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Foothill volleyball: Vikings near record

Valencia closing on league wins mark

Posted: April 29, 2010 11:03 p.m.
Updated: April 30, 2010 4:55 a.m.
While the Valencia boys volleyball team marches toward the state record for consecutive league victories, the focus never changes.

Even after earning their 90th consecutive Foothill League match with a 3-0 win over Golden Valley on Thursday by scores of 25-20, 25-17, 25-15, the Vikings' mindset remains firmly set on winning championships.

"It's a nice legacy. A lot of years, a lot of great players came through here and a lot of good volleyball was played," said Valencia head coach Mark Knudsen. "Every team feels a responsibility to uphold that record, but that's not our goal. We want to win league and then CIF."

Heading into the match, the Vikings were tied with Los Altos for the second-most consecutive wins at 89. Now, only Loyola - which currently competes in the Mission League - is in front of Valencia at 96 straight wins.

As for the 90th straight win, it started like so many others with a solid 25-20 performance in the first game and the Vikings (13-9, 8-0) appeared well on their way to passing Los Altos.

However, Golden Valley (10-13, 3-5) opened the second game with a big run and some big kills to eventually take a 16-13 lead.

A timeout from Valencia brought about a Grizzly sideout, giving Eric Ensing the serve for the Vikings.

"When I first started serving I just had to get it in," Ensing said. "Then as we started to get some kills and some points, I just got better and better."

Valencia got consecutive kills from Daniel Johnson and Steven Crane and a lead it wouldn't relinquish at 17-16. Ensing followed with two straight aces and wouldn't stop serving until it was 23-16 Valencia and the game was firmly in hand.

"Eric (Ensing) just served really well," said Golden Valley head coach Jeff Cody of the second game. "He came in in the clutch and served really well for them."

The third game started with another kill from Johnson and Valencia quickly dispatched the Grizzlies 25-15.

Johnson finished with a game-high seven kills, while Broc Oppler finished with six kills for Valencia.

Ryan Kessler led the Grizzlies with six kills.

But as the league play winds down, both teams are looking at different goals.

For Valencia, the goal is the same as always - win league and then CIF.

For Golden Valley, however, the final week is a big one as it tries to make the playoffs.

"It makes us feel confident that we can play well and now we just need to finish next week strong," Cody said. "Next week is big for us. It has a lot of playoff implications."


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