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Revenge is sweet for the Vikings

Posted: March 15, 2008 2:24 a.m.
Updated: May 16, 2008 5:03 a.m.
 
Just six days prior to Friday's volleyball match with Santa Barbara, Valencia fell to the Dons in the Best of the West tournament championship in San Diego.

The Dons got on a roll heading into the tournament and upset the Vikings, who at the time were ranked No. 1 in the nation. Santa Barbara went on to claim the prestigious Best of the West title in a sweep of two games.

Friday night at Valencia High, however, it was a complete reversal of fortune for both squads. The Vikings crushed Santa Barbara in three games (25-13, 25-15. 25-15) to exact revenge and prove that they deserve such a lofty ranking.

"That was a different team from Saturday," said Valencia head coach Mark Knudsen referring to the difference in his team's play on Friday. "When we got to the finals we struggled in our passing and our serving and tonight we did both well."

Valencia (9-1) struck early taking the Dons (9-1) right out of the match from the get-go.

Two Jamey Ker kills put Valencia up 8-5 in the first game, and a Derrick Trent block of Santa Barbara's Will Montgomery put the Vikings up 12-5 and set the tone for the match.

"We weren't too overconfident," said Santa Barbara head coach Nan Verkaik. "We knew what to expect but they just wanted it more."

Playing at home and against a rival who had beaten them two times in a row was more than enough cause to get up for the Vikings.

"We were just fired up," Ker said. "It's Santa Barbara. They are our rivals and every time we see them we have a chance to show how good we are."

This time showed the Vikings are rounding into late season form earlier than normal.

Jon Griffith served up an ace to extend the Viking lead to its largest of the first game, 22-9, and seal the Dons fate. A net serve from Montgomery ended the game 25-13.

In the second it was more of the same.

Trent opened with a kill and the Vikings cruised to another win thanks to superb offense and serving.

"By serving tough we took them out of their game," Knudsen said. "When our serving is on our defense is on and when our passing is on our offense is on."

With both facets of the game working, Valencia held strong throughout.

The Vikings Skyler Seymour and Jake Piva slammed two kills in a three point span to make it 15-7 Valencia in the second game and put the game out of reach.

A Jim Baughman kill ended the game 25-15 and sent the match to its third game with all the momentum on the Vikings side.

"When everything is going well it is going well but we just have to learn how to play through adversity," Verkaik said.

"They were in the right place every time. We couldn't do anything against their blocks."

In the third game Santa Barbara took its only lead of the match at 7-6, but a Baughman kill stopped the rally and a Piva kill off an overpass put the Vikings up 8-7 - they wouldn't trail again.

While Ker and Griffith provided the kills, Trent, Seymour and Baughman blocked the Dons and the Vikings rolled to a 25-15 game three win capping off a three-game sweep of Santa Barbara.

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