By Justin Vigil-Zuniga
Signal Sports Writer
Vikings boys’ volleyball (7-8, 3-1) came out on top in a five-set marathon with Canyon (5-2, 1-2) on Thursday.
Valencia won the match with scores of 22-25, 25-20, 31-29, 16-25 and 17-15.
The scores of multiple sets prove how close these teams are and how this game could’ve gone either way.
The Vikings came out a little sluggish, although Canyon’s errors and some timely kills kept it close with Canyon coming out on top.
“I think the first game we kind of slept-walked through it,” said Valencia head coach Josh Kornegay. “We didn’t quite match the energy Canyon had.”
The teams exchanged blows throughout the second set, making it unclear who could reach 25 points first. The Vikings eventually got on a 4-0 run, which would give them enough of a lead to pull away.
Vikings’ sophomore Jarek Pascua would register two late service aces, with his second tying the game at 1-1.
Canyon managed to build a lead up early in the third set but the Vikings just kept slowly chipping enough away to stay in it. These evenly matched teams would finally need more than just 25 points to decide a winner.
Valencia setter Kristianu Untalan would get a service to take a 24-23 lead but the Cowboys responded quickly, facing set point, registering back-to-back kills to take their own set point. The teams again exchanged one big kill after another until finally Untalan again made a play. The setter dumped the ball, to go up 30-29 for another set point.
Canyon outside hitter Tobias Andrews was stuffed by Valencia on his last swing of the set, ending the third set.
“He definitely shined tonight,” said Canyon head coach Jeff Cody. “He has the potential to be phenomenal.”
Andrews had an excellent outing, finishing with a game-high 36 kills and three blocks.
Valencia was now looking at a 2-1 lead, winning two straight sets. Cody told his team to focus on what happens next instead of dwelling on what’s already behind them. The Cowboys responded and came out swinging.
Valencia took a quick 3-0 lead in the fourth, looking like they had all the momentum they could handle, but Canyon stayed in the game. The Vikings’ lead was quickly chipped away as the Cowboys stole all the momentum and built a lead of their own.
Valencia couldn’t whip anything up in time, gifting the comfortable win to Canyon, which headed into the fifth set with a head of steam.
Both teams fought hard for the first point and, after a long rally, Canyon’s Brandon Boldruff got the kill. Valencia and Canyon displayed outstanding hitting again, exchanging kill after kill.
Andrews tied the game at 15 with what would be his last kill. Valencia sophomore Dane Ricks knocked down his 15th kill on the night to take match point. Ricks attacked on the next play and although Canyon got under it, they scrambled and couldn’t get the ball back over, ending the game.
“We have the potential to be great,” said Cody. “We got to stay in it mentally and not miss 22 serves.”
Valencia now adds to the win column again after a two-game skid, while Canyon drops its second game all year.
Both teams return to Foothill League action Tuesday when Valencia hosts Golden Valley while Canyon heads to Castaic.