No. 1 Eagle Rock Rolls Over Van Nuys in City 3-A Final
Larry Najera was all stitched up and ready to go for Van Nuys High.
Unfortunately for the Wolves, Andy Rivera of No. 1-seeded Eagle Rock was also ready.
Rivera delivered 24 kills and the Eagles defeated Van Nuys, 15-6, 16-14, 15-7, to win the City Section 3-A Division boys’ volleyball championship Friday at Occidental College.
Rivera, who has committed to Cal State Northridge, had 33 attempts, only three errors and finished with a .636 hitting percentage for the Eagles, who won their first 3-A volleyball title.
“Andy played over the top of us,” said Najera, who had 11 kills for the Wolves.
“That’s why he’s going to [play in] college.”
Van Nuys (14-3) was helped by the return of Najera, who needed 10 stitches to close a gash on his head after a collision with a teammate in a semifinal victory over Marshall.
The Wolves felt they also had a good chance against the Eagles (17-0), based on a 15-13 victory in the championship game of the Venice tournament earlier this season. Tournament games do not count on overall records in high school volleyball.
But the second-seeded Wolves couldn’t stop the 6-foot-3 Rivera.
He killed seven of nine attempts in the first game and started off seven for seven in the second game.
Then the Wolves briefly stymied Rivera, forcing him into a pair of hitting errors en route to an 11-7 lead.
The Wolves held leads of 13-9 and 14-12 before the Eagles answered.
Rivera had a kill and an ace, and Huy Quach had three of his 11 kills as the Eagles scored the last four points of the game to take a 2-0 lead.
At almost every Eagle Rock practice, the players take part in a drill where they trail, 14-7, and must win the game.
“We’re used to coming back,” Rivera said.
The loss was a negative in an otherwise positive season for the Wolves, who advanced further than expected under first-year Coach Greg Wah.
“I would have never dreamed we’d get here in my first year,” Wah said. “I just wanted to establish a good program.”
Allen Chiu had 15 kills and nine errors for the Wolves, who have lost all three times they have appeared in the City 3-A championship game.