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CIF volleyball: Just like old times

Valencia defeats same team it faced in its first quarterfinal win in 2001

Posted: May 13, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: May 13, 2012 1:55 a.m.

The Valencia High volleyball team comes off the bench as the Vikings score a point in the second game against Capistrano Valley in a CIF-Southern Section Division II quarterfinal match at Valencia High on Saturday. The Vikings won 3-1 to advance to Tuesday’s semis.

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It’s anyone’s guess how Valencia boys volleyball kept running into trouble in the CIF-Southern Section Division II quarterfinals the past three seasons.

What is certain is how the team finally got beyond the barricade that has been the third round of the CIF-Southern Section Division II round.

It was a complete effort from all aspects of the game that pushed Valencia past Capistrano Valley High of Mission Viejo 3-1 on Saturday night at Valencia High School.

Eric Ensing landed a school-record 34 kills to help the Vikings win 25-22, 25-21, 23-25 and 25-17 and advance to the semifinals for the first time since 2008, when the team won the CIF-SS Division II title.

In 2001, Valencia beat the same Capistrano Valley team to advance to its first semifinal in school history.

That also happened to be a Kevin Kornegay-coached squad.

“Like that team, we’re playing our best volleyball right now, and that’s where we want to be,” said Valencia head coach Kevin Kornegay, who took over the team this year for the first time since stepping down after the 2001 season.

And it wasn’t an easy draw for the Vikings (20-13), as the Cougars threatened from a variety of angles and brought plenty of height in the front row.

In addition to Ensing’s stellar effort, Valencia saw season-high performances from fellow outside hitter Mark Moss (10 kills) and setter Jake Ferry (53 assists).

“At this point, when you get to the quarters, you’re not dodging anybody,” Kornegay said.

All four games were neck-and-neck most of the way through, other than the final game where the Vikings ran away toward the end.

Through the first three games, neither team led by more than five points.

The Cougars (29-6) tried to put 6-foot-8 middle blocker Chris Bench in front of Ensing, among others, but there was no stopping the Valencia senior, who hit the ball from all over the court, front row and back row.

“I just try to see things on our side of the court,” Ensing said. “I just try to attack hard every time.”

Moss and Daniel Salovich provided needed balance for the Vikings, with Salovich coming up with nine kills.

Still, Capistrano kept it close all the way through the first three games.

Phillip Friedman led the Cougars with 10 kills, while three of his teammates had at least eight.

After dropping game three, Valencia came roaring back in the fourth, using a 7-1 run to open up a 20-13 advantage.

That later set the stage for Moss’s match-ending kill through a Capistrano block.

Valencia will travel to face the bracket’s No. 1 seed Oak Park on the road in the next round, which will take place on Tuesday.

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