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Joe Karlous, Grace Uribe make college commitments

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Newport Harbor High’'s Joe Karlous, right, seen competing against La Jolla on May 22, has committed to play men’s volleyball for Pepperdine University.
(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)

The Newport Harbor High boys’ volleyball team ran the table all the way to the CIF Southern Section Division 1 championship match last season.

It takes a special group to put together such a run, and four players from that team have now made commitments to play volleyball in college.

Senior setter Joe Karlous gave his commitment to Pepperdine University after making an official visit last week.

“Getting on campus and being around the coaches and being around the players, I just knew that was the place where I want to spend the next four years of my life,” Karlous said.

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He added that his faith played a part in the decision, saying, “Being that [Pepperdine] is a Christian school, [I wanted] to keep increasing my faith and getting closer to God.”

Karlous joins a list that includes recent graduates Cole Pender (UCLA) and Ethan Talley (Ohio State), and Sailors senior outside hitter Dayne Chalmers as the players from Newport Harbor’s section and CIF Southern California Regional Division I runner-up team last year to earn a college commitment.

Asked about making his decision later than the others, Karlous said he wanted to take in the entire college recruiting process.

“I didn’t want to rush anything,” Karlous said. “I wanted to enjoy what I was going through because you only go through it once. I wanted to wait and see what every college had in store for me.”

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As a junior, Karlous was a Daily Pilot Boys’ Volleyball Dream Team first-team selection. He produced 1,008 assists, 121 digs, 15 solo blocks and 51 block assists.

In the summer, the Sailors’ setter competed for the U.S. youth national team in the NORCECA U19 Continental Championships in Costa Rica. He also led the Balboa Bay Volleyball Club to a fifth-place finish in the 17U Open Division of the Junior Nationals, claiming all-tournament honors.

Uribe commits to new school

Huntington Beach High softball player Grace Uribe committed to Texas A&M over the weekend.

She went 11-5 with a 1.33 earned run average as a sophomore. Uribe, who shared the Sunset League Pitcher of the Year award in 2018, struck out 70 and walked 18.

The ace of the Oilers’ pitching staff had previously been committed to Missouri, but changes to the Tigers’ coaching staff compelled Uribe to take a second look at what was out there.

“I was still very interested in Missouri, but I just wanted to look around a little more,” Uribe said. “Once I visited [Texas] A&M, everything just sort of felt right, and all the girls just surrounded me.”

During the recruiting process, Uribe said that the connection that she made with a coach would be a factor in her decision. In Aggies coach Jo Evans, Uribe will learn from a member of the National Fastpitch Coaches’ Assn. Hall of Fame.

Evans has coached at Texas A&M for 23 seasons. The Aggies have made three Women’s College World Series appearances in that time, most recently in 2017.

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“It was just really important for my coach to be someone who will not only be able to push me, but will also be someone that I want to be with for the next four years of my life,” Uribe said. “Not only bettering me in softball, but in life.

“[Evans] carries a lot of wins, and she’s not only a good coach, but she’s a very good person. She’s definitely a person that I feel comfortable being with for a long time.”

andrew.turner@latimes.com

Twitter: @ProfessorTurner


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