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Prep volleyball: Passing marks

Prep volleyball: Valencia survives first test of season against Dos Pueblos

Posted: September 7, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: September 7, 2012 2:00 a.m.

Valencia outside hitter Lindsey Knudsen (71) gets the ball past Dos Pueblos' Maddy Leiphardt on Thursday at Valencia High.

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The Valencia girls volleyball team didn’t waste any time scheduling its first big test of the season, hosting Division IAA power Dos Pueblos in its season opener at Valencia High School on Thursday night.

Turned out, the Vikings were up for the test.

Behind a strong night from its leaders, Sierra Sanchez and Delaney Knudsen, the Vikings pulled away in the fourth game to win the match 25-20, 26-24, 25-27, 25-20.

“The idea is always to schedule the toughest preseason you can get your hands on,” said Valencia head coach Ray Sanchez. “I’d much rather play a really good team and lose.”

The Vikings opened up a two-game lead after two back-and-forth affairs.

It looked like the Vikings would cruise to a season-opening sweep midway through the third game, as Valencia jumped out to a 4-0 lead.

The Chargers, though, battled back, taking a 23-19 lead, and holding on for a 27-25 victory on a block by McKenna Goss.

“We got a little bit too calm after we won the first two games,” Knudsen said. “Maybe we needed that wake-up call.”

Needed or not, the Vikings played like a team determined in the fourth game.

Valenica quickly opened up a 10-2 lead and forced Dos Pueblos into numerous untimely errors.

It wasn’t all perfect for the Vikings, though.

After taking a 22-11 lead, the Chargers began to claw their way back into it.

Dos Pueblos went on a 9-2 run to set the score at 24-20.

“We have a tendency of building a lead and getting ahead and losing interest,”  Sanchez said.

It was too little, too late for the Chargers, though, as sophomore Lindsey Knudsen put home the match’s final point for the 25-20 win.

All in all, the Vikings were happy to improve to 1-0 on the season, but are well aware that there is still plenty to work on.

“It was a pretty balanced attack,” Sanchez said. “Delaney played well; Sierra played well — it was a well-rounded night for us. Everyone played well.

“Definitely there were some jitters there, some nerves.”

Jitters or not, though, the Vikings faced their first test of the season, and came away unscathed.

“It really helps us start off right from the beginning to get in and get competitive,” Knudsen said. “And get a feel for what we have to work on.”

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