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Valencia volleyball serves notice to Canyon

Vikings stay undefeated in Foothill League with strong service game that scrappy Cowboys struggle

Posted: April 15, 2009 1:34 a.m.
Updated: April 15, 2009 4:55 a.m.
 
Heading into its match against Canyon Tuesday, the Valencia boys volleyball team wanted to improve its serving.

The Vikings’ success in that department – along with Canyon’s own service problems – helped them down the Cowboys 3-0 at Canyon High School.

“We talked about serving, keeping it in play,” said Valencia head coach Mark Knudsen. “I thought we did a better job of that today.”

Jason Halliday and Broc Oppler each recorded four aces to lead Valencia (7-6, 3-0), which scored 14 of the first 20 points to take a commanding lead in the first game.

The Vikings won that game 25-10, and took the second game 25-20 before closing the match with a 25-23 victory in the third game.

With Valencia down 20-18 in the third game, the Vikings took back the serve and reeled off three straight points under the serve of Oppler to craft the edge they needed.

“I thought we did a good job of serving,” Oppler said. “It helped us set up (John) Souisa for the things he can do.”
Souisa led a balanced Valencia effort with eight kills, while Oppler, Halliday and Daniel Johnson each had seven.

Nick Ferry had 16 digs and Steven Crane had 32 assists, which highlighted Valencia’s superior passing and communication.

Canyon (8-13, 0-3), meanwhile, struggled to dig out Valencia’s serves and set up kill attempts. The Cowboys also had 13 missed serves in the match.

“We’re a young team,” said Canyon head coach Brian Ingino. “Unforced errors were the problem for us today, and Valencia’s a very talented team.”

Valencia’s talent won out in the second game, even though Canyon played well at the net and kept pressure on the Vikings.

The Cowboys cut the lead to 18-15, but Valencia’s strong serving helped close out the second game.

Canyon’s net play was particularly strong in the third game, with senior middle Mike Edwards nailing kills and keeping his team’s energy up. The Cowboys’ scrappy style of play helped them win points that seemed lost throughout the night.

“That was to their advantage,” Knudsen said. “They hustled all over the court.”

Oppler’s serving, however, helped Valencia re-take the lead, and a kill by Johnson punctuated Valencia’s 75th consecutive win in Foothill League play.

Steven Blachowiak led Canyon with eight kills, while Edwards finished with seven and Matt Veiga had six. Alex Reeves recorded 25 assists.

jgulino@the-signal.com

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