Valencia girls volleyball welcomes new coach with win over Canyon

Canyon's Daniela Cabrera goes for a kill in a game against Valencia at Canyon High School on Tuesday. Haley Sawyer/The Signal
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Valencia girls volleyball picked up its second straight win of the Foothill League season with its second coach of the Foothill League season on Tuesday.

The Vikings swept Canyon at Canyon under the command of Kristin Dolan, who had taken over head coaching responsibilities for Ray Sanchez. Sanchez resigned as head coach for the Vikings, as confirmed by Valencia athletics on Tuesday night.

“Ray had them greatly trained and clearly we have very good athletes that know how to play volleyball, so tonight it was them,” Dolan said. “I just put them in a rotation and I let them take care of their business and they did a really great job.”

Valencia (5-1 overall, 2-0 in Foothill League) cruised to a 25-15 win in the first game, but Canyon (3-14, 0-2) was able to keep things closer in the second. 

The Vikings were finally able to get an edge when Kaelyn White had a kill, a double block with a teammate and a tip to start a six-point scoring run for the team. 

“We played with some confidence,” said Canyon coach Robert Treahy of his team’s play during Game 2. “And when we did make mistakes, it wasn’t after a crucial point. When we made mistakes tonight they were right afters something tremendous, so our momentum broke immediately.”

White brought the score to 24-19 on another tip, then Jaela Bernard made it 25-20 with a kill.

White was the first to strike in the third game, scoring on an ace to get some momentum going early. The Vikes scored five straight points shortly after for a 7-1 lead, a run capped by an ace from Ha’ani Untalan.

Untalan also made an impact on defense, finishing the evening with eight digs. 

The Cowboys made several mistakes that prevented them from gaining an advantage in Game 3. Valencia began to close in on the win when Bernard had a kill to bring the score to 20-13. 

Aly Grodell was able to finish out the win with a kill to make it 25-17.

Grodell logged with eight kills, three blocks and seven aces in the match. White was another major contributor with 10 kills and 14 assists.

White has played at multiple positions throughout her varsity career, but now, as a senior, she’s primarily at setter and opposite.

“This is my favorite position to play, opposite, center back row and then I get to hit front row,” White said. “I like playing anywhere though. It’s fun.”

Libero Chloe Rich had 11 digs and setter Olivia Boyd had 14 assists for Valencia. Canyon’s Arianna Vargas had a team-high 11 kills.

Canyon next plays at Saugus on Thursday at 5:30 p.m. Valencia is at Hart on Thursday at 5:15.

The Vikings are focused on staying mentally sharp ahead of their match against the defending Foothill League champions. 

“Right now we’re working on our mental game,” White said. “So not getting so caught up in a match, once we get kind of hyped up and in our feelings, that’s when we get the most errors. So if we can get our head in the right space, then we’ll be okay.”

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