LA CAÑADA FLINTRIDGE — After outlasting Crespi High in a five-game Mission League thriller on Tuesday night, the St. Francis volleyball team looked as if it might be in for another long night when the opening game of its league tilt with visiting Alemany proved to be difficult to put away.
As it turned out, the hardest part was behind the Golden Knights once they withstood the Warriors' rally down the stretch of the first game. St. Francis closed the match out with authority, only allowing Alemany to put together a run of more than two points once over the rest of its 25-20, 25-9, 25-15 sweep.
"It was pretty close, we got off to a pretty slow start," Golden Knights outside hitter Michael Bacall (10 kills) said of the first game. "On Tuesday we had a big win, so I guess we came out a little flat, but then games two and three we picked it up because we knew how good this team was."
Alemany (3-5 in league), which suffered a home sweep the first time the teams met on March 6, took a 5-1 lead in the first game before the Golden Knights (9-4, 5-4 in league) went on a 13-6 run. St. Francis led, 19-13, on a kill from Wesley Coffey, but the Warriors closed out the game as well as they started it, putting up a 10-4 run to pull within 23-20 before St. Francis sealed the win on an Alemany service error and a kill from Bacall.
While the first-game win was hardly convincing, St. Francis quickly went to work in the second game to change the tone.
Coffey had a block and a kill in the Golden Knights' 5-1 run, capped by a clean cross-court winner from Charles McCarthy (eight kills), to open the stanza and St. Francis soon led, 15-8. The Golden Knights didn't take their foot off the pedal there, taking off on a 10-1 run to deflate the Warriors.
"That was the game our blocks became a big factor," said Bacall, who had two kills and two aces in the game. "We served really tough and got a lot of free balls out of it, so we just took advantage of those and put them away."
The third game saw St. Francis, which is in fourth place in league, again get off to a hot start, jumping out, 4-1, on a run that included kills from Bacall, Tyler Korzun and Coffey. The lead inflated to 20-10 before Alemany finally got its first three-point run, which came far too late, at match point.
"Overall I'm happy with it," St. Francis Coach Mark Frazee said of the win. "The passing cleaned up a little bit, we were able to run our middle. We're pretty strong on the outside and opposite. If we get everything going, somebody's got to beat us, we should not beat ourselves."