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Prep volleyball: Callups make a difference

Due to injuries, Valencia receives contributions from new faces

Posted: September 28, 2010 10:46 p.m.
Updated: September 29, 2010 4:55 a.m.

Valencia girls volleyball used a team effort to beat Oxnard High Tuesday night at Valencia High School.

Four different Valencia players had at least nine kills on the night to help win the match 3-1 with game scores of 25-14, 25-16, 21-25 and 25-15.

"I always like hitting and I think we did a good job tonight of getting some good passes," said senior middle blocker Alexa Schmidt, who led the team with 12 kills.

Many of those passes came from the hands of sophomore Delaney Knudsen, who was playing in her first varsity match after being called up from junior varsity this week. She was one of two JV players called up to fill in gaps left by the four injured players.

The other call-up, sophomore Stephanie Botten, also saw playing time.

"Both those kids did great," said Valencia head coach Ray Sanchez. "That's been a saving grace for us. We have some really talented sophomores and some really talented junior varsity players."

Knudsen had a team-high 18 digs and contributed nine kills in place of starting opposite Sydney Striff, who is out for the season with an ankle injury.

Senior Ashtyn LaVoise and sophomores Serena LeDuff and Sierra Sanchez were the other injured players.

"We can't let our injuries get us down," Schmidt said. "We always try to take a step forward for our team and have fun out there."

In the first game, the Vikings were able to take advantage of attacking errors by Oxnard (6-13) and jumped out to a 9-3 lead. After trading some points back and forth, Valencia then used strong serving from senior Emily Ellias to put the Yellowjackets down 21-9.

Senior Jolie Stroh's kill finished off the first game on the fifth game point.

Stroh tallied 10 kills on the night and Ellias had nine.

The second game was much of the same for the Vikings (4-4), who used their size advantage to stifle Oxnard hitters. The Yellowjackets did make a run with setter Alysha Rivera's two aces, which helped her team to an 8-7 lead at one point. Valencia settled down and ran away with the game 25-16.

Game three spelled trouble for Valencia. Again, it was Rivera who led the charge for Oxnard, as her team scored six straight points off her serves to jump ahead 18-10.

The Vikings' comeback attempt fell short when Schmidt's attack went into the net and gave Oxnard a 25-21 victory.

"They just stepped it up on defense," Sanchez said of Oxnard's play. "They were scrappy and they hung in there on every single play."

Valencia closed out the win with strong hitting in the final game. They used a 5-0 scoring run to take a 17-7 lead early and it was too much for the Yellowjackets to overcome.



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