Playing Sends Dane to New Heights

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Cara Dane's work around the volleyball net has her up around the clouds these days.

After several stellar performances this season, Dane, a senior middle blocker at Los Alamitos High School and The Times' Athlete of the Week, is now flying the friendly skies of recruiting trips.

Last weekend, Dane visited Duke University. Soon she will be taking a trip to California. In all, Dane said nearly 50 schools have contacted her.

"I get sick of the calls from half of the (recruiters)," Dane said. "But it's also important to me because I want to get a scholarship."

Tuesday against El Dorado, Dane had 28 kills to lead Los Alamitos to a 15-5, 15-10, 15-6 victory. On Thursday, she had 16 kills in a 15-3, 15-9, 15-4 loss to Esperanza.

"She can go anywhere she wants," Los Alamitos Coach Jami Moore said. "She has a 3.8 (grade point average) and there is a scarcity of middle blockers.

As with many top volleyball players, club volleyball has helped improve Dane's performance. Dane played with the Mission Valley Club before this season.

"Club is where my whole game is," Dane said. "You have to try out for the team so the teams are generally better (than high school teams). It's a lot more intense--but you can do more things with your ability."

Despite the dropoff in competitive level from club play and league play, Dane is looking forward to the Southern Section playoffs.

Los Alamitos (10-5 overall, 6-4 in the Empire League) has clinched third place and a playoff spot for the second consecutive season. Los Alamitos will play at San Gabriel Wednesday.

TOP PERFORMERS

Dana Birch swept her sets, 6-0, 6-0, 6-0, to lead the Estancia High School girls' tennis team to a 15-3 victory over Newport Harbor Tuesday.

Tanja Brix, a sophomore at University High School, won her second Sea View League cross-country championship in 17 minutes 33 seconds at Irvine Regional Park Friday.

Marni Hichborn had 22 kills to lead the El Dorado girls' volleyball team to a 15-11, 12-15, 15-10, 15-7 victory over Villa Park Tuesday.

Cathi Peck won the Pacific Coast League cross-country title with a time of 18:40 at Laguna Hills High School Friday to help Woodbridge win the girls' championship.

Martha Pinto of Katella won the Empire League cross-country title with the time of 18:38 at Carbon Canyon Park Friday.

Cara Dane

Los Alamitos High School

Position: Middle blocker

Height, Weight, Class: 6-2, 150, Senior.

Last Week: Dane had 28 kills in a victory over El Dorado and 16 kills in a loss to Esperanza.

Season: Dane averages 18 kills a match.

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