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Still standing

Valencia volleyball wins 79th straight league match

Posted: April 28, 2009 9:48 p.m.
Updated: April 29, 2009 4:55 a.m.
Daniel Johnson (17) of Valencia spikes the ball against Mike Romero of Saugus at Valencia of Tuesday. Daniel Johnson (17) of Valencia spikes the ball against Mike Romero of Saugus at Valencia of Tuesday.
Daniel Johnson (17) of Valencia spikes the ball against Mike Romero of Saugus at Valencia of Tuesday.
All that talk of the Valencia being vulnerable in the Foothill League this season has sure died down lately.

The Vikings had an excellent day at Valencia High serving and overcame some lazy spells with an efficient effort to blank Saugus 3-0 and improve to 7-0 in league play.

“I thought we got the job done,” said Valencia head coach Mark Knudsen. “I thought we got a little lethargic at times for no good reason. I consider Saugus one of our tougher opponents.”

One of Valencia’s poor stretches of play occurred at the beginning of the match, when Saugus (19-8, 3-4) shot out to a 6-2 lead.

But the Vikings (13-8, 7-0) served their way out of trouble, and the Centurions didn’t do themselves any favors by failing to handle Valencia’s efforts.

“They didn’t beat us on offense, they beat us on serves,” said Saugus head coach Jared Ambrose. “Their topspin servers were taking us out.”

Following a 25-13 win in the first game, the Vikings came out lazily once again, but once again they were aided by Saugus mistakes.

The Centurions began missing kills and had to scrap for points, but Valencia won the second game 25-22 behind some strong serving by Kurt Fults.

“We had some great runs,” Knudsen said. “Fults did a lot of good scoring in the first and second games. I was disappointed when we missed serves.”

Some missed serves contributed to Saugus hanging point for point with Valencia in the third game, but the Vikings found a way to earn another 25-22 win and claim their 79th consecutive league victory.

“I think it shows that we’re becoming more mature,” said Valencia libero Nick Ferry, who led the team with 25 digs. “Once we kept the ball in on our serves it helped a lot. It forced them to play defense and they made some errors.”

Jason Halliday’s serve was also effective, as he recorded five of the Vikings’ 11 total aces.

John Souisa led Valencia with eight kills, while Daniel Johnson had seven and Broc Oppler and Mitchel Morris had six apiece. Shane Nazarian finished with 29 assists.

“We didn’t make a lot of mistakes,” Knudsen said. “All in all, I can’t complain about a three-game victory against a tough team.”
Sean Picard paced Saugus with seven kills, and Colby Wilson had six. Matt Romero registered 17 digs.

“I don’t know what it is about this gym,” Ambrose said. “I was confident coming into the match. We couldn’t run our middles because our passing wasn’t there and Valencia’s blocks are exceptional.”


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