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On the Beat Volleyball: Vikings' swift return to power

Posted: April 27, 2014 10:50 p.m.
Updated: April 27, 2014 10:50 p.m.

Can you consider one nonwinning year a drought?

If you are Valencia boys volleyball, the answer is yes.

All signs point to the fact that Valencia is back on top of the Foothill League after coming off a 5-5 record and a fourth-place finish in league last year. That season ended Valencia’s run of 12 years of perfection in league.

With the Vikings now at 7-0 in league and two matches clear of second place, clinching another league crown is right around the corner.

How did this happen so quickly with mostly the same group of players as last year?

First of all, it is worth mentioning that Valencia hasn’t exactly breezed through opponents.

The Vikings needed five games to beat Saugus on March 25 and another five to edge West Ranch on April 16.

But just like Valencia did around this time last year, it is continuing to adjust and improve, as evidenced by its surprisingly dominant 3-0 win over Saugus on Tuesday.

In that match, the Vikings shifted their lineup to change the matchups with some of Saugus’ best players. It was a similar tactic Valencia employed late in the win against West Ranch.

It also helped that Valencia got senior middle blocker Nick Erickson back from injury on Tuesday. And on top of that, opposite hitter Dakota Abbott is emerging as a strong secondary weapon to complement primary hitter Kyle Ensing.

In addition, Logan Riley is looking like a more polished setter and Valencia’s defense is playing well as a whole.

Even so, West Ranch and Saugus — tied for second place at 5-2 in league — are providing heavy competition.

Those two teams face off on Tuesday in a matchup that will likely determine the league’s second-place finisher.

As these three teams come down the home stretch in league play, it will be interesting to keep an eye on the Foothill Player of the Year race.

Right now, that race seems to include three candidates — Valencia’s Ensing, West Ranch’s Andrew Dieterle and Saugus’ Max Nua.

Those three will go a long way in determining how far each of their teams go in the postseason.

And now, for our predicted final Foothill League standings:

1. Valencia

2. Saugus

3. West Ranch

4. Canyon

5. Hart

6. Golden Valley

The big match this week is definitely Tuesday’s battle between West Ranch and Saugus, the two teams tied for second place. Valencia can clinch an outright league title with a pair of wins this week.


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