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Foothill volleyball: Valencia pushes back

One day after losing a tight match, Vikings win a close one

Posted: October 20, 2010 10:19 p.m.
Updated: October 21, 2010 4:55 a.m.

Valencia’s Emily Ellias hits the ball as Hart’s Brittani Elser challenges her at the net on Wednesday at Hart High.

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For the second consecutive day, Valencia girls volleyball found themselves in a the fifth and deciding game of Foothill League match.

This time, they came out victorious 3-2 Wednesday over Hart at Hart High School.

It was a different story from Tuesday, when the Vikings lost by the same score to West Ranch.

“It would have been bad in so many ways to not come out on top tonight,” said Valencia head coach Ray Sanchez, whose team won by scores of 25-15, 25-19, 20-25, 23-25, 15-11. “I was really proud of how well the girls kept their composure.”

Early in the match, the Vikings (9-7 5-1) took advantage of a multitude of Indians mistakes to the tune of an 8-1 run and a 10-6 lead in the first game.

Hart (8-14 2-4) couldn’t stop the cross-court attacks from Valencia outside hitter Serena LeDuff, who had a match-high 20 kills with six coming in the first game alone.

The second game looked very similar as mishandled serve-receiving and poor setting led to big scoring runs by Valencia, which never lost the lead.

After that, the momentum shifted to the home team.

The Indians began to create better attacking opportunities off the block in the third game and held a 4-1 lead after two straight kills by middle blocker Anissa Robinson.

The senior finished with a team-leading 11 kills and 10 blocks in the match.

“It was the result of reminding them just to play volleyball,” said Hart head coach Mary Krisan of the improved play. “They tend to tense up and get out of their game. There weren’t as many unforced errors.”

In the fourth game, the lead shifted back and forth, but Hart again kept its poise and took advantage of several missed attacks by Valencia.

“We definitely held our composure in the first two games,” said Vikings middle Emily Ellias. “We had our slip-ups, but we showed what we were made of in the fifth game.”

The final game was again back-and-forth, but it was the relentless attacks of LeDuff, Ellias and sophomore Sierra Sanchez that sealed the deal for the Vikings. Ellias finished with 18 kills while sophomore Sierra Sanchez had 10 kills.

Valencia setter Carly Carapella had 55 assists in the match, including a handful that came after she rolled her ankle in the fifth game. Play was stopped for a few minutes, but Carapella ultimately decided to remain in the game.

“I really, really loved what my seniors did in explaining how important these matches are,” Sanchez said.

Hart’s Anne Baker, Brittani Elser and Amy King tallied nine kills each.

Valencia hits the road tomorrow for the Nike Tournament in Phoenix and Hart plays at Golden Valley at 5 p.m. on Tuesday.

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