NORTHWEST GLENDALE — There will be one less sport on the docket next spring at Hoover High.
Citing a lack of interest and recent struggles on the court, Hoover Athletic Director Jack Van Patten said the school will not field a boys' volleyball team next season. The program has struggled of late, often finishing at or near the bottom of the Pacific League and seldom competing in nonleague matches and tournaments.
Van Patten said it wasn't clear if the program would resurface, but didn't rule it out.
"We made the decision in July not to have the program next year and things just seemed to be getting worse," Van Patten said. "We will talk to the returning players and encourage them to try out for another sport at that time.
"We want everybody to play another sport, but we decided it was the best thing to cancel the program."
The Tornadoes have fallen on hard times of late on the court. For example, the program was without Coach Deb Cohen for the bulk of the 2009 season after she recovered from a shoulder and neck injury. Cohen said she's undergone a pair of shoulder surgeries and one neck surgery since December of 2007.
The Tornadoes finished 0-10 in league for sixth place last season. They have gone 8-48 in league matches since the start of the 2006 season.
Assistant Coach Amanda De Graaf, a former Hoover girls' volleyball player, filled in last season for Cohen while she recovered from surgery.
"We had talked about it toward the end of June," said Cohen, a biology teacher at Hoover who took over the boys' program four years ago after previously coaching the school's girls' program for four seasons. "Jack had said to wait and see how many kids from [Toll Middle School] would sign up.
"It's sad because there were some kids who were interested. It's hard on me, but I'll get over it."
Van Patten said the league will now field five teams — Crescenta Valley, Glendale, Arcadia, Burroughs and Claremont. Three teams automatically qualify for the playoffs, which does not change from a six-team format.
Veteran Crescenta Valley boys' Coach John Nelson said he learned via e-mail that Hoover would no longer field a team. Nelson added that it caught him off-guard.
"It's sad to see a school drop a sport that they want to play," Nelson said. "The kids want to play sports.
"Maybe we will find another team that might want to join our league. So, now we have a five-team league and that leaves a big whole in your schedule. It's going to be hard to figure out what to do with the schedules for each team."