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Prep volleyball: Adjusting to the curve

Valencia boys drop their second straight match

Posted: March 8, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: March 8, 2012 1:55 a.m.

Westlake’s Joel Hayes, left, attacks as Valencia middle blocker Daniel Salovich (34) rises to make a block on Wednesday at Valencia High.

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The record might not show it, but Valencia boys volleyball is getting plenty of training in the early part of the season.

For the second straight match, Valencia went toe-to-toe with a highly-ranked CIF-Southern Section Division I opponent, but eventually fell short.

On Wednesday at Valencia High School, the opponent was sixth-ranked Westlake, which beat the Vikings 3-0 in a match that included several pressure-packed situations.

The Warriors won by scores of 25-22, 32-30 and 25-15 against Valencia (0-2), which lost 3-2 to Division I No. 7-ranked Thousand Oaks a week earlier.

“There’s some learning curve there,” said Valencia head coach Kevin Kornegay. “And those were two really good, top-notch teams.”

The pivotal point in Wednesday’s match came in the second game, which turned out to be a dog fight to the end.

It started as a back-and-forth game where the teams traded sideouts.

Westlake (2-0) broke a 14-14 tie by scoring four straight points that included two net violations and a service error by the Vikings.

After that, Westlake appeared to be in control, eventually building a 22-18 lead.

Valencia fired out of a timeout and answered back with a six-point run aided by Eric Ensing’s powerful serving. It gave the Vikings a 24-22 advantage with a chance to take the game.

Ensing recorded one of his four aces during the rally and two of his team-high 10 kills.

Spencer Kershner also added 10 kills for Valencia.

But the Vikings couldn’t put it away.

“It’s just one point, one swing away from winning the game,” said Vikings senior libero Griffin Ender, who finished with 14 digs.

After the Warriors held strong to tie the score at 24-24, the battle began.

Valencia had three additional chances to win after that, but a blocked shot or a missed attack or an illegal net touch ended the opportunity each time.

Westlake outside hitter Jacob Delson came through at the end, landing kills from the middle for each of his team’s last three points, including the clincher.

“We have a lot of experience in matches like that,” said Westlake head coach Doug Magorien, whose team made it to the Division I semifinals a year ago.

Delson led the match with 14 kills and also added 11 digs.

In the third game, Westlake took over early with a 9-1 scoring run that gave it a 19-11 lead which was built on a rash of missed attacks by Valencia players.

It proved to be an insurmountable lead.

Taylor Tattersall recorded five of his 11 kills in the game for Westlake.

The Warriors also took a big lead early in the opening game, but Valencia nearly closed the gap with a seven-point run that turned a 21-12 Westlake lead into 21-19.

At times, the two-setter look paid off for Valencia and resulted in crisp, efficient offensive play.

It wasn’t enough to overcome a team like Westlake.

“They’re a team that’s really good and they’re not going to make it easy. They’re going to make you work for it,” Kornegay said.

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