SOUTHEAST GLENDALE — Bellarmine-Jefferson boys' volleyball Coach Miguel Segura figured his team would eventually snap its losing skid. He looked for it to occur Monday afternoon during a nonleague road match against Glendale.
Behind 19 kills from Ignacio Cabrera and some steady defense from Nikola Novakovic, Bell-Jeff posted a 20-25, 25-21, 25-22, 21-25, 15-10 road win and snapped its five-match losing streak.
"We have a lot of talent it shows when we are in the right spots," said Segura, whose team improved to 2-7 and played its second consecutive match against a squad from the Pacific League. "We saw glimpses of how we can go out there and be successful.
"We were looking to get that next win under our belts. We hadn't given up and we were able to do well by making most of our serves."
After winning the fourth game, Glendale (1-7) appeared to have the momentum. The Nitros twice led briefly in the fifth game, before the Guards turned to Novakovic to close out the match.
It had been a rough last several days for Novakovic, who suffered a concussion and a black left eye after doing a back flip prior to Friday's nonleague match against Burbank. He didn't compete Friday in a four-game loss against the Bulldogs, but received medical clearance to compete Monday.
The Guards needed him down the stretch.
"We had to stay calm going into that fifth game," said Novakovic, who registered three of his nine kills in the final game. "We wanted that fifth game real bad.
"We played pretty good defense in the last game and we are happy to just get a win."
Glendale Coach Ta'ase Mose thought the Nitros were in good shape after winning the fourth game.
Instead, Glendale struggled with its passing and made a pair of serving errors.
"We definitely have to improve our passing and work on our serve receiving," said Mose, who got eight kills from Kevin Fonta and four aces from Josh Collado. "Bell-Jeff played pretty well, but we made too many errors.
"Bell-Jeff did a good job of digging the ball and there's nothing you can do about that. We had some momentum going into the last game and all of a sudden it just died. You have to play up to 15 [points] or 25."
The Guards took a 9-8 lead in the fifth game on a kill by Novakovic. After Glendale closed to within 11-9, Bell-Jeff used a 4-1 run to clinch the victory.
In the fourth game, the Guards knotted it at 21 on a serving error. However, the Nitros didn't let the miscues affect them, as they closed on a 4-0 run.
The third game was tied at 22 before Cabrera recorded two kills to make it 24-22.
The Guards led throughout the second game, jumping to a 6-2 lead on an ace by Colbert Orta. Orta finished with six of his match-high eight aces in the second game.
Glendale never trailed in the first game. An ace by Fonta gave the Nitros an 8-2 lead. A kill by Novakovic brought the Guards to within 13-11, but Glendale used a late 6-4 run to take the first game.