Heading into the game against Dos Pueblos, Valencia boys volleyball was confident in their abilities on Thursday.
Beginning the match with service errors by both teams, Valencia quickly found its footing and came away with a 3-1 victory, defeating the Chargers in four games: 25-14, 24-26, 25-11, 25-21.
“It was good, but in Game 2, I was disappointed, obviously, because we lost,” said Valencia head coach Kevin Kornegay. “I told them don’t get cocky because anyone can win a 15-point match, if it goes to five sets, so we don’t like to go there. For the most part, we are a young group, but I think that we responded well.”
Valencia (2-0 overall) took the first game 25-14 with ease, thanks to sound passing by Daniel Ra and key kills by sophomore Ethan Lin and junior Wyatt Leiby to jump out to a 13-6 lead.
Lin finished the day second on the team with 11 kills to go with two blocks. Leiby had seven kills, two digs and one ace.
“I’ve been hitting pretty well and I got a few errors, but by the end of the season I will get better,” Lin said. “Right now I’m getting used to this and still trying to find my chemistry with Daniel. Overall, I think I did well.”
Running into some trouble in the second game due to miscommunication, Dos Pueblos (0-1) turned the tables on the Vikings and went on three multiple-point runs in the game, including a three-point run to secure the 26-24 victory.
“We have to tighten up the communication,” Kornegay said. “A lot of ‘You got it, I got it’ type of stuff. Those things we need to clean up.”
Getting back into form in the third game, Lin picked up where he left off. Adjusting in mid-air multiple times for nifty kills, he and the Vikings forced Dos Pueblos to call a timeout halfway through the game, trailing 11-4.
“Lin is only a sophomore and he has a lot to learn, but I think he’s doing amazing,” Ra said. “He’s hammering balls, making smart plays, tipping if it’s short for him. He’s just doing so good.”
After a Jacob Knudsen ace and kill the Vikings’ lead grew to 19-8 and the game looked to be in hand.
Knudsen led the Vikings with 14 kills, six digs, one ace and a block.
Winning the game 25-11 after a Leiby kill, the Vikings needed just one more game to stay undefeated to begin the season.
Coming out flat in the fourth game, down 3-0, Valencia showed the same attitude that they began the second game with. A 4-0 run quickly turned the tide in the Vikings favor as the Chargers were able to get within in one point of the Vikings, but ultimately fell, losing 25-21.
“We need to talk more on the court,” Kornegay said. “I thought we did well serving, so that wasn’t a big issue as some times, but we need to block the outside hitter. That’s something that we will look to work on ahead of our match on Tuesday.”