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Foothill League boys volleyball: Will it be a race after all?

Valencia continues to mow through Foothill competition

Posted: April 11, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: April 11, 2012 1:55 a.m.

Valencia High middle blocker Austin Csiszar (49) tries to put away a kill as Saugus’ Joshua Folsom tries to block on Tuesday at Saugus High School. The Vikings won 3-0.

 

In the final game of its toughest Foothill League stretch of the season, Valencia boys volleyball was at its best.

Facing a third straight challenging opponent away from its home gym, Valencia was sharp in all aspects during a 3-0 dispatching of Saugus on Tuesday at Saugus High School.

The games went 25-22, 25-12, 25-20 in favor of the Vikings (7-8 overall, 4-0 Foothill League).

“I feel like this is the best we’ve played,” said Valencia libero Griffin Ender. “We never played down to our competition. We were just calm the whole game.”

Saugus (17-7, 2-2) came into league play billed as the biggest challenger to the 11-time defending league champion Vikings, but injuries have made for a difficult start to Foothill play.

Starting setter Grant Spooner suffered a likely season-ending broken leg last week, which gave sophomore Zech Lee his first varsity start on Tuesday for the Centurions.

Lee finished with 10 assists.

Saugus outside hitter Matt Coleman has also spent the season sidelined with a leg injury, but he made his return to the lineup against Valencia, notching four aces.

Either way, it was a match that Valencia quickly seized control of. The Vikings played well enough to stifle an experienced Saugus team.

Right away, the first game moved in favor of the Vikings, whose strong serving and passing gave them a start-to-finish lead.

“We served really well and kept them out of system a little bit,” said Valencia head coach Kevin Kornegay. “They didn’t have a lot of options. They had to go outside.”

Once again, outside hitter Eric Ensing was the kills leader of the match, landing nine to edge Max Nua’s eight for Saugus.

Valencia was even more dominant in the second game, running away to a 21-11 lead off a 10-3 run, thanks partly to a rash of Saugus hitting errors.

The Centurions were also hampered by 12 errant serves in the match.

“You’re never going to win a match or a (game) on one swing,” said Saugus head coach Barry Nua. “You’ve just got to keep working.”

Ensing’s two kills and two aces anchored a key 7-0 scoring stretch by Valencia in the third game to come from behind for a 12-8 lead.

Later in the game, with the Vikings leading by 11 points, Saugus rattled off seven straight to climb to within 23-19.

Coleman collected three of his aces during the stretch, but it wasn’t enough to close the gap.

Valencia setter Jake Ferry tallied 15 assists on the day and teammate Austin Csiszar finished with six kills.

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