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CIF boys volleyball: Quick work

Vikings surrender only 26 points

Posted: May 9, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: May 9, 2012 1:55 a.m.

Valencia’s Daniel Salovich (34) and Kyle Fults combine to block a kill attempt by Pete Knight’s Victor Jacobo during the first round of the CIF-Southern Section Division II playoffs on Tuesday at Valencia High School.

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The Valencia High School gym was mostly empty, and fairly quiet.

The court was filled with mostly unfamiliar players.

This was the first round of the CIF-Southern Section Division II boys volleyball playoffs on Tuesday, but it had the atmosphere of something resembling an offseason scrimmage.

At least one thing was familiar about this match — Valencia won 3-0 over Pete Knight High of Palmdale by lopsided scores of 25-5, 25-11 and 25-10.

As the No. 4 seed in the bracket, the Vikings (18-13) weren’t in any danger of suffering a first-round upset.

“From now until next Tuesday, that’s four (matches) to a CIF title,” said Valencia head coach Kevin Kornegay. “It’s a question of, ‘Can we get hot right now?’”

Next up for the four-time CIF champion Vikings is a second-round match against the winner of the La Sierra-Calvary Chapel contest on Thursday.

After the match against Knight (6-10), the fourth-place team out of the Golden League, it’s hard to tell.

On its expanded playoff roster of 18 players, Valencia played all but one of them. Eight different Vikings recorded at least one kill, with Daniel Salovich’s seven leading the way.

Eric Ensing followed with six kills and five aces, but regular starters like him took on a much smaller role than usual as the Vikings quickly started pulling away.

“You start getting comfortable with that you’re doing and you can focus on your own goal,” said junior Jordan Glenn, a usual reserve player who picked up two kills on the day.

The Hawks were at a clear size disadvantage, and they had problems with passing accuracy and with the handling of Valencia’s serving.

“We had a good season,” said Knight head coach Sarah Allen. “We played well as a team and we did well in league, but I think they got kind of nervous because it was their first time in CIF.”

In fact, according to Allen, it was the program’s first appearance in the CIF postseason.

The inexperience showed in the form of unforced errors of all kinds.

Riley Higa was Knight’s strongest defensive player on the day and he co-led the team with two kills.

By the second game, Valencia was constantly subbing in bench players, some of whom were called up from the JV team for playoffs.

One Valencia player who seldom sees court time — senior Kyle Fults — tallied four blocks in a strong front-row performance.

“All we’re trying to do is accomplish one thing,” said junior Kyle Grant. “That’s win a CIF title, hang another banner.”

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