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Boys volleyball: Indians win without a key piece

Despite missing its starting setter, Hart sweeps past Crescenta Valley

Posted: March 17, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: March 17, 2011 1:55 a.m.
 

There wasn’t anything special about what Hart boys volleyball did on Wednesday.

The team was good enough to play basic, fundamental volleyball and come out on top.

Despite trailing at one point in each game, the Indians topped outmatched Crescenta Valley 3-0 on Wednesday at Hart High.

They won the games 25-21, 25-18 and 26-24 with starting setter Chris Leclair sidelined due to a rolled ankle during a practice earlier in the week.

To account for the shortage, Hart’s response was to play it safe.

“We’re keeping it fairly simple,” said Hart head coach Mary Krisan. “We’re not running too many offensive plays, and that’s mostly because we have a sophomore starting setter and another one who hasn’t played much.”

The fill-in for the day, Sammy Badalof, compiled 22 assists and earned the praise of at least one teammate.

“I was a little anxious coming in, but Sammy did a great job,” said middle blocker Taylor Gregory, who finished with a team-high eight kills. “It was nice to see some bench players come through.”

For stretches in the match, the Indians (3-1) looked out of sync offensively, and Crescenta Valley seized its opportunities.

Clearly at a size disadvantage, the Falcons (4-6) found creative ways to get the ball around the towering Hart block with quick, alert plays at the net by its middle blockers Ian Paprocki and Parker Fernandez.

Crescenta Valley took a 12-8 lead in the first game, but as Hart settled down, the lead dwindled.

The Indians’ big hitters, J.J. Mosolf and Gregory, were too much for Crescenta Valley to handle toward the end of all three games.

Mosolf ended with seven kills and Gregory also added six blocks on the day.

“We had to slow down our offense a little,” Gregory said. “We just wanted to set it up, put balls down and do what we do.”

In the second game, the Falcons took an 18-17 lead after capitalizing on Hart mistakes.

At that point, the Indians took over, closing out with an emphatic 8-0 run to take the game and stretching that run to a 4-0 lead in the third game.

Once again, the offense slowed into a lull and the teams eventually found themselves knotted up at 24-24 before a Mosolf kill and a defensive mistake by Crescenta Valley finished things off.

“It’s closing games,” Krisan said. “They tend to get complacent when they’re up two games.”

With Leclair likely returning soon and Foothill League play opening in less than two weeks, Krisan said she’s confident the team can and will get better.

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