It ended just as it began--with a serve.
Rob Hansen’s service winner Tuesday finished off Roosevelt High, as host Chatsworth took a 15-7, 15-7, 15-9 victory in the City 4-A volleyball semifinals.
Hansen’s final offering made it official, but six aces and four service winners from his teammates were just as significant as the defending City champs advanced to the finals.
Chatsworth (17-0) meets University, a winner in five games over Palisades, for the championship Friday at Pepperdine University at 8 p.m.
“Serving has always been our strong point,” Chatsworth Coach Steve Berk said. “And today, a couple of guys who haven’t served that well all year served excellently for us.”
Hansen and Tom Harman were singled out by Berk for their improved serving, and the proof was in the stats. Harman had 13 serves and Hansen nine as Chatsworth’s offense revolved around its serving efficiency.
“I changed my technique at the beginning of the week,” Harman said. “Yesterday I started serving either cross-court or to the corner instead of hitting it right out in front of me, and it worked.”
Hansen said Chatsworth’s serving and Roosevelt’s poor execution were the difference. “We’ve played them (Roosevelt) twice this year, and they haven’t passed well either time,” he said.
Roosevelt Coach Ken Maki credited the Chancellor’s serving for his team’s problems. “We haven’t had that much problem with (a team’s serve) all year,” he said.
“I told the team that they (Chatsworth) serve it hard and to watch it because (the ball) would probably go out. And a lot of them did. But a lot stayed in.”
That combination left Maki with a simple analysis of his team’s loss: “If there’s no pass, there’s no set, and if there’s no set, there’s no point.”
The success of Chatsworth’s deep, low-trajectory serving allowed the Chancellors to win the match on a series of spurts.
Chatsworth, down 3-0, rallied in the first game with 14 consecutive points. In game two, the Chancellors won the first 11 points before giving up six in a row. Roosevelt fell behind, 6-0, but still made it close, coming within 10-9 before losing the final game.
“That seems to be the way we play,” Berk said. “We have momentary lapses when we play very sloppy. But when we play well, we play excellently.”
Maki offered a similar conclusion, citing Chatsworth’s momentum and his team’s lack of intensity as the difference.
“We just couldn’t cut them off when they started to go on one of their spurts,” Maki said. “Some of my big guys weren’t into it today, but that always seems to happen against Chatsworth.”
Berk didn’t dismiss Tuesday’s victory quickly, and he wasn’t afraid to turn to Friday’s final.
“I don’t know if we’re ready to play as well as we can play,” he said. “We’ve played so many weak opponents (recently) that I think our game has gone down somewhat.”
Chatsworth has defeated University twice this year, but there will be several differences.
For one, Chancellor standout Rich Campbell is academically ineligible. And there may also be an injury factor to consider.
Hansen went to the sidelines midway through the Roosevelt match after hitting his knee on the umpire’s platform. He returned to the match but limped somewhat.
Kurt MacLean also left the match after turning an ankle. Neither injury appeared serious.