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Foothill League volleyball: Same ole story

Valencia extends league title streak to 12 straight

Posted: April 25, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: April 25, 2012 1:55 a.m.

Valencia’s Austin Csiszar, right, taps the ball over the net against Hart at Valencia on Tuesday.

 


At least one streak will continue for another year.

As far as the Foothill League is concerned in boys volleyball, it’s been all Valencia since 2001.

The Vikings clinched a 12th straight outright league title on Tuesday by beating Hart 3-1 at Valencia High School by scores of 19-25, 25-15, 25-16 and 25-19.

That brings the state-record league winning streak up to 110 matches with two left to play this season.

“We have to keep the end goal in mind,” said Valencia senior Daniel Salovich. “We’ve got to keep this record going and win CIF.”

Well, at least one goal is out of the way for Valencia (12-9 overall, 8-0 Foothill League), which will have to get past Saugus on Thursday and Canyon next Tuesday to finish another perfect league run.

Early in the match against Hart (13-11, 3-5), it didn’t look like it would be so easy.

Hart used its relentless attack in the middle to win the first game — Valencia’s second dropped game of the season in Foothill play.

Middle blockers Rhett Almond and Nolyn Preston combined for nine of Hart’s 10 kills in the game.

For the match, Almond led the Indians with 11 kills and Preston followed with eight.

“The second half of league has been great for us,” said Hart head coach Kevin Ker, who played for Valencia from 2003-06. “Coming off wins against Saugus and Canyon, we had some momentum.”

But Valencia recovered nicely, ramping up its serving and moving its block toward the middle.

“Their middles were killing us,” said Valencia head coach Kevin Kornegay. “One of our big adjustments was making sure we challenged those guys.”

Kornegay, who took over the program this year after former head coach Mark Knudsen stepped down, was Valencia’s head coach through the 2001 season when the team began its league-title streak.

“I’m glad so I’ll be bookended right there in 2012,” Kornegay said while looking up at the school’s league championship plaques on the wall of the gym.

A big part of this year’s run has been Vikings outside hitter Eric Ensing, who had a match-high 26 kills.

He keyed the turnaround for Valencia, landing eight of his kills in game two and adding a pair of aces.

Following Ensing was a steady dose of attacks from the outside and in the middle, including eight kills apiece from Salovich and Austin Csiszar.

Setter Jake Ferry recorded a season-high 42 assists for Valencia.

The Vikings found the holes in Hart’s defense with on-target serves and attacks.

Eventually, Hart was simply worn down.

Chris LeClair had 28 assists for the Indians and Sonny Mueller had 15 digs.

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