By Jason Greenwald
For The Signal
Hart boys volleyball battled through early adversity to beat Valencia in their second league game to remain undefeated on Tuesday at Valencia.
After dropping the first game, 23-25, the Indians went on to win the next three games: 27-25, 25-16, 25-21.
“Collectively we were a complete team. It’s been a long preseason trying to get them to fully commit to everyone’s roll,” said Hart head coach Loy Mueller. “Today everyone understood it, everyone knew their job, and thankfully executed.”
Hart (9-3 overall, 2-0 in Foothill League) started Game 1 strong behind senior Jake Meyers and senior Gavin Leising, who both fired kills over Valencia heads to gain an 8-5 lead.
“The game was very fun today. Each team fought well and tried their hardest for the win,” said Meyer who finished with 14 kills.
The Vikings (5-7, 1-1) managed to close the gap late in the first game 18-19, behind senior Tyler Clyde, who had 16 kills.
Valencia won the first game 25-23 by scoring six of the last seven points in the set.
“Naturally I’m frustrated, we made a lot of errors. Set 1 we had 10 errors. I kind of had to snap at them. I had to tell them to fix that and we’ll be in control,” said Mueller.
Hart repeated its early success in Game 2, pulling ahead 12-7 behind strong communication on the court.
Valencia, answering to their own adversity, clawed back into the game behind key blocks from the two juniors, Daniel Ra and Dominic Gonzalez, the latter of which finished with 5 blocks.
A fierce offensive assault by Valencia gave them a 24-22 lead late in Game 2, but Hart answered by scoring 5 of the next 6 points and winning 27-25.
“We started off slow in every game. We battled back to win Game 1, which we could have easily lost. Battled back in game two, which we should have won,” said Vikings head coach Kevin Kornegay. “They just kept pouring it on us and did a good job.”
Game 3 was controlled by Hart, which seemed to steal all momentum from Valencia after Game 2.
Leising continued to peg kills against the Vikings, hitting 11 on the day. The Indians also received a surprise from freshman Ian Duncan who contributed key serves and digs in the 25-16 Game 3 rout.
Valencia snapped out of their funk in Game 4, changing their rotation to offset Hart.
“We juggled the lineup a little bit, just to make some changes to try and help the team. It just wasn’t enough,” said Kornegay.
Neither team wanted to concede in Game 4, constantly trading blows. Each team was separated by one point during the beginning of the match until Hart pulled away 20-15.
Senior Sawyer Tengberg was feeding the entire team all day, recording 42 assists, which helped Hart secure the 25-21 victory.
“That’s the game I’ve been waiting for all season. We played some really tough teams and Valencia was one of those, said Mueller. “We knew we had to step up and today we did.”
Hart looks to remain undefeated as they host Canyon on Thursday at 5:15 p.m. Valencia looks to rebound at West Ranch on Friday at the same time.