• Most of the state's top volleyball players began heading for Sacramento, Calif., Thursday to take part in the annual Volleyball Festival, which is billed as one of the world's largest events of its kind for women and girls.

More than 850 teams are scheduled to play in this year's tournament, which begins today with an opening ceremony at Arco Arena. The largest of four divisions Ñ 16 and under Ñ has 330 teams.

'It's a fun tournament,' says Norel Carpio, who helped Central Catholic High School finish third in the state last year. 'You get to play a lot of teams you don't normally see, and it's a much higher level of play than in spring.'

Carpio, playing for the Rose City Volleyball Club's 16-and-under team, will probably be playing in her last festival; her family plans to move to Florida this summer. Central Catholic coach Rick Lorenz has been busy training the school's new setter, Sarah Mohr, who also is going to the festival.

Incoming juniors Kegan Corrado and Megan Marineau say getting used to a new setter is key for the fall season at Central Catholic.

'The festival is the focus of our club team, but it's not the real focus of what we're doing,' says Corrado, a middle hitter. 'We're really getting ready for the fall season.'

'We want to try and get back to where the team was last year at state,' says Marineau, who was on the Rams' junior varsity last season with Corrado. 'We want to do well as juniors and set ourselves up for being one of the big dogs of the state the next year.'

• Benson grad Kevyn Green is headed to Worcester Academy, the Massachusetts school that 2002 Benson grad J.R. Moore attended en route to earning a scholarship to Rhode Island. The 6-4 Green didn't talk much to Moore about the decision, but he liked the idea of getting another year to mature.

'I'm still growing, and I wasn't getting any offers,' says Green, who made the Tribune's All-City team this year. 'I have a lot of financial scholarships to go (to Worcester), so it's not that big of a commitment for my family. Hopefully, I'll land at (an NCAA Division I school) while I'm there.'

• Madison football coach Tracy Jackson plans to scrap the double-wing and install a pass-based spread offense similar to one he used as coach at North Marion.

Jackson hopes to get his program numbers up significantly, too. The Senators have been stuck under four dozen players the past two seasons.

'We're starting to make inroads on getting guys to come out, the guys we haven't been seeing before,' he says. 'We're going to change some things we do on offense and defense and make it more appealing to play. I think we'll be much more athletic this season.'

Madison returns two honorable mention all-leaguers in Trevor Buffington and Matt Brown. Two grads from last fall's team, Sean Adkinson and Matt Jackson, the coach's son, plan to play for Willamette University.

Ñ Cliff Pfenning

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