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Valencia v-ball grabs hold of first place

Posted: October 16, 2013 9:37 p.m.
Updated: October 16, 2013 9:37 p.m.

Valencia's Teresa Cernosek (88) scores against West Ranch on Wednesday at West Ranch High School.

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The Valencia Vikings girls volleyball team is starting to figure out how good it is.

And so is the rest of the Foothill League.

Matched up against the only other team undefeated in league play, Valencia made a strong statement with a 3-1 win over the West Ranch Wildcats on Wednesday at West Ranch High School.

In front of a crowd that packed the bleachers on both sides of the gym, Valencia controlled most of the match and won by scores of 25-23, 25-14, 21-25 and 25-16.

“We kind of took (the crowd) out of that and we took them out of their game,” said Valencia head coach Ray Sanchez, whose team now has the inside track to its 11th league crown in the last 12 years by improving to 13-3 overall and 5-0 in league.

West Ranch (7-4, 4-1) will get another crack at the Vikings on Nov. 5 in the Foothill finale at Valencia High.

But for the moment, Valencia’s young team has the upper hand.

“They served way better than we did, they passed way better than we did,” said West Ranch head coach Gerrit Maxwell of Valencia. “They were more consistent. We were erratic.”

Also facing off in the match were two players who have made their cases for Foothill Player of the Year in West Ranch senior Alexis Clewis and Valencia junior Lindsey Knudsen.

Knudsen ended with 21 kills and 31 digs while Clewis had 16 kills.

In Knudsen’s case, she had fellow outside hitter Makena Lautner to balance things out with 12 kills and 16 digs of her own.

Outside of Clewis, no West Ranch players tallied more than four kills.

“Watching film, we know their tendencies. We just prepared well for this match,” said Valencia libero Emily Bible, who added 27 digs.

The Vikings were the aggressors out of the gate in the first two games while the errors quickly started to pile up for the Wildcats.

West Ranch appeared to get back on track when it pulled ahead early in game three and never trailed, but the Wildcats couldn’t maintain the momentum in the following game.

Valencia now has a chance to become the first Foothill team to appear in the CIF rankings this season after it received votes for the first time in this week’s CIF-Southern Section Division IA poll.

“Our team chemistry is the best that I’ve ever seen,” Bible said.

West Ranch senior Haley Lind had 19 digs in the match and Valencia setter Hayley Alvarez amassed 37 assists.

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