He couldn’t catch a break, except when he snowboarded or played
Those breaks came within a six-month span in 2001 to his left
shoulder while snowboarding and to his left index finger while
catching a football. Those injuries robbed Scott Smiland of two years
on the volleyball court.
Questions were raised this season about the reserved St. Francis
High volleyball player.
Could Smiland resist future offers to snowboard? Could Smiland
avoid another fluke injury to finally produce a captivating season?
Fortunately for Smiland, the answers were affirmative.
The Arizona State-bound Smiland recorded a team-best 302 kills,
earned a spot on the All-Mission League first-team roster and guided
the Golden Knights to a berth in the CIF Southern Section Division I
Those accomplishments helped Smiland secure the Burbank Leader
All-Area Player of the Year, which is chosen by the writers and
editors of the Leader and News-Press.
“It seems like I’ve been hurt my whole life,” said Smiland, who
finished his career with 555 kills and 187 digs.
“I just had to learn from my mistakes. I think I would have been
as good then had I not had those injuries.”
Nobody will know except for Smiland, who became the first St.
Francis athlete in seven years to be named to the league’s first
A trip to Mountain High Resort near Wrightwood can be pleasant.
For the 18-year-old Smiland, it’s a common destination to escape the
Then something happened that Smiland thought might end his career.
Snowboarding down a hill, Smiland fell and suffered a shoulder
injury. The incident happened about a week into the season, forcing
him to miss all but the final three matches.
“He played through quite a bit of pain at St. Francis,” said
Golden Knight Coach Mark Frazee, who piloted the Golden Knights
(13-6) to a third-place finish in league this season.
“Nothing came easy, that’s for sure. I always wanted him on the
floor if I had the choice.”
Frazee often did not have the choice. That proved to be true in
2002, when Smiland hurt his finger catching a football during a
spring practice at St. Francis.
The 6-foot-2 Smiland, who said he’s declined invitations from
friends to snowboard since the mishap, participated in only five
A kicker on the school’s football team, Smiland said he hadn’t
suffered a football-related injury in a game during his four varsity
“I tried to catch the football and it struck my finger,” said
Smiland, who also plays for the Redondo Beach-based Southern
California Volleyball Club’s 18-and-under team.
“I thought to myself that maybe I’m just accident-prone, and it
was pretty depressing calling Coach Frazee about the injuries.
“If anything, sitting out the two years helped me. You sit on the
bench and you get a coach’s perspective on the game. I did a lot of
watching, and I learned how to properly block a ball or see what the
other team is doing wrong.”
Armed with a sound supporting cast, Smiland delivered plenty of
timely kills for the Golden Knights this season. He received help
from outside hitter Andy Frazee, setter Shant Norhadian, middle
blocker Tim Dietrich and outside hitter Tim Smiland, Scott’s twin
The Smilands, Dietrich and Frazee combined for 994 kills, and
Norhadian had 913 assists.
Scott Smiland recorded 24 kills in a nonleague match against
Temple City on March 11 and again in a Mission League match May 9
against North Hollywood Harvard- Westlake.
“For a long time, St. Francis had a good team,” said Smiland, who
was named to the All-Area’s first team last season. “We led up to
something big because the team had so many good ingredients.”
It was clockwork to find Frazee or the Smilands near the net,
prepared to deliver a booming kill.
Smiland put aside the fear factor of suffering another injury and
“At first, it was in the back of my mind about getting hurt
again,” said Smiland, who was a four-time All-Area first-team member
“But then I figured that I’ve been hurt so much that this year I
wouldn’t get hurt. I focused on getting a nice set and hitting the
2003 BURBANK LEADER ALL-AREA BOYS’ VOLLEYBALL TEAM
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
SCOTT SMILAND * ST. FRANCIS
SENIOR * OUTSIDE HITTER
* Named first-team All-Mission League in 2003 for Golden Knights.
* Became first St. Francis athlete in seven years to be named to
Mission League’s first team.
* Had team-best 302 kills and 49 digs.
* Produced 24 kills in matches against Temple City and North
* Missed most of sophomore and junior seasons after snowboarding
and football injuries.
* Finished injury-riddled career with 555 kills and 187 digs.
* Was also Golden Knights’ kicker for football team for four
seasons, earning News-Press All-Area first-team honors each season.
* Had area-best seven field goals his senior season in football.
ALL-AREA SECOND TEAM
* Ian Breckenridge-Jackson
Providence * Middle Blocker * Senior
Earned All-CIF Division V third-team honors.
* Tim Dietrich
St. Francis * Middle Blocker * Junior
Recorded 166 kills and 100 blocks.
* Jordan Nomura
Flintridge Prep * Outside Hitter * Senior
Named to All-Santa Fe League’s first team.
* Shant Norhadian
St. Francis * Setter * Senior
Had 913 assists, second best in area.
* Jeff O’Neill
Crescenta Valley * Middle Blocker * Junior
All-league first-team selection had 254 kills.
* Aaron Pita
Crescenta Valley * Opposite Hitter * Senior
Named to All-Pacific League’s second team.