LA CANADA — The St. Francis High volleyball team won its first match of the young season in Friday night’s home tilt with visiting Village Christian.
The Golden Knights graduated five seniors from last year’s squad, played without senior outside hitter Charles McCarthy in their season opener with Temple City and didn’t see a balanced attack on offense against Alemany.
It was in the team’s home opener that everything came together in a 25-8, 21-25, 25-17, 25-16 win over the Crusaders.
“As a Division 1 team and in the Mission League, we can’t afford to have one-dimensional games,” said Golden Knights Coach Mark Frazee on the team’s loss to Alemany in which McCarthy picked up 28 kills in his first match of the season.
St. Francis (1-2) received a more balanced attack in a more potent offense as Chris Thompson’s 16 kills and Markar Agakanian’s seven kills complemented McCarthy’s team-high 17. Freshman David Thompson set them up well with his 37 assists.
The Golden Knights were paced by service aces and Village Christian mistakes in the first game and cruised to the 25-8 win.
Coach Frazee knew better than to relax on an opponent that came into the match having won its season opener in a sweep over Pomona.
“I warned them that they’re a much better team than that, and they shouldn’t relax,” said Frazee, who coached the Golden Knights to a 12-6 record last year.
The Crusaders jumped out to a 6-0 lead in the second game and sustained the lead throughout, despite the Golden Knights going on a 12-3 run after trailing, 19-8, and would cut the Village Christian lead down to 22-20 late in the game, prompting a Jon Basilio timeout.
The timeout would prove effective, as the Crusaders closed the game out and tied the match at one apiece.
“We dug ourselves a hole and had to come back,” Frazee said. “Late in the game, we started clicking. I told the team, ‘Sure I wanted the win, but I was more concerned with building towards the other games.
“We won the battle and re-established ourselves.”
St. Francis re-established itself in a big way as the team did not trail in the third and fourth games en route to getting in the win column.