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Prep volleyball: Slip and a slide

Valencia goes from match point early to losing

Posted: March 1, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: March 1, 2012 1:55 a.m.

Valencia High’s Eric Ensing (55) spikes the ball as Thousand Oaks’ David Meuschke (16) defends on Wednesday at Valencia High School. The Vikings lost the match in five games after leading 3-0.

It was almost the perfect start to the 2012 season for Valencia boys volleyball.

But what appeared to be an easy win over CIF-Southern Section Division I seventh-ranked Thousand Oaks turned into a 3-2 loss on Wednesday at Valencia High School.

After winning the first two games 25-20, 25-23 Vikings couldn’t close out the third game, nor could they recapture momentum.

Thousand Oaks won the next three games 26-24, 25-19 and 15-12 to beat Valencia, ranked fourth in the CIF-SS Division II preseason poll.

“We had them on the ropes in that third game,” said Valencia head coach Kevin Kornegay. “I guess the lesson is when you have your foot on their throat, you’ve got to finish them off.”

In the pivotal game three, Valencia (0-1) took a 24-22 lead with two match-point opportunities.

The lead was built largely thanks to returning senior outside hitter Eric Ensing, who landed 19 of his match-high 23 kills in the first three games.

But a missed serve, two missed hits and a kill by middle blocker David Meuschke helped the Lancers rattle off four straight points to take the game.

After that, it was tough sledding for Valencia.

“We kind of hung back and didn’t go strong into the third and fourth games and we just couldn’t get the momentum back,” Ensing said.

The 6-foot, 7-inch senior was the only Viking players to tally more than five kills and he presented problems for Thousand Oaks (1-0) defensively with his powerful attacks.

Eventually though, the Lancers adjusted their block and limited Ensing just enough.

“We tried to key on him and know where he was on the court at all times,” said Thousand Oaks head coach Seth Burnham of Ensing.

For the Lancers, Jason Avina led the way with 19 kills, but Valencia’s strong play at the net kept Thousand Oaks hitters under control.

Seniors Austin Csiszar and Daniel Salovich played well in the middle for Valencia, adding five kills apiece. Csiszar finished with five blocks.

As a team, the Vikings served well early on, but mistakes of all kinds started piling up in the fourth and fifth games.

Thousand Oaks capitalized on serving and hitting errors as well as rotation and net violations by Valencia.

“It’s a game of momentum, volleyball is. It’s a game of mistakes,” Kornegay said. “They did a good job taking advantage of a lot of ours.”

The Lancers built a 20-12 lead in the fourth game and held off a late Valencia rally.

In the fifth game, Thousand Oaks once again built a quick lead, 10-4, behind strong play from its middle blockers.

The Vikings answered back with a 7-2 run to get within one at 12-11, but a few too many hits sailed too far.

Valencia senior Griffin Ender ended up with 10 digs and setter Jake Ferry finished with 33 assists.

For the experienced Valencia team, a tough preleague schedule continues on Wednesday at home against Division I No. 6-ranked Westlake High.


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