The Van Nuys High girls' volleyball team was named the top seed in the City Section 4-A Division playoffs, a high hurdle to clear, considering that the Wolves play in a 3-A conference.
Tuesday, the Wolves were hit with another obstacle before their first-round playoff match against El Camino Real. City Section Commissioner Barbara Fiege asked to see the transfer paperwork of Van Nuys outside hitter Sharon Foster.
The Wolves defeated El Camino Real, 15-0, 15-1, 15-4, and will play host to the winner of Venice-Bell in the second round Thursday, but the main post-match topic was the eligibility of Foster, a senior who transferred from Village Christian in February.
Foster said she moved out of her family's Canyon Country residence to live with her aunt in Van Nuys because her parents opened a restaurant and work late hours.
"Some people are jealous because of how we're doing," Foster said. "If I wasn't legal, [Van Nuys administrators] wouldn't have let me in."
During the off-season, Foster plays club volleyball for Valley Thunder, a team coached by Van Nuys assistant Tuong Nguyen. Van Nuys Coach Dave Bessler denied anyone from the school recruited Foster, who has committed to Eastern Kentucky.
"I don't know how big a thing [Fiege] is going to make of it," Bessler said. "This is only happening because we're the top seed."
Some disagreed. "Let's face it," said a City Section coach who requested anonymity. "There's some dirt going on there."
On the court, the Wolves (13-1) played like a top-seeded team Thursday.
The Valley Pac-8 Conference champions easily beat El Camino Real (6-6), the fourth-place team in the Northwest Valley Conference, in 42 minutes.
Foster had nine kills and Angela Eckmier had eight.
"They should go all the way to the finals," said El Camino Real Coach Lori Chandler, who guided the Conquistadores to two championship-match appearances in the early 1990s. "They're the best we've seen all year."