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Revenge is sweep for Valencia volleyball

Posted: May 25, 2008 2:27 a.m.
Updated: July 26, 2008 5:02 a.m.

Members of the Valencia boys volleyball squad (during an earlier playoff game) huddle around their coaches. The Vikings swept past Santa Barbara in three straight sets to capture their fourth CIF Division II Championship

CARSON - Give the Valencia boys volleyball team four chances to win a point and odds are they will find a way to win that point.

Give the Vikings four tries to win the CIF- Southern Section Toyota Division II Championship and there will be little doubt that they will close it out, and on Saturday night, that was the case.

After being stuck on 24 for three straight points in the third and deciding game, Viking Derrick Trent ripped a kill down the line for the 25th point, and a Valencia division title.

The Vikings swept the Dons of Santa Barbara Saturday night at Cal State Dominguez Hills college to win their fourth volleyball CIF title in nine years with a 3-0 sweep, 25-16, 32-30, 25-22.

"Amazing," said Valencia's Jim Baughman. "I have never had an experience like this. I can't put it into words."

Valencia came into the 2008 season with two goals, but its real goal was to win a division title after falling short the previous year to these same Dons in the semi-finals.

This year, there was no repeat as the Vikings took care of business all night long capping a stellar season with a fitting end.

"It's interesting because they are so talented it was almost an expectation to win this year," said Valencia head coach Mark Knudsen. "So even though on paper we looked best, we still had to go out and win and come out on top."

One of the best kept secrets, however, according to Knudsen was that the team was sick with the flu the last two days. Knudsen explained how people were throwing up as late as Saturday morning, but for the Vikings, little was going to stand in their way.

"It wasn't going to be an excuse," said Valencia's Jamey Ker. "I just told them, ‘we got to play our best and the adrenaline will take over and won't feel it.'"

Valencia certainly came out as if there was a clean bill of health for every player.

Skyler Seymour led the Vikings from the beginning with a kill and played solid all night finishing with a match high 11 kills and four blocks.

"He was like a man possessed, that is a good way to put it," Knudsen said of Seymour. "He was on fire. In the pre-match meeting he said he just wanted to get out there and play and he did."

Seymour opened the match with a kill, and followed with another kill down the middle to put the Vikings up 4-3.

"Nothing could phase us," Seymour said. "We were on a mission."

After Ker ripped a spike out of bounds, the Vikings followed with three straight points, capped by a Ker kill of the block and Valencia was up 15-11 and never looked back.

Another kill by Ker and Valencia closed out Game 1 with a 25-16 win.

Game 2 turned out to be the turning point of the match. A desperate effort from both teams resulted in a see-saw game that saw Valencia take the wind out of the Dons sails.

Santa Barbara came out fired up in the second frame and a huge kill from Craig McGowan put the Dons up 9-5.

Then, senior Derrick Trent and Ker combined on the play of the game, and perhaps the play of the match.

Both teams traded attacks until finally, it appeared the Dons would put the point away after a tip from Valencia sent the ball flying nearly 20 feet behind the Vikings' back line with only Trent to rescue to play.

Trent raced back and bumped the ball back to the court where Ker bumped the ball behind his head right to where Santa Barbara didn't have any defenders and the Vikings brought the game to within one point and sent the crowd into a frenzy.

"That was a big play," Ker said referring to the game turning point. "That might have been what turned it around. We won that long play and it was awesome, that was the turning point."

However, that point only made it 10-9 Santa Barbara. The Vikings then fought back again to tie it at 24 and give Valencia a boost of confidence.

"We lose that game and they are tied 1-1 and they have the momentum. Instead, we win and go up 2-0 and we have the momentum," Knudsen said.

Seymour again came up big with two straight blocks, and when a Ker serve slipped right through the hands of the Dons' Will Montgomery, the Vikings had a heart stopping 32-30 win, and all the momentum in the match.

The third game was more of a coronation, until the very end. Up 24-18, the Vikings slowed play and let the Dons back into the game.

However, a three point rally wasn't going to phase Valencia.

"We weren't going to give that up," said Viking Gio Botten. "We have worked all year for this and there is no way on earth we were going to give that lead up."

Trent made sure there would be no comeback . He hit a monster kill sending only one thought through the Vikings minds.

"Finally!" Baughman said. "We achieved our goal."


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