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Title firmly on Vikings’ mind

Senior Shelby LeDuff comes up big to lead Valencia over Saugus

Posted: October 7, 2008 9:39 p.m.
Updated: December 9, 2008 5:00 a.m.

The Lady Vikings volleyball team celebrates a point scored against Saugus Tuesday evening at home. Valencia beat Saugus by a score of 3-1.

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In a thrilling four-set volleyball battle, Valencia defeated Saugus, 25-11, 17-25, 25-14, 25-20, on Tuesday at Valencia.

The defending Foothill League champions capitalized on Saugus miscues and defensive lapses to overcome the Centurions in its second match of league action.

"We knew this was going to be a hard match," said outside hitter Shelby LeDuff. "We wanted to focus on the little things and stay steady."

LeDuff was a significant factor in the Vikings win having finished the contest with 20 kills, three aces and two blocks.

In her senior season, LeDuff stays motivated with one thing in mind.

"We want to win league and go undefeated," she added.

Valencia trailed 3-0 early in the first set but came back to take the lead winning 12 straight games.

Saugus rallied back in the second set as Valencia failed to convert offensively.

The Vikings stayed close, but the Centurions had an answer for everything Valencia was giving them. A long serve by LeDuff ended the second set and the match was tied at 1.

"Our passing really picked up and we were able to move and open up the outside," said Saugus head coach Zach Ambrose.

But that would be the only set the Vikings would let slip away.

Valencia once again trailed early on in the third set but charged back tying the set at eight and eventually taking the lead.

The Vikings did not look back, closing out the set pulling ahead 2 sets to 1.

What looked to be redemption on behalf of the Centurions, the team took a commanding lead in the fourth set.

Down 16-11, the Vikings came out of a time out on fire and proceeded to capture five straight points to knot the score at 16.

After a teeter-totter of lead changes and ties, Valencia found gaps in Saugus defense with well placed hits and blocks.

A kill by Kayla Hritz sealed the win for the Vikings who improve their record 5-6 overall and 2-0 in league.

"We knew this was a good team," said Valencia head coach Ray Sanchez. "We came prepared."

For Sanchez, his goals for the team this season go beyond clinching another league title, he wants the team to improve its playoff results in hopes of a CIF championship.

Sanchez said it can happen and it's all in the groundwork.

"Games like this are good preparation," he said. "It's a good thing to have a competitive league."



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