By Jason Greenwald
For The Signal
Valencia boys volleyball continued its late-season push for a Foothill League title Wednesday after sweeping Canyon in three games.
With an opportunity to catch West Ranch and Hart with a few games remaining, the Vikings cranked out an important win against Canyon: 25-12, 25-18, 25-17.
Game 1 belonged to the Vikings (8-10 overall, 4-2 in Foothill League), who were led by senior Dorian Ellis producing copious amounts of kills and pivotal blocks in his return to the team.
“It was a good game. I knew exactly were to hit the ball and knew where to make the block,” said Ellis. “The more we go through the season and work together as a team, I feel like we will do really well.”
The Cowboys (12-12,1-5) fell behind early in Game 1, after missing numerous serves and key blocks that could have given them momentum.
Ellis, who finished the day with ten kills and six blocks, got the winning point in a 25-12 rout.
“We’ve got to be better at hitting. We have to serve better and not make as many hitting errors,” said Canyon head coach Jeff Cody. “Valencia’s a good team, especially now that they have Dorian back, it makes all the difference in the world. He is a game changer for them.”
The second game started with each team trading points back and forth. The Cowboys found their rhythm and focus playing a better game behind junior Connor Cooper, who finished the series with six kills and four blocks.
With the score at 18-18, Valencia went on an offensive barrage, connecting with the next seven points to win the game 25-18.
“Canyon battled in the second game and took us down to the wire,” said Valencia head coach Kevin Kornegay. “I told them that Canyon is not going to roll over and let the guys have it, they’re going to be fired up and play.”
The Cowboys opened game 3 with a 5-2 lead, but the Vikings answered right back with excellent play from their libero, senior Benjamin Kash, who finished with two blocks, two kills and two digs.
Valencia was taking full advantage of Canyon’s missed opportunities serving the ball. Their offense continued to hammer out points from each side of the net.
Ellis maintained his scoring chances beside junior Jake Knudsen, who had nine kills and senior Tyler Clyde, who had seven kills. The Vikings went on to win the Game 3 25-17 to claim the victory.
With this win, Valencia will look to keep pace with Hart in league, which it plays on the road in a much-anticipated match Thursday at 5:15 p.m.
“We expect to play better than the first time we played them,” said Kornegay. “The team has been battle tested and I think they’re going to step up this time. I’m looking forward to seeing round two with them.”
Canyon will look to bounce back from its loss against Saugus on Thursday at 5:30 p.m.