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Playoff pushes, matches in mind for Glendale area boys' volleyball squads

St. Francis Golden Knights, Crescenta Valley Falcons look to duplicate 2012 success, while rest look to improve.

February 26, 2013|By Andrew Shortall, andrew.shortall@latimes.com
  • ARCHIVE PHOTO: Crescenta Valley's Freedom Tripp jumps for a kill attempt against Hoover in a Pacific League boys volleyball match.
ARCHIVE PHOTO: Crescenta Valley's Freedom Tripp… (Tim Berger / Staff…)

A rash of graduations from last year's top-two local boys' volleyball teams has Crescenta Valley and St. Francis highs wondering how they can match 2012 — one of the best campaigns in each program's history — in 2013.

After missing out on the postseason last year, Flintridge Prep, Glendale, Hoover and Glendale Adventist Academy hope rosters stacked with returners equal success and a playoff appearances this season.

For the first time since 2004, St. Francis earned a trip to the playoffs with a fourth-place finish in a formidable Mission League. After graduating five seniors, Golden Knights Coach Mark Frazee is hoping his team can find a way to push into the postseason.

“We’re always trying to strive for playoffs,” Frazee said. “I know our league is one of the toughest in Southern California and we’re constantly having to prove ourselves as a Division III team in a Division I league. With our seniors and our leadership, I think if we come together and if we can solidify everything we’ll be OK.”

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Seniors Charles McCarthy and Chris Thompson at outside hitter and setter, respectively, will be called upon to lead a young St. Francis team, which went 12-6, 7-5 in league last year and was bounced in the first round of the playoffs. AJ Krappman returns as the Knights' lefty opposite hitter with sophomore Thomas Lund set to occupy one middle blocker position with the other still up for grabs.

Chris Thompson's younger brother, freshman David Thompson, will give the Golden Knights' offense a new look, as they'll be setting alongside each other this year and is one of several freshmen who’ll be asked to make a big contribution this year.

“I’m going to run a different offense than we’ve run in the past five or six years, I'm going to use two setters,” said Frazee, who'll also have Chris hitting and freshman Carl D’Aguiar at defensive specialist this year. “I have some pretty big shoes to fill with the guys that left last year.”

After graduating seven players and being bumped up to CIF Southern Section Division II, Crescenta Valley Coach John Nelson isn’t quite sure what to expect this year.

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