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VOLLEYBALL : QUARTZ HILL TRIES FOR BIG UPSET REBELS LOOK TO BEAT JUGGERNAUT HIGHLAND.

Byline: Lee Barnathan Daily News Staff Writer

In the last three years, the Quartz Hill High School boys' volleyball team finished fourth twice and a distant second to Golden League power Highland.

Highland is back in familiar territory: a 5-1 record, including 2-0 in league. It has won its last 42 league matches.

Quartz Hill, meanwhile, is charting new ground. The Rebels (5-1, 2-0) host the Bulldogs tonight at 5 p.m. in what many close to the team are saying is the most important match in school history.

Quartz Hill is ranked seventh in the Daily News poll and 10th in the Southern Section Division I poll. Ending Highland's league win streak would be the breakthrough victory towards which it has been working.

``I feel like we have a chance to beat Highland,'' setter Mario Grimm said. ``We have the talent to do so.''

On the surface, this match might appear as Quartz Hill's outside hitting duo of 6-foot-2 Darren Haub and 6-2 Eric Stott against Highland's formidable middle led by 6-5 Tom Haight and his .600 hitting percentage.

Yet the key to the victory will be how everyone else fares. Haub and Haight are expected to get their sets and make their kills.

``I think it's everyone stepping up to do their job,'' Highland senior Russ Barthloet said. ``We're not all Toms and we're not all Darrens.''

Both teams' successes have come because they pass well. Quartz Hill's Brent Nicholas gets the ball to Grimm, giving the setter more options. How well he and the other back-row players dig Haight's booming hits also will be a factor.

Similarly, Highland has stayed competitive even when everyone but Haight hits a negative percentage, which happened against Littlerock. Mike Wagner and Karl Buckman have passed and dug well.

``Our goal is to keep the ball in play and let the other team make mistakes,'' Highland coach Mike Bird said. ``If Quartz Hill's on, we're gonna lose. If they're on and we're on, it's gonna be a good match.''

Quartz Hill needs its middle blockers like Link to contribute more to the offense, just like Highland needs outside hitters Buckman and Cory Brown to step up.
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Apr 16, 1997
Words:364
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