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Ho, hum: another foothill league title

Posted: April 25, 2008 2:46 a.m.
Updated: June 26, 2008 5:02 a.m.
Saugus was merely delaying the inevitable.

For the last seven years, the Valencia boys volleyball team had won the Foothill League championship and Thursday was its first opportunity to claim an eighth.

Down 24-21 in the third game, the Vikings weren't about to let an undefeated league season slip away and a Foothill League championship wait another game.

So, Valencia turned on the jets and scored the last five points of the game to claim its eighth straight title and remain unbeaten in league defeating Saugus in three games Thursday night at Valencia High 25-12, 25-13, 26-24.

"We haven't lost a league game all year and you just want to keep that going," said Viking Eric Miyamoto.

Not only did they keep that going, they kept their streak of eight straight titles intact as well.

"It is one of our main goals every year. Winning the Foothill League is one of our goals coming into every single year," said Valencia head coach Mark Knudsen. "We want to win every year and we are very serious about that."

After cruising in the first two games, the Vikings ran into some trouble in the third when they started a new lineup.

"I wanted to play a few players in a few different positions and that moved some people into some unusual positions and we started off slow to say the least," Knudsen said. "But, you know, we made some late changes to salvage the sweep."

Saugus opened the third game going up 4-1 on a Ryan Mason kill.

A few points later and a Kyle Eaton kill put the Centurions up 12-6 and had the Saugus sideline rocking.

After both teams traded points, Saugus' Joey Dietrich blocked Jamey Ker for a 24-21 lead and caused some panic to set in on the Valencia side of the court.

"Maybe for the slightest second (I was nervous) when they had game point," Miyamoto said. "All game long I knew we would win, I had no doubt, except for maybe that last point."

Then, Saugus reverted back to old habits.

"We had it won," said Saugus coach Ed Spooner. "We've done that all year long, we just don't know how to put it away and until we learn to do that, it is going to be tough."

After falling down three, Valencia used Ker's serving and Miyamoto's blocks and kills to pull away and escape.

Ker slammed a kill to bring the Vikings within two, and one point later, a Miyamoto block tied the game at 24 and gave Valencia all the momentum.

Two consecutive errors from Saugus and Valencia was once again league champions.

"I just feel really proud to part of this program," Botten said. "It has been so special. It has been so great for so long I am just glad to experience it and be a part of it all."

Since 2001 the Vikings have won every league title, and have lost a combined one games in the last two seasons.

"I attribute all of the success to the athletes that came out and loved volleyball and just played the game for Valencia," said Knudsen. "We had some great teams with good chemistry that played a lot together, and some teams that just had great athletes and won like that."

After the game, Ker agreed with Botten's sentiments about playing for the Vikings.

"Its an honor," Ker said. "Its a great accomplishment and I feel proud to be part of Valencia volleyball and I am glad to be one the many players to contribute to the dynasty."


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