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Taking the first step

Posted: May 9, 2008 2:08 a.m.
Updated: July 10, 2008 5:02 a.m.

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For a volleyball team whose goal is to win the CIF championship, falling behind 3-0 in the first game of their first round match isn't the best way to start the journey.

However, having your co-captain step to the serving line and deliver 12 straight crushing serves is an easy way to fix most mistakes.

The Valencia Viking boys volleyball team fell behind quick, but Jamey Ker rattled off 11 straight points mixing in aces with solid serves to help the Vikings (31-2) recover quickly and power Valencia to a first round victory.

Now, the Vikings are one step closer to their season long goal of a CIF championship with a three game sweep of Irvine (12-7) Thursday night at Valencia high, 25-12, 25-17, 25-21.

"That is what we brought to this game," said Valencia head coach Mark Knudsen of Ker's serving. "Everbody came out and played hard and was focused on the task at hand."

Game one started with an ace from Irvine's Bobby Hosseiny, a block of Jim Baughman by the Vaqueros' Chris Lindgren and a sideout from Derrick Trent.

Then, Ker stepped to the back line and delivered for the Vikings.

"We started off kind of slow and I wanted to get us back into the match and on a roll," Ker said. "I just went back there and said, ‘lets score some points.'"

After Ker's third ace it was 8-3 Vikings, and after a huge kill from Trent, it was 11-3 Vikings.

Ker's next serve went into the net, but by that time all the momentum was on the Valencia sideline, and Ker had hurt his shoulder in the process.

"I don't think he has served that many in a row all year," Knudsen said laughing. "That might be why his shoulder hurt."

Ker mentioned to Knudsen that his shoulder was hurting, and with the match rolling in the Viking's favor, Knudsen pulled his co-captain and decided to rest him, not putting him back in again.

"I just mentioned it hurt and I didn't think I was coming out," Ker said. "I was fine, I just mentioned it to him."

However, Ker stayed out and the Vikings didn't miss a beat.

A late kill from Baughman put Valencia up 24-11, and a long serve from Irvine's Mark Metrakos gave the Vikings a 25-11 game one win.

Game two was more of the same with the Vikings using three kills and one block from Jon Griffith to hand Valencia a 2-0 lead with a 25-17 win.

"Our goal all year is to win league and CIF," Griffith said. "We have done the first and that is a relief, and now we got to get to the next one."

With a new lineup starting the third game, the Vikings started slow, but finished strong with a 25-21 win capping the three game first round sweep.

Viking John Souisa led the Vikings with six kills, including four in the third game.

Trent, Griffith and Skyler Seymour all chipped in with five kills.

Now, its on to the second round where the Vikings will face the winner of the Villa Park, Saint Josephs winner on Tuesday night.

"We have had the same goal all year," Ker said, reiterating Griffith. "We want to win the CIF championship. We just have to focus for the next two weeks. We are going to come back and practice hard and focus. We just have to focus really hard these next two weeks."

Even Knudsen agrees.

After dominating the Foothill League and losing only twice all year, the Vikings know the playoffs are a different animal.

"The regular season is what it is," Knudsen said. "But, our goal is to win CIF so every match is do or die now. They have to be fired up and ready to enjoy the next two weeks.

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