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Vikings win another title

Posted: May 7, 2009 10:49 p.m.
Updated: May 8, 2009 4:55 a.m.
Valencia boys volleyball closed off its eighth straight perfect Foothill League season by dropping West Ranch 3-0 (25-14, 25-16, 25-19) Tuesday.

The win was Valencia’s 82nd consecutive Foothill League win and capped the Vikings’ ninth consecutive championship.

“It is a relief that we got through another season without a loss,” said Valencia head coach Mark Knudsen. “We were tested early in the season, and we got pushed to a fifth set a couple of times so the streak definitely got challenged.”

The Vikings (13-6, 10-0) were led by Broc Oppler’s nine kills. Josh Duarte added eight, and John Souisa and Kurt Fultz both had seven. Oppler also added five aces, while Duarte paced Valencia with four blocks.

Nick Ferry was the Valencia team leader with 19 digs.

Jeff Zepp was the high man for West Ranch (6-14, 3-7) with 10 kills and
three aces.

“I feel like we were able to get the guys to bring their game to a higher level,” said West Ranch head coach Nate Sparks. “We did the best we could, and I think as the year went on we got more aggressive.”

The Wildcats will lose eight seniors from the 2009 team, including a lot of their size that made them look like a potential sleeper when the Foothill League season began.

For Valencia, Foothill League play served as redemption after a pre-league season that saw the Vikings uncharacteristically struggle.

“We managed to start playing better,” Knudsen said. “I think we really improved our blocking, and showed just general steady improvement. When we struggled it wasn’t like there was one glaring problem with our team, so we were able to work on the little things to win another title.”

In other Foothill League action, Senior Night ended on an off-note for Golden Valley as Canyon clinched second place in league with a 3-0 (25-17, 26-24, 25-20) road win.

Matt Veiga paced the Cowboys (12-13, 6-4) with 14 kills and three boxes, while Mike Edwards had eight and Sam Hand chipped in six.

Cody Hounanian led the Grizzlies (7-13, 0-10) with 20 assists, while Ryan Kessler was the tops in the kills column with 12.

“We had a pretty inexperienced team coming into this season,” said Canyon head coach Brian Ingino. “We got off to a rough start and dropped our first three games, but then we were able to find some offense, and I think the guys got fired up.”

For Golden Valley, the loss closes a rough league season, but head coach Alex Dikas sees promise for the future.

“We were at a disadvantage because we had less guys than other teams,” Dikas said. “Still, we had a really good JV year so we know we will start improving soon.”

Canyon now looks forward to finding out whether or not it will get a home match in the first round of the playoffs.


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