It’s not every day that a boys volleyball player gets to go up against his neighbor in a high school game.
On Wednesday, the idea became a reality when the Vikings and Benjamin Kash faced hosted Bishop Alemany and Mason Briggs in a tough non-league game at Valencia.
“There’s always competition, but just the fact that I’m facing up against my neighbor, who has been playing volleyball his entire life, there is a little more about the mental aspect to show them what I got,” Kash said.
The Vikings jumped out to an early 6-4 lead in the first game after Briggs sent his first serve long, giving the Valencia faithful something to cheer for.
Valencia took an 11-8 lead, but a 9-2 run by Alemany gave the Warriors some life and eventually pushed them to a tough first set win and eventually the match as they swept the Vikings 25-23, 25-17, 25-18.
“I wish we would have played with the same energy in Game 1 for the rest of the match,” said Valencia head coach Kevin Kornegay. “You can’t make service errors and mishandle free balls and give them the ball back because they have a couple of guys, No. 4 and No. 7, that can do some damage.”
Down 17-13 in the first game, Valencia (4-7 overall) battled back to tie it at 19-19 after a stuff block by Jacob Knudsen.
The Warriors regrouped and scored four of the next six points to go ahead by two points and won the first game on a net error by a Valencia player.
Alemany (5-2) carried over the momentum from the first game with Anthony Cherfan serving, scoring the game’s first five points to put the Vikings in an early hole.
Valencia didn’t quit, but fell behind 12-3 with Briggs’ rocket-like serves, forcing Kornegay to call a timeout.
“I’ve lived out here my whole life and I have been going to Alemany for the past four years and I finally got to play Valencia, my ‘home school,’ I guess you could say for the first time ever,” Briggs said. “It was pretty cool to give a little more and play out here.”
The Vikings were able to get within striking range of Alemany, but ultimately fell 25-17.
Trying to end the match, Alemany kept pushing forward in the third game with aggressive kills by Cherfan and Briggs along with aces by Jamie Moreno and Trevor Simons.
Down 7-4, Valencia got a big stuff block by Daniel Ra to get within two points, but both teams traded the next eight points to make it 11-9.
Another Briggs ace and the Warriors pulled away, scoring 14 of the final 23 points to win the third game and end the match.
Valencia plays Calabasas at Calabasas tomorrow at 6 p.m.
“I thought we played tentative in game 2 and then they started cranking serves and they just ran away with that one,” Kornegay said. “We battled back a little in Game 3, but it’s good to play teams like this because it exposes where you are weak and we have some things to work on. We play Calabasas tomorrow, they are a good team too so we are going to be tight.”
Hart 3, Crescenta Valley 1
The Indians (8-3 overall) defeated the Falcons in four games: 25-20, 25-16, 20-25, 25-12.
“It was a good match,” said Hart head coach Loy Mueller. “To have a lot of talent on their outside, we did a good job of kind of shutting them down for the majority of the game. We came out really intense and fired up, dipped a little bit and in game four we found ourselves and closed it out.”
Hart hosts Golden Valley at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday.
West Ranch 3, Quartz Hill 1
The Wildcats (8-3 overall) took down the defending CIF-Southern Section Division 3 champs in four games: 25-19, 26-24, 16-25, 25-19.
Zack Drake had 17 kills and Daniel Bisla finished with 10 kills and three blocks. Spencer Birchall had 15 digs and Johnny Buchanan ended the night with 33 assists.
West Ranch travels to Saugus to take on Saugus on Thursday. Time is TBA.