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Foothill League boys volleyball: On the level

Grizzlies weather early errors to topple Saugus

Posted: March 30, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: March 30, 2011 1:55 a.m.

Golden Valley outside hitter Alec Schlossman (7) blocks a shot by Saugus’ Bobby Aholt (3) during their Foothill League opener on Tuesday at Golden Valley High School.

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Golden Valley boys volleyball has come a long way in a few weeks.

Since the beginning of the season, the team has devoted much of its energy into staying level-headed in adverse situations.

The experienced group took another step in that process, overcoming early errors to beat Saugus 3-0 in Tuesday’s Foothill League opener for both teams at Golden Valley High School.

The Grizzlies won the games 25-22, 25-19 and 25-17, but trailed for much of the first two games before settling in later in the match.

“That’s the big difference this year for us,” said Golden Valley head coach Jeff Cody. “Whereas last year, when we would (fall behind), we would get frustrated or whatever. Today, you could tell they stayed strong. They kept cool.”

A combination of service and hitting errors by both teams kept the score close all the way through the opening game, with neither team leading by more than three at any point.

The Grizzlies committed 14 service errors and Saugus had 12.

Ultimately, Golden Valley (10-7, 1-0) was the better team at the net, which is what cost Saugus down the stretch in all three games.

Unlike the senior-heavy Grizzlies, the Centurions (4-6, 0-1) are reloading in several positions and are still shuffling lineups to find the right combination.

Saugus’ starting setter on Tuesday, Peder Vandermark, was named to the position just a week ago.

He finished with 13 assists.

Once Golden Valley hitters got going, the Saugus defense struggled to counter.

“We have some pretty good weapons,” said Saugus co-head coach Barry Nua. “It’s just a matter of getting them the ball.”

Saugus got off to an even quicker start in the second game by neutralizing Golden Valley’s dominant block.

After falling behind 10-5, outside hitter Andrew Raulinaitis served his way to four straight Grizzly points, keying a 5-0 run to tie things up at 10-10.

The momentum carried over to fellow Golden Valley hitters Alec Schlossman and Ryan Kessler.

Schlossman had a match-high 12 kills and Kessler had nine kills to go along with three blocks.

“We’re really just trying to focus on our side of the net,” Schlossman said. “We didn’t know too much about Saugus coming in ... we wanted to make sure we were doing everything right.”

By the time the final game began, the Grizzlies had become more comfortable in their system, using scrappy defense and well-timed attacks to maintain a steady advantage.

Golden Valley closed the third game on another 5-0 run.

“It was definitely a grind-out win,” Cody said. “We can play better. We’re not going to win a lot playing like we did today.”

Setter Colton Korne tallied 27 assists for Golden Valley, while Saugus’ Matt Coleman had a team-high eight kills.

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