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Vikes walk the wire

Defending national champions need five games to defeat Hart

Posted: April 1, 2009 1:14 a.m.
Updated: April 1, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Valencia volleyball player Daniel Johnson (17) hits the volleyball over the net Tuesday at Valencia High in the Vikings' 3-2 win over Hart.

Valencia continued its dominance of the Foothill League in a way that was anything but dominant.

The Vikings outlasted Hart 3-2 Tuesday at Valencia High School to extend their incredible Foothill League winning streak to 73 matches.

But the Indians (5-6, 0-1) provided a stiff challenge that led to some anxious moments for the Valencia faithful.

“I think we still need to mature a bit,” said Valencia head coach Mark Knudsen. “We had two sophomores out there for most of the game and only one senior. I think we’re getting better every week, but the errors have to do with the inexperience.”

The errors cost Valencia (4-6, 1-0) in the second and fourth games, which went to Hart by scores of 25-21 and 25-23, respectively.

The Indians limited their mistakes and watched as Valencia made plenty of its own in everything from communication to service errors, including one that ended the fourth game.

“Their missed serves and hits put points on the board,” said Hart head coach Mary Krisan.

Valencia won the first game 25-20 and the third game 25-21, and the Vikings put everything together in the fifth set, staving off a couple of brief runs by Hart and getting a thunderous kill by senior right side hitter John Souisa to win the game 15-10 and claim the match.

“We did a good job of keeping things under control,” Knudsen said. “We were focused on what we needed to do.”

When the Vikings were at their best, they were staying collected and dominating at the net.

Valencia also got a balanced effort from everyone on the court. Souisa led the team with 10 kills, while Daniel Johnson had nine kills and Jason Halliday and Broc Oppler each had eight.

Halliday was also Valencia’s best server, recording four aces and giving Hart fits with his high-velocity delivery.

Nick Ferry finished with 19 digs, and Shane Nazarian had 21 assists.

“We always kept our heads up high,” Souisa said. “With the winning streak and all the teams before, we didn’t want to be the first to lose.”

Hart had a lot of success blocking throughout the match, both in the setup and execution at the net.

J.J. Mosolf led the Indians’ spirited effort with 14 assists, nine kills and four blocks. Andrew Uberstine had six kills and five blocks, and Valencia transfer Taylor Gregory had four blocks and a good day serving.

“Now that I’ve seen (Valencia) in person, I’m more confident,” Krisan said. “We have to remind the guys to treat every game like a championship. This motivates us for the next game.”


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