Taft Outside Hitter Plays With Flair, and With a Smile
It’s time for one more celebration for Joe Nargi.
Nargi, the Taft High opposite hitter, was surpassed in his ability to deliver a kill only by his emotional on-court manner.
The 6-foot-6 1/2 senior, who could deliver from the back row just as easily as the front, has been selected The Times’ regional boys’ volleyball player of the year.
Always the most noticeable player on the court, Nargi led the Toreadors to the City Section 4-A Division championship match for the first time since 1990. Although Taft lost to Palisades in four games, Nargi helped bring respectability back to the program.
He smiled, he screamed, he played hard. And he always seemed to have fun.
“I feel like I wouldn’t be playing my game if I went out all serious, like a football player, all mean and mad,” Nargi said. “There’s a mental line you’ve got to draw, so you’re not constantly goofing around, but I just like to have fun out there and it passes on to my teammates.”
Nargi helped Taft to an early edge in the Northwest Valley Conference race with 27 kills in a victory over rival Kennedy.
Shortly thereafter, he was selected to the junior national team, an elite squad of high school and college players who will train in Colorado Springs, Colo., this summer and play in an international tournament in Guatemala.
In a rematch against Kennedy, Nargi again had 27 kills, all but giving the Toreadors the Northwest Valley title.
In one final showdown against Kennedy, this time in the 4-A Division semifinals, he had 21 kills to send Taft to the final.
Cal State Northridge Coach Jeff Campbell is more than pleased to have Nargi’s signature on a letter of intent.
“I think he’s the type of player that can go beyond the college level,” Campbell said. “He’s got the physical and mental ability to go to the national and international level. And there’s only been a select few from Northridge with the desire and ability to get that far.”
Nargi, recruited off the basketball court by Taft volleyball Coach Doug Magorien, quickly adapted to the sport, making 24 kills in his first match as a sophomore.
Nargi capped his career with 24 kills in the 4-A championship match against Palisades.
“It would have been better to take it a step higher,” Nargi said. “But Palisades is a great team to lose to.”
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THE TIMES ALL-REGION BOYS’ VOLLEYBALL TEAM
Player of the Year
Joe Nargi, Taft, Sr.
The 6-6 1/2 outside hitter, an All-City selection, led the Toreadors to their first section title match since 1990. He has signed with Northridge.
Jeff Toon, Kennedy, Sr.
The 6-6 middle blocker, an All-City Section selection, averaged six kills per game, had a .610 hitting percentage and has signed with Northridge.
Larry Cole, Campbell Hall, Sr.
The 6-5 middle blocker, who has signed with UCLA, set a school record with 252 kills this season. He added 105 blocks and 40 aces.
Oliver Bell, Simi Valley, Sr.
Marmonte League player of the year had 339 kills and a .520 hitting percentage. The 6-4 outside hitter signed with Northridge.
Steve Russell, Royal, Sr.
The 6-7 opposite hitter led the Marmonte League champions with 310 kills and has signed with Northridge.
Matt Miller, Crespi, Sr.
The 6-2 setter set a school record with 2,032 assists in his career and was the fiery leader for Mission League co-champions.
Robert Congelliere, Newbury Park, Sr., middle blocker-outside hitter.
William Curtis, Harvard-Westlake, Jr., outside hitter.
Cam Dickson, Royal, Jr., middle blocker.
Chris Gorny, Littlerock, Jr., middle blocker-outside hitter.
Richard Nelson, Alemany, Jr., setter.
James Spratt, Crespi, Sr., opposite hitter.