Canyon boys volleyball held a two-game lead over non-league opponent Chaminade heading into the third game at Canyon High School on Thursday.
Dropping the third game, the Cowboys were able to recover and win in four games: 25-12, 25-18, 23-25, 25-22.
“Games 1 and 2 were great, that’s what we have been working on in practice. We have been working a lot more on hitting,” said Canyon head coach Jeff Cody. “Hitting harder, hitting smarter and being more dynamic on defense. I switched things up Game 3, which hurt our momentum a little bit, so that’s why I think game 4 was a little rougher because we lost the momentum and energy from the Game 3 loss.”
Coming out firing to begin the first game, Canyon (5-5 overall) blitzed Chaminade, scoring eight out of the first points to get ahead 8-2.
Senior Ryan Sloan continued his hot hand, delivering all three of his aces on the day in the game on the way to the dominant first-game win.
The Eagles (0-4) matched Canyon’s intensity to begin the second game but fell behind 12-6 after the Cowboys went on 4-0 run sparked by a Connor Cooper kill.
Chaminade clawed back to tie the game at 16-16 and took a brief 18-17 lead, but tripped up on two hitting errors, and faded away as the Cowboys scored the final eight points of the second game as Colin Roof hit the game-winning ace to go ahead of Chaminade 2-0 in games.
Needing one more game to complete the sweep, Canyon began the third game with confidence as Sloan served up a ball that Cooper slammed down the middle of the lane to grab an early 4-1 lead.
After a big Fabian Ruiz block, Canyon held a similar 12-6 lead, just like they did in the previous game, and seemed to have the game and match in hand.
“Fabian is definitely an energy player and we are working on him harnessing that energy,” Cody said. “He does a really good job. When he’s hot, he’s hot and I want him to stay in that zone and keep the right energy in the right spot.”
The teams went point-for-point and after a Blake Mahaffey kill led 15-11.
Mahaffey finished the day with 11 kills, 11 digs and one block.
Ahead 19-13 and needing just six more points to complete the three-game sweep of the Eagles, Canyon opted to bring on some of its bench players.
“I wanted to give the other guys who don’t get on the court as much a chance to prove themselves, for one, and a chance to see the speed of the game and experience it first hand,” Cody said.
Fighting valiantly, the Cowboys surrendered 11 of the final 15 points and ultimately dropped the game 23-25.
Carrying over the momentum from the third set, Chaminade exuded the same fight and grit that won them the third game. The Eagles went on a 4-0 run to get within one point of the Cowboys at 13-12.
Needing a point, the Cowboys’ Aaron Berko stepped up and hammered home a kill to give the home team a two-point advantage.
Canyon took an 18-16 lead and after a timeout, Chaminade found itself leveled with the Cowboys at 19-19.
The Cowboys scored four points in a row before dropping the next three points to the Eagles.
Berko delivered a blistering kill that ricocheted off a Chaminade player to get within one point of sealing the game and the match.
Berko finished second on the team with 14 kills on the day.
“I knew that after the third set we lost the momentum and I knew that the team needed me and I needed them also, but I had to put away the kills and get us the win,” Berko said.
The Cowboys took the fourth set 25-22 after a Chaminade hitting error.
Canyon travels to The Palmdale Aerospace Academy for its final non-league game of the season on Monday with a start time of 5 p.m.
“Our team is really close,” said Canyon’s senior captain Shane Kelley. “It doesn’t feel like there are any weak links. We are all on the same page and it feels like we are one collective body.”
Hart 3, Harvard-Westlake 2
Winning a home match in five games: 21-25, 21-25, 25-15, 25-19, 15-10, the Indians (7-3 overall) defeated Harvard-Westlake (7-5) for the second time this season.
Hart’s next game is at home against Crescenta Valley at 5 p.m.
Bishop Alemany 3, West Ranch 0
The Wildcats (7-3 overall) fell to Bishop Alemany on the road in three games: 22-25, 22-25, 17-25 on Wednesday.
Zack Drake had a team-high 14 kills for the Wildcats
West Ranch hosts Quartz Hill at 5 p.m. on Tuesday.