ARCADIA — In their last several matches, the members of the Crescenta Valley High boys' volleyball team have followed a pattern of struggling in the first game.
Pitted against their rival on Friday night, the Falcons appeared on the verge of losing the first game of a match for the fourth consecutive contest. Then, something clicked for Crescenta Valley.
Crescenta Valley made a late comeback in the first game before grabbing the momentum for the remainder of the match en route to a 26-24, 25-18, 25-15 Pacific League road win against Arcadia.
"We've had a tough time, for some reason, with the first game," said Crescenta Valley Coach John Nelson, whose team improved to 9-5, 3-2 in league and bounced back from a hard-fought five-game league loss against visiting Claremont on Wednesday. "They've had a hard time getting ready, but, once they get going, they are ready to rock and roll."
Crescenta Valley senior middle blocker Wesley Cormier led the charge for the Falcons in the first of two season meetings against the Apaches (6-12, 3-2).
Cormier finished with 15 kills, including five in the first game. The Falcons trailed, 24-22, after committing their eighth service error. However, Crescenta Valley closed out with a 4-0 run.
"Winning that first game was key because we then had the momentum to finish it off," said Cormier, who closed out the match with a kill. "It's a great feeling when you can beat your rival and it just gives you even more energy.
"I think I'm progressively getting better, but I still need to do more work."
Crescenta Valley raced to a 6-3 lead in the second game on an ace by Cormier. A kill by Freedom Tripp extended the Falcons' lead to 12-6 and a kill by Cormier made it 16-8.
"In the second game, we opened up and played pretty good," Nelson said. "With a guy like Wesley, he's just an excellent player.
"The match against Claremont, I felt like that was the best we've played the whole season. We raised our level of play and we pushed our level up."
The Apaches held a 3-0 lead in the third game before Crescenta Valley used a 5-0 run to take a 5-3 lead. The Falcons then used a 10-2 surge to extend their advantage to 15-5. Cormier and Ian Paprocki each had two kills in that stretch.
Cormier finished with three aces and Tripp added seven kills for the Falcons, who had a combined three service errors in the final two games.
"I try to stay in form and do whatever I can to help the team out," Cormier said.
The Apaches received 10 kills from outside hitter Dake Ying.
Crescenta Valley and Arcadia will meet again at 6 p.m. May 1 at Crescenta Valley.