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Foothill League boys volleyball: Vikes survive Wildcats

West Ranch poses a stiff challenge, but Valencia stays unbeaten in league

Posted: March 28, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: March 28, 2012 1:55 a.m.

Valencia middle blocker Daniel Salovich puts away a kill as West Ranch’s Tanner Skabelund (24) and Christopher Lyon try to block on Tuesday at West Ranch High School. The Vikings fended off the Wildcats 3-1.

One fact became clear about Valencia boys volleyball on Tuesday.

It’s not going to be an easy path to another Foothill League title.

At least for now though, the Vikings found a way to survive, winning 3-1 against a determined and relentless West Ranch team at West Ranch High School.

“I hope they learned their lesson,” said Valencia head coach Kevin Kornegay of his players. “You can’t just show up. You’ve got to show up and play.”

All four games came down to the wire with final scores coming in at 27-25, 22-25, 25-23 and 25-21 in favor of Valencia (5-8 overall, 2-0 Foothill League).

At one point, the Wildcats (13-7, 1-1) had a chance to take a one-game lead after winning the second game and holding a 23-20 lead in the third.

When it needed to most, Valencia clamped down and scored five straight points to win the game, taking advantage of three West Ranch errors along the way.

The momentum was enough to carry Valencia through the fourth game, where it extended its state-record league winning streak to 104 matches.

“We kind of kept pushing our way forward,” said Valencia outside hitter Eric Ensing, who led all players with 24 kills. “We were playing to win instead of playing not to lose.”

Ensing was a constant threat from all over the court, both as a hitter and a server.

For the Wildcats, junior hitter Tanner Skabelund was the main offense weapon. He countered with 20 kills despite the fact that starting setter Anthony Hanna sat out due to injury.

West Ranch also had eight kills apiece from Ben Davis in the middle Adam Hersh and A.J. Smith on the outside.

“When we’re at full strength, these matches aren’t going to be close anymore,” said West Ranch head coach Nate Sparks. “We’re going to be in control.”

Together, the combination of hitters helped West Ranch rally back from a shaky start in the opening game, after the Vikings took a 9-2 lead.

West Ranch adjusted its block and started chipping away at the lead, eventually tying the score at 24-24.

The teams exchanged sideouts a few times after that until Austin Csiszar and Ensing landed back-to-back kills to put it away.

Csiszar finished with nine kills to match teammate Spencer Kershner.

Daniel Salovich was also a key factor defensively for the Vikings in the middle, totalling six blocks.

The Wildcats controlled the second game most of the way and held off a late charge.

“We had our chances there at the end, and we weren’t able to capitalize on them,” Sparks said.



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