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Striving for net gains

League success, deep playoff runs make up list of goals for local squads.

September 07, 2011|By Charles Rich, charles.rich@latimes.com

Normally, it would be a burden for a team to lose its best player to graduation.

Fortunately for the Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy volleyball team, it has plenty of veterans who have multiple years of experience competing at the varsity level.

The Tologs lost standout Camille Coffey, who led the team with 241 kills and added 162 digs en route to being named the All-Area Player of the Year and the Mission League's co-Most Valuable Player last season. However, in an effort to fill the large void left by her departure, the Tologs have players capable of filling in where needed across the court.

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"Camille will be missed and you are not going to replace her," Sacred Heart second-year Coach Anne Arlie said. "We still have a talented team.

"We now want to use that talent that we have and spread out the responsibilities so we don't have to rely on one player."

The Tologs, who placed second in league last season, will bring back senior setter Alessandra Orlandini, senior middle blocker Katherine Rubschlager, senior outside hitter Drew Washington and senior defensive specialist Shelby Tom.

Orlandini earned All-Area second-team accolades after registering 537 assists last season and will be expected to be the backbone of the Tologs' offense.

"Every year is a new challenge and we have a lot of seniors," Arlie said. "We have a lot of good leaders who are very intense on the court."

Holy Family will have plenty to strive for, entering the season as the defending Horizon League champion. The Gaels went 8-0 in league last season, but were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs.

Holy Family will return the bulk of its starting lineup in its quest to maintain its perch atop the league. Advancing further in the postseason will be something else the Gaels will attempt to achieve under Coach Robert Bringas.

"I think this group is pretty hungry," Bringas said. "I think our league will be a lot better.

"With the playoff loss, they felt it and it's something that's good to build off, in terms of taking the next step."

Like Sacred Heart, Holy Family will be a team filled with mostly seniors. Among those are outside hitter/middle blocker Ashlee Sandoval, a reigning All-Area second-team pick who recorded 341 digs and 203 kills last season. Joining Sandoval are outside hitter/middle blocker Denise Patino, defensive specialist/libero Alicia Marquez, setter/libero/defensive specialist Alexa Sandoval and opposite hitter/middle blocker Aurora Aguirre.

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