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Prep plays waiting game as season nears

While three Rebels starters are still playing hoops, other teams welcome some very new casts.

March 01, 2011|By Gabriel Rizk, gabriel.rizk@latimes.com

GLENDALE — Several of the key members of the Flintridge Prep boys' volleyball team are currently experiencing the playoff run of their lives.

It's happening in basketball, though, as three of the Rebels' starters – middle blockers Kenyatta Smith and Jared Norsworthy and outside hitter Kory Hamane — are also starting members of the school's basketball team, which is playing in the CIF Southern Section Division 5-AA championship game Saturday and could very well go on to a state playoff run of indeterminate length soon after.

The Rebels' volleyball season starts Wednesday against St. Francis, but Coach Sean Beattie can't say when he'll have his whole team together, let alone when those missing players will even pick up a volleyball for the first time this year.

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"We're kind of preparing our team knowing we're not going to have those guys for the next three weeks," said Beattie, whose team is the only local reigning league champion and went the furthest in the playoffs last season with a second-round appearance in Division V. "I'm being optimistic for them.

"We're going ahead with what we have and, right now, we've got about nine guys on the roster because the other guys are all on basketball."

Of the non-basketball players, the top returners are outside hitter Nolan Jimbo, setter Kieran Mulroy and libero Alex Holden.

Jordy Manker and Gautam Tammewar will start the season as the Rebels' top middles until Smith and Norsworthy return and Beattie is looking for first-year varsity player Michael Ellis to step up at outside hitter early in the year.

"It's going to be difficult at the beginning, especially missing guys like Kenyatta and Jared, two big middles," Beattie said. "It's not like we're hoping they lose so they can get back faster. We want them to go as far as possible.

"It's concerning a little bit that by the time they get back, we're going to be pretty far into the season, but at the same time, it's a good thing for us, it's a good thing for the school and it's a good thing for those kids to go as far as possible."

Other than adjusting to the temporary loss of some starters, the Rebels must also find a way to offset the permanent loss of Edmund Chow, last year's starting outside hitter, whose experience as a libero made him a cornerstone of the Rebels' passing and defense.

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