Valencia Vikings boys’ volleyball suffered its first loss of the season on Wednesday, in a straight-set defeat to the visiting San Marcos Royals.
San Marcos won the match with scores of 25-19, 25-16, 25-8.
Junior Jack Wilson set the tone early for the match, slamming down seven of his game-high 14 aces to lead San Marcos (1-0). Wilson surged in the third set to close out the game with four consecutive aces.
Valencia (1-1) started off well but eventually the team’s serve receive struggled. Vikings coach Josh Kornegay knew it would be a tough contest for his team, but the squad is playing as tough of a preseason as possible in hopes of building up the team to contend for the program’s first league title in eight years.
“Right now, it’s just preseason week,” Kornegay said. “So, it’s just about getting better playing tough competition, fighting and working. Then next week league hits so obviously a league championship is always first and foremost our goal.”
The Vikings serve receive struggled mostly in the second set. The team had bursts of energy with big swings from Jarek Pascua and Dane Ricks, but just couldn’t jump back into the second frame.
Ricks and Pascua led Valencia with five-kill nights, with setter Inapu Untalan leading the Viking offense.
“I trust them with every ball I give them,” Untalan said. “There’s no one on my team that I doubt and won’t do what I expect them to do. So, we’re a team and we’re as good as our worst player and so everyone’s got to play to their best. So, if one person starts doing bad, we pick them up and then start playing as a team again.”
Valencia was more engaged in the third set as the team dove for balls and swung hard at every ball. However, the Royals’ passers covered the floor well and Wilson’s four straight aces pushed his team well in front.
San Marcos middle blocker Kyle Foley took over the match late, as he registered five of his eight kills in the last set, including the slam for match point.
It was the Royals’ third straight sweep over Valencia, including playoffs last season.
“San Marcos is always a good team,” Kornegay said. “That’s why we play them, to hopefully expose our weaknesses. I think what it comes down to it is they touched the ball better than us and that showed. Serve receive was a struggle, a couple of down ball and free ball issues. That’s what we’re working on and why we want to play them, to get exposed.”
Valencia has a long season ahead with plenty of tournaments and a competitive league in its path. Untalan knows his team may not be the tallest but they still find ways to win matches.
“We have good energy at times and then we’re also on the shorter side of other teams, but we still managed to put the ball down and get kills,” Untalan said. “So, we may not be the biggest team but we’re quick and we work around the big people.”
Untalan is one of seven seniors on Valencia’s roster. The majority have grown through Kornegay’s program all four years and the head coach believes this could be the group to break out of several dry spells.
“This is really a big year, especially for the senior class that started as freshmen with me,” Kornegay said. “It’s a big year and it’s a group of guys I think can really do something special for Valencia.”
San Marcos will get the rest of the week off before heading out to Oak Park on Tuesday. Valencia will continue its busy week with its third straight game in as many days. The Vikings were set to have their first road game of the season on Thursday as the team heads to Dos Pueblos for a 6:30 p.m. non-league match.
“I just want to leave my mark on this high school and put something up on these walls, so I’ll leave knowing I did something for this school,” Untalan said. “That’s my goal.”