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Golden Valley girls volleyball: Victory’s wait is over

Grizzlies win first league match since ’08

Posted: October 14, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: October 14, 2011 1:55 a.m.

Golden Valley’s Hanna Acree (9), Katie Nicholson (3), Sam Jennings (7) and Pia Franco (14) celebrate as Golden Valley won its first Foothill League match since Oct. 21, 2008.

 

Something rings different about Golden Valley girls volleyball this season.

All but one starter returned to the team this year.

Many of those players are third-year varsity players.

That made Thursday’s 3-0 victory over Canyon at Golden Valley High School even sweeter, given the fact that it was the team’s first Foothill League win in three years.

“We deserved this because we’ve been working so hard,” said Katie Nicholson, one of the Grizzlies’ three-year varsity players. “It just feels great.”

The 25-14, 25-20 and 25-18 sweep was Golden Valley’s first league win since a defeat of Canyon on Oct. 21, 2008.

It was also a first Foothill victory for third-year Grizzlies head coach Jeff Cody.

“This whole season has been a lot of firsts,” Cody said. “For us, we went four (games) with Hart and West Ranch. Last year, the only team we took a game from was Canyon.”

It all started with scrappy defense.

Canyon (4-5, 0-5) couldn’t put together any rallies, partly because of poor serving but also because the Grizzlies (2-8, 1-4) didn’t allow much to drop.

Aided by nine service errors by the Cowboys, Golden Valley went ahead 16-13 in the opening game.

From there, a suddenly confident Golden Valley team finished on a 10-1 run to take a 1-0 lead.

“A lot of times, girls volleyball is about surviving the rally,” Cody said. “You play good defense and keep the ball alive, you’re going to have a good chance.”

Leading the defensive effort was Golden Valley junior Hanna Acree’s 13 digs.

Nicholson was the top scorer in the match, landing nine kills along with nine digs and four aces.

In the second game, Canyon’s serving and hitting errors continued, and the frustration began to show.

“We have a lack of team chemistry, and more than that a lack of a team,” said Canyon head coach Brandon Johnson. “We have six individuals playing the court, and I don’t care how talented you are. You can’t win when you have six individuals.”

Stevie Haub and Morgan Fay co-led the Cowboys with eight kills apiece, though the team committed a total of 15 service errors.

As the errors piled up for Canyon, Golden Valley remained fundamentally sound in its serving and passing, which eventually opened things up for the offense.

After Nicholson, the Grizzlies spread out the scoring out between Sam Jennings, Kylie Cordero and Ashley Lorton, who all had four kills.

The third game started with a quick 4-0 Golden Valley lead, and the hosts never gave up that lead.

Now halfway through league play, the upstart Grizzlies are aiming high.

“I’m looking forward to playing Hart,” Cody said of his team’s next Foothill matchup on Tuesday. “That’s all I can say.”

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