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Rebels looking to refuel, extend run with new roster

Flintridge Prep will hope for continued success after graduating 12 of 15 players.

February 23, 2012|By Andrew Shortall, andrew.shortall@latimes.com

A program usually isn't left in a good position after it's graduated all but three players from its roster, but Flintridge Prep boys' volleyball Coach Sean Beattie is upbeat about the upcoming season.

"We graduated I want to say 12 of 15, but we have a good core of young kids this year, so we are looking forward to it," said Beattie, who is entering his 15th year coaching the Rebels.

Among the players Prep graduated last year were its All-Prep League standouts and three primary offensive weapons: Kenyatta Smith, Jared Norsworthy and Nolan Jimbo.

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Beattie is replacing the trio with a group that should have chemistry, albeit without much varsity experience.

"The first few games of the season will be telling for us because we are literally last year's junior varsity team with some varsity guys leftover from last year," said Beattie, whose group comes into the season ranked fifth in CIF Southern Section Division V. "They were like 15-1 or 14-2 [last year], so it's not like it's a team with no success. They are used to success and used to playing with each other, so I have high hopes for these guys."

Kareem Ismail, a six-foot-five junior, will play at one of the two middle blocker spots this year.

Chad Cosse, a junior, and Kory Hamane, a senior, look to bring some firepower as outside hitters.

Mike Lii, a junior, will step in as the team's setter and Mike Ellis, a senior, will also make the transition from outside hitter to libero or defensive specialist this season.

"We lost both middles, our outside, opposite and setter all graduated so right now we are trying everybody at different spots to see who will fit in best where," Beattie said.

Despite all the moving pieces, Beattie expects his team to meet the same goal he had for last year's squad — making the playoffs.

"I don't care how young of a team you are, that has to be the goal for everyone," said Beattie, whose team finished 12-14 and 4-4 in the Prep League in 2011. "Last year we weren't even .500 because we missed a lot of the guys while basketball made a deep run. I would say we could hit a .500 record and make the playoffs again [this year].

"When you're in the playoffs, anything can happen, that's what I always tell everyone."

St. Francis is in a much different position than Prep, but hoping for the same success after not having made the postseason since 2005.

"I return all but one starter," Golden Knights Coach Mark Frazee said, "so it should be OK. We should be pretty solid."

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