Chants of “let’s play volleyball boys” rang out from the Valencia boys volleyball bench after the Vikings took the first game of the match against Canyon on Thursday.
Opening up the Foothill League slate against the Cowboys, Valencia dropped just one game against Canyon winning in four sets 25-13, 23-25, 25-14, 25-18 to begin the season off right.
“We are always happy to beat an opponent in the valley, so where we can control our destiny, you have to take care of all these games,” said Valencia head coach Kevin Kornegay. “I thought game two was a poor performance by us. We have a lot of things that we have to work on like service errors and hitting errors.
“We let Canyon hang around and let them push it to a four-game match. It’s definitely not what we had in mind coming into it, so it’s an eye-opener for the boys. It just shows you that when you get into league, you can throw out records because people want to beat each other out here.”
Tied at 6-6 in the first game, Valencia (5-7 overall, 1-0 in Foothill League) scored the next three points, but Canyon answered to get within one point of the Vikings, down 10-9.
Pulling away with Jacob Knudsen serving, the Vikings rattled off six straight points and to take a 16-9 lead and scored nine out of the final 13 points to take the first game.
Knudsen finished the game second on the team with nine kills, five aces, two blocks and one dig.
That’s when the chants of “let’s play volleyball boys” began.
Heading into the second game riding the high, the Vikings committed multiple service errors, that allowed the Cowboys to regain their footing and keep level with the Vikings.
“We were waffling balls out of bounds and hitting balls into the net and continued to throughout the match,” Kevin Kornegay said. “It was just matter of keep the ball in play, stay in system, don’t worry about what they are doing and take care of the ball.”
Holding a 14-9 lead, Canyon (8-4 overall, 0-1) allowed the Vikings to come back and take the lead 20-18 after a 4-0 run to make. Canyon called a timeout, regrouped and forced the Vikings’ offense into committing errors after Knudsen and Daniel Ra ‘s shots landed out of bounds to tie the game and give Canyon a one-point lead at 24-23.
After a Valencia timeout, Aaron Berko sealed the game for the Cowboys with a thunderous kill to level it up at one game apiece.
“Low-energy,” said Knudsen of the Vikings play in the second game. “We made a lot of unforced errors and we just couldn’t get anything going.”
Getting back to business in the third game, Valencia held a 10-6 lead, forcing Canyon to call a timeout.
Out of the timeout, the Vikings’ Zak Puno hit two back-to-back aces and ignited the Vikings to a 15-8 run to retake the lead in games 2-1.
Down 8-4 in the fourth game, Canyon climbed back into the game thanks to those pesky service errors by Valencia, but still trailed 15-8 after Vikings Tyler Clyde laid down a kill.
Wyatt Leiby’s precise kill and a Clyde ace all but shut the door on the Cowboys comeback as they fell 25-18.
Valencia’s Ethan Lin finished the game with 12 kills and two blocks and Dominica Gonzalez had seven kills to go along with two blocks.
The Vikings host Hart at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday while Canyon plays Bellflower in the Millikan Tournament at 8 p.m. tomorrow.
“We are 1-0,” Kornegay said. “It’s where we want to be after one game. Next week it’s back to business. We have Hart on Tuesday, which will be a good test. That’s one you cannot overlook, that’s for sure. We have to come in playing much better than we did tonight if we are going to get past Hart.”
Hart 3, Golden Valley 0
Hart (9-3 overall, 1-0 in Foothill League) swept Golden Valley in three sets: 25-14, 25-18, 25-18 at home to begin Foothill League play on Thursday.
Gavin Liesing led the Indians with nine kills and Ezra Moore and Jake Meyers each finished with seven. Sawyer Tengberg recorded 27 assists in the win.
The Indians play Saddleback Valley Christian at the Dos Pueblos Tournament at 10 a.m. on Saturday. Golden Valley (5-4, 0-1) hosts West Ranch at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday.
West Ranch 3, Saugus 0
The Wildcats (9-3 overall, 1-0 in Foothill League) begin league play with a three-game victory winning: 25-16, 25-13, 25-13 over Saugus (5-6, 0-1) at Saugus on Thursday.
Zack Drake had a career-high eight aces on the day, while Johnny Buchanan recorded 17 assists. Alex Miller had six kills and Ian Hodge had eight digs.
West Ranch plays Temecula Valley in the Beach City Invitational at 3:30 p.m tomorrow. Saugus travels to Canyon to take on the Cowboys to see who can get their first win at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday.