Dropping the first game to Lancaster, Canyon boys volleyball was primed to make a comeback at Canyon on Monday.
Falling behind early in the first game, Canyon pulled even after a Connor Cooper kill to tie the game at 7-7. Losing 25-22, Canyon gained momentum in the final three games, never trailing again, winning in four sets: 22-25, 25-16, 25-20, 25-19.
“That first set was a little frustrating because we came out flat. That’s something that we have been struggling with all season,” said Canyon head coach Jeff Cody. “We always seem to have one set where we kind of sit back and relax and get too comfortable, so we are just working on that. The stats show too many hitting errors, too many serving errors and too much miscommunication, and hey, Lancaster did a good job of keeping the ball alive and we just kept making errors.”
With senior setter Ryan Sloan serving, Canyon (4-4 overall) began the second game with kills by Troy Bietsch and Aaron Berko and an ace by Sloan, plus a hitting error by Lancaster to pull out to a 4-0 lead.
Lancaster was able to pull within two points down 8-6 after their own 4-0 run, but a Berko kill pushed the Cowboys back to a comfortable lead.
Berko finished the match second on the team with 11 kills and two blocks.
Blake Mahaffey and Colin Roof joined Sloan with aces of their own to comfortably win the game and pull even with Lancaster at one game all.
Mahaffey ended the day with six digs, four kills and two aces. Roof recorded two aces and two digs.
Picking up where he left off, Sloan’s serving prowess enabled the Cowboys to build a early 6-0 lead, hitting three of his five aces on the day within the first six serves of the third game.
“My team just had good energy today and that really helped me focus more on my serves and my setting,” Sloan said. “Overall, it makes me play a lot better.”
Playing a more aggressive style of volleyball, Canyon built a big enough lead to withstand the late 13-6 run that the Eagles (1-8) made to get within four points of the Cowboys down 23-19, forcing Canyon to call a quick timeout.
Lancaster scored a point out of the timeout, but Canyon was able to score the final two points to win and take the third set 25-20.
Once again with Sloan serving, Canyon pulled in front of Lancaster 5-1 through the first six serves of the fourth game.
A collective block party by Fabian Ruiz, Roof and Cooper pushed the Canyon lead to 11-7.
Lancaster pulled within one point of Canyon down 12-11, but kills by Cooper and Berko, who combined for nine kills in the game, ignited the Cowboys on a 6-0 run to comfortably win by a 6-point margin.
Cooper led the team in kills and digs with 17 and nine, respectively. He added two blocks.
“I feel like our passing overall was on point,” Cooper said. “We have improved a lot, especially with me, Shane and Blake in the back row. We definitely have a lot fun and enjoy ourselves by getting better everyday and putting in work.”
Canyon has a quick turnaround, hosting Heritage Christian at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday.