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Westchester Upsets Taft in Volleyball

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Taft High setter Ryan Cooper had just finished playing on the losing side of a five-game, 2-hour 40-minute boys’ volleyball match against visiting Westchester on Friday.

But his thoughts raced ahead to today as he reflected on the 12-15, 15-12, 13-15, 15-12, 15-11 defeat in the quarterfinals of the City Section 4-A Division playoffs.

“It really hasn’t set in yet,” Cooper said. “Right now, it just feels like another loss. But in the morning, we’re going to realize it’s over and there will be no more volleyball for us at Taft.”

One of five senior starters for the Toreadors, Cooper acknowledged that an upset loss was a painful way to end his high school career.

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For the second year in a row, Taft (12-3) came into the quarterfinals as Northwest Valley Conference champion and the second-seeded team. Again, the Toreadors were knocked off in five games by a lower-ranked team (University in ’91) from the Western League.

Led by outside hitter Jason Hughes (32 kills, seven blocks), the seventh-seeded Comets (10-5) overcame a 2-1 game deficit to advance to Tuesday’s semifinals. “It was a game of streaks and (Westchester) had the streak at the end,” said Taft outside hitter Casey Sheahan, who had 23 kills.

Taft, paced by outside hitter Danny Kim (25 kills, five blocks), rallied from a 10-6 deficit to take an 11-10 lead in game five.

But Westchester scored the final five points.

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