Winning in straight games and taking sole possession of second place in the Foothill League, Valencia took care of business against Saugus on Tuesday.
With scores of 25-15, 25-16, 25-17, Valencia (16-9 overall, 6-2 in Foothill League) made a strong case for why they should be in the playoffs.
“We had a ton of energy on the court today,” said Valencia’s Tyler Clyde. “That brought us up a lot considering last time we played against Saugus how we lost a set to them, but this game we had our setter yelling the entire time and that had all of us pumped and we took away the win.”
Up one point, 15-14, in the first game, Valencia dug deep and found a way to score 10 of the last 11 points in the game for a 25-15 win.
Moving Jacob Knudsen to libero, David Chun (eight kills, 15 digs, two blocks, three aces) to outside hitter and Tyler Clyde (three kills and one ace) to opposite hitter, the Vikings needed half a game to get settled.
“We changed up our lineup a little bit, so I think they were just getting used to it,” said Valencia head coach Kevin Kornegay.
In the second game, Saugus (11-13, 4-4) fell behind early thanks to the offensive spark provided by Clyde and Dorian Ellis (eight kills, two blocks, three digs) up front with their vocal and physical presences.
“Lately, I have been the saving grace, coming in randomly,” Clyde said about providing a spark. “I don’t do amazing overall, but I do come in and help with side-out and just keep moving forward.
“…We all have energy up front and we get hyped everytime we get a kill.”
In their third and final set, the Cents were able to make it interesting by battling back to come within one point of Valencia at 17-16, but only managed to score one more point the rest of the way.
Saugus’ Gage Smith led the team with eight kills and nine digs and Dylan Spring finished with six kills and four digs. Luke Leonard chipped in 20 assists and eight digs for the Centurions.
“We just need to work on the same thing, so now it’s time for them to decide what they want to do,” Saugus head coach Barry Nua said. “Do they want the moment to define them or do they want to define the moment? They have a choice to come in and work a little harder with Hart coming up, so we will look forward to that.”
Next up for Saugus is Hart on Thursday.
With the win, Valencia moves into second place in league play and hosts Golden Valley on Thursday for Senior Night.