Give first-year Bellarmine-Jefferson High boys’ volleyball Coach
Miguel Segura a week and a half and he’ll transform a team.
After struggling against Providence last week, Segura retooled his
troops for Santa Fe League play Thursday night, as the Guards stunned
visiting L.A. Salesian, 9-15, 15-12, 15-10, 17-15.
“This was a great win,” Segura said. “We thought Salesian was
going to be one of the top teams in league.”
Salesian (5-4, 1-2 in league) returns eight players from last
season’s team that finished third in league and qualified for the CIF
Southern Section playoffs.
Although well into the season, Bell-Jeff (4-5, 1-0) was playing in
its first league match, as L.A. Daniel Murphy and L.A. Verbum Dei are
not fielding teams this season, leaving the league with five schools:
Bell-Jeff, Salesian, Pasadena La Salle, Flintridge Prep and Panorama
City St. Genevieve.
The Guards were originally scheduled to open league play Tuesday
against Daniel Murphy.
With the top three teams in the league qualifying for the
playoffs, Bell-Jeff is in a good position, given that Salesian has
already defeated St. Genevieve.
If the Guards make it to the postseason, it would be their first
playoff appearance since 1997.
“We’ve worked a lot on defense,” said Segura, who has just three
returning players. “Defense wins in basketball, and it wins in
volleyball too. Last week [against Providence], we probably had 10
dings that hit the floor [for points]. This time, we had maybe
Salesian played well throughout the match, as it relied on strong
hitters Reyes Cervantes, Angel Munoz and Joe Hernandez. But Bell-Jeff
didn’t let down after losing the first game.
Junior Brendon Doyle, who finished with 21 kills, rallied the
Guards in the second game, tallying eight kills.
“I told the guys ‘We have to protect our home court,’ ” Segura
Bell-Jeff broke a 12-12 tie in the second game, as Doyle served
the final three points to pull off the win.
With the score tied at 9 in the third game, Bell-Jeff broke loose,
as Doyle came up with two huge kills down the stretch. He also served
the game-winning point.
Bell-Jeff jumped to a lead early in the fourth game, and had a
chance to win the match with Doyle -- again -- serving with the
Guards leading, 14-11. But Saleisan’s Javier Arroyo came up with a
block to keep the Mustangs alive.
The Mustangs rallied to take a 15-14 advantage before Bell-Jeff
fought back. Luis Zahana, who had six kills, served up an ace for the
Guards to tie the score. Doyle also had two more kills and Jeff Tando
put down the match-winner for the Guards.
“I told these guys that if I have to be the tough guy, I’ll do
it,” Segura said of motivating his team.