.m. with pool-play games in Divisions 1 and 2 at Corona del Mar, Edison, Huntington Beach and Newport Harbor.

At the end of pool play, the top two teams in each pool in Division 1 will head to Edison for the playoffs. In Division 2, the top two teams will go to Huntington Beach.

The finals are Monday at Edison. Division 2 starts at 6 p.m., with Division 1 to follow. The tournament is using the best-of-3 format.

Contact the writer: dcalhoun@ocregister.com


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