SOUTHEAST GLENDALE â€” Crescenta Valley High boys' volleyball Coach John Nelson issued a caution to his team, noting that he expected Glendale to be an improved team from the first time the squads met.
Nelson's warning might have been met with a chuckle, but the Falcons had to earn a hard-fought 25-17, 25-19, 29-31, 25-15 Pacific League road victory Tuesday afternoon.
Crescenta Valley (7-6, 5-2) got nine kills from junior outside hitter Trevor La Fountaine and 27 assists from junior setter Eric Wall to help the Falcons sweep the two-match season series. Crescenta Valley posted a sweep at home against Glendale (1-7 overall and in league) on April 8.
â€œGlendale has improved a lot,â€ said Nelson, whose team moved a step closer to qualifying for the playoffs in May. â€œI told that to [my players], and maybe they didn't believe me.
â€œWeird things can happen if we had gone to a fifth game.â€
The Falcons overcame Glendale's dramatic win in the third game to put an end to that possibility. The Nitros got seven kills apiece from junior outside hitter Shant Alvandyan and senior outside hitter Jose Garcia.
â€œI saw a lot more improvement from us from the first time we played [Crescenta Valley],â€ Glendale first-year Coach Ta'ase Mose said. â€œThere was more toughness and all of our players were into the game.
â€œI think now we have some more confidence. We showed in a game like the third one that we could win one of those kind of games.â€
Crescenta Valley knotted the third game at 23 before the teams began to trade points. The Nitros fought off two match points before sealing the victory with an ace from Noah Navasardian.
However, the Falcons, who qualified for the playoffs last season, regrouped to win the fourth game. Crescenta Valley used an 8-1 spurt to build a 14-6 lead before a kill by senior Kyle MacDonald made it 18-10. The Falcons received eight kills apiece from MacDonald and senior outside hitter Ryan Peters.
â€œRyan and Kyle played well, and it's nice to have those two because they were able to stay focused throughout,â€ Nelson said. â€œWhen you have guys like that, it sure helps.â€