NOTEBOOK : City Volleyball Title Eludes Verdugo Hills

The Verdugo Hills boys' volleyball team could not have chosen a worse time to have its worst match of the season.

The Dons' hopes for an unbeaten season ended last Friday at Pepperdine's Firestone Fieldhouse when they lost to Monroe, 15-3, 15-9, 15-12, in the City Section 3-A Division championship match.

"The kids knew that if we didn't serve well, we were going to have problems because Monroe doesn't make mistakes," Verdugo Hills Coach Dino Stirpe said. "Monroe played their best match of the season and we played our worst."

Verdugo Hills, which finished 17-1, has a strong nucleus returning next season, including All-Northern League selections Kheng Lim and Soi Hoang.

Tracking a title: The Occidental College men's and women's track teams are competing this week in the NCAA Division III national championships at North Central College at Naperville, Ill.

Occidental, which has not won a national team title, has 19 athletes competing in 23 events, the second-largest contingent the school has ever sent to the nationals.

"The men's field is so balanced throughout, we could be anywhere in the top 20," Occidental Coach Bill Harvey said.

The Occidental women, who have finished in the top five in five of Harvey's 11 years as coach, will face strong competition from several schools, including UC Santa Barbara.

"It is by far the best team we've had," Harvey said. "But we've run into a bunch of other teams that are in the same position."

Signed, sealed, delivered: Matt Whisenant, who graduated from La Canada High and played this season at Glendale College, has signed a contract with the Philadelphia Phillies and will report to the organization's Rookie League affiliate at Martinsville, Va. on June 18.

Whisenant, a 6-foot-3, 200-pound left-hander, was selected by the Phillies in the 15th round of free-agent draft last June.

He was 3-5 with a 5.00 earned-run average and also batted .322 for Glendale, which finished 12-27.

Club life: Dan Jennings of St. Francis High won the Southern Section individual golf title on Monday, shooting a 3-under-par 69 at the Mission Hills Golf Course.

Jennings, a senior, advances to the Southern California Golf Assn.'s Southern California finals June 11 at El Caballero Country Club in Tarzana.

Leaps and bounds: Marji Gilles became the first Glendale College woman to win a state title in 10 years when she leaped 37 feet 3 1/3 inches in the triple jump at last weekend's state track and field championships at Santa Barbara City College.

Gilles made her winning jump only hours after finishing the heptathlon, in which she scored 4,033 points to finish in a tie for fifth place.

"I was so tired after the heptathlon that the win in the triple was totally unexpected," said Gilles, who has a best of 39-4 3/4. "I didn't jump particularly well, but this is great. It totally makes up for all those times that I ever finished second or third."

Among other Glendale competitors:

Dave Swanson, a transfer from Cal State Northridge who placed sixth in the high jump at the 1988 NCAA Division II meet, cleared 7-0 1/4 to tie Gio Spratling of Hartnell. Spratling won the title in a jump-off.

Marty Beck suffered his first loss of the season in the 400-meter intermediate hurdles (51.22), placing second to Larry Sanders of Taft (51.06). Sanders hit the last hurdle but was able to hold off the late-charging Beck, who fell at the finish line.

Rick Provenzano led for the first 600 meters in the 800, but faded to finish ninth in 1:58.5.

On the fast track: Eliazar Herrera and Creighton Harris of Hoover High and Edward Baktanian of Flintridge Prep qualified for Friday's Southern Section Master's meet with outstanding performances in the Southern Section finals at Cerritos College.

Herrera ran a personal-best 9:06:43 in the 4-A 3,200 meters to qualify behind Camarillo's Abe Valdez, who finished in 9:03:05.

Harris clocked a 4:17.02 for second place in the 1,600 while Baktanian leaped 21-1 to take fourth in the 1-A long jump.

All-American: Cal State Northridge outfielder Lisa Erickson was named to the NCAA Division II All-American team for the second consecutive year.

Erickson, who played at Crescenta Valley High, batted .380 with 16 runs batted in and 45 stolen bases for the Lady Matadors, who finished second to Cal State Bakersfield at the Division II championships last week.

Two-time titlist: Wendy Cohen of Crescenta Valley High captured her second consecutive Southern Section individual gymnastics title last weekend at Westlake High.

Cohen, a junior, compiled an overall score of 37.25 to win the competition. Cohen won the vault, finished second in floor exercise, third in the uneven bars and fourth on the balance beam.

Raising a racquet: Tom Zelanovic of La Canada High will become the first player from the school to compete for a Southern Section individual title when he plays Brett Dent of Diamond Bar on Friday in the round of 16 at Newport Harbor.

Zelanovic advanced to the tournament by defeating Howard Kim of Pasadena Poly and Eric Lin of Anaheim Canyon last Saturday at Diamond Bar High.

Kirby Lee contributed to this notebook.

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