Monday, October 3, 2011
Inside the FAB 50: Newport Harbor stands tall at Asics Challenge By Kirstin Olsen
No. 38 Newport Harbor (Newport Beach, Calf.) had a good run this weekend at the Asics Challenge, taking third place with a 21-25, 25-17, 25-21 win over host Mother McAuley (Chicago), ranked 35th. The Sailors won their pool after a hard-fought battle against Cary-Grove (Cary, Ill.), the defending Asics champs. The Sailors probably had a different lineup every game. Their star setter, USC commit Cinnamon Sary, would also pass and hit for them a few rotations while junior Torey Thompson delivered the ball. When the Sailors were able to pass well enough to get senior middle blocker Alex Holbrook involved, they definitely got on a roll.
Torey Thompson sets for Newport Harbor.
Unranked Carl Sandburg (Orland Park, Ill.) caught fire late in the Asics Challenge and posted a big 13-25, 27-25, 25-23 win over No. 39 Marist (Chicago, Ill.) to win the gold bracket consolation. After graduating nine players from last year's team, the Eagles are rebuilding this year. They got Marist into trouble with their defense and tough serving. Dakota Hampton, daughter of Chicago Bears Hall of Famer Dan Hampton, practically jumped out of her shoes at the end of the match, celebrating the win with her teammates.
No. 33 Central Catholic (Portland, Ore.) continues to dominate the Pacific Northwest with a 16-0 record and not dropping a set all year. The Rams are backed by middle/outside hitter Oregon commit Martenne Bettendorf and top basketball recruit Kailee Johnson. The Rams are especially gifted in the height category this season with five players 6-feet or taller and are hoping to capture their third consecutive 6A state title this year.
No. 20 Horizon (Scottsdale, Ariz.) has had a good season so far at 16-1, only dropping a match to rival Gilbert (Gilbert, Ariz.), ranked 47th. The Huskies have eight players on their team who are 6-feet or taller, and their roster includes seven sophomores. They have five outstanding young middles and run a 6-2 offense to utilize their big hitters in the front row. They took down St. Xavier (Phoenix, Ariz.) on Sept. 13 and are scheduled for a rematch Oct. 6. The Huskies are looking to win their third 5A state championship this year.