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The Colleges : CSUN Volleyball Team Confident Heading Into Conference Schedule

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Funny how things change.

After the Cal State Northridge volleyball team dismantled Chapman in 3 games Thursday, Matador Coach John Price sounded like a candidate for Humanitarian of the Year.

“We are encouraged to schedule these teams for the health of the sport,” Price said. “We need to keep men’s volleyball programs alive.”

Rather ironic coming from the coach whose team destroyed the Panthers in 48 minutes.

“We wanted to play with enthusiasm but at the same time we didn’t want to show up Chapman,” Price said. “The game was never in jeopardy.”

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A few years ago, such talk would most likely have come from CSUN’s opponent, not its coach.

But this season, after beating the universities of Hawaii and Manitoba and finishing eighth in the prestigious UC Santa Barbara tournament last week, the Matadors have every right to talk tough. And the CSUN players sure can talk.

“We have just as good players as anyone in the league,” middle blocker Raphael Tulino said.

Added outside hitter Bob Samuelson: “We’ve got a great team now.”

Northridge will find out just how great when it begins Western Intercollegiate Volleyball Assn. play next week with matches at Pepperdine and USC.

The Matadors are enthusiastic about their chances even though a CSUN team has never beaten Pepperdine at Firestone Fieldhouse and has never beaten USC anywhere. Until last weekend, the Matadors hadn’t beaten Hawaii or Manitoba, either.

“We can’t get a whole lot tougher schedule to start the conference but I think we’ll be competitive in each match,” Price said. “I really feel good about our chances in each game.”

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Track is back: The College of the Canyons track program, dormant for 3 years, will return this spring under the guidance of Coach Fred Delavega, and Canyons Athletic Director Lee Smelser said that the school is making plans to have the track surface refinished.

“Hopefully we can go forward with this,” Smelser said. “Since 1980, the track program involved a lot of interim and temporary people and it was one headache after another.

“But we have a great facility here and we want to get the word out that we are back in business.”

Redlands-Bound: Jeff Sofro, an All-Southern Section selection at point guard and The Times’ 1988 All-Glendale baseball player of the year, has withdrawn from Pepperdine and is in the process of transferring to Redlands.

Sofro, who graduated from Glendale High last June, was the only walk-on to make the Pepperdine basketball team. He played in an exhibition game against Athletes in Action before quitting to concentrate on baseball. Sofro, an infielder in high school, never appeared in a Pepperdine baseball game.

In his senior season at Glendale, Sofro averaged 21.7 points a game in basketball and batted .397. According to his father, Barney, he is planning to play both sports for the Bulldogs.

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Missing scorer: The loss of Moorpark College forward Kerrie Marshall could not have come at a worse time for the Lady Raiders, who play host to Valley College tonight.

Marshall, who averaged 16.8 points and 8 rebounds to lead Moorpark in both categories, left the team Tuesday in the wake of a dispute with Coach Gary Abraham after she was late for practice, according to Abraham. Marshall was the seventh-leading scorer in the Western State Conference.

Abraham said that losing Marshall will hurt the Lady Raiders (17-4, 5-0 in conference play) in their bid to successfully defend their WSC title. Valley is 19-3, 4-1 going into tonight’s showdown.

“Valley is playing very well,” Abraham said. “It’s going to be really tough for us without Kerrie.”

The Lady Raiders have won 20 consecutive WSC games during the past 3 seasons.

Chris J. Parker and staff writers Gary Klein, Sam Farmer and Ralph Nichols contributed to this notebook.

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