Falcons lock up third place

LA CRESCENTA — When the Crescenta Valley and Arcadia high boys' volleyball teams meet, there's usually something at stake.

In past years, they've battled for the Pacific League championship.

Other times, they've fought solely for bragging rights.

This year, the Falcons and Apaches contested for the third-place slot in league.

CV's Vincent Van Hoek made sure that the Falcons secured third place.

Van Hoek recorded 13 kills and eight assists to lead the Falcons to a 25-17, 25-21, 25-17 home victory against the Apaches.

"It's a rivalry," said Van Hoek, whose performance helped the Falcons improve to 17-9, 8-4 in league, two matches ahead of Arcadia (6-18, 6-6) for third place. "We wanted to pump ourselves up going into the playoffs. It was important to win this game.

"We had fun."

The fun started early.

The Falcons dominated the first game, scoring the first eight points and using another four-point blitz to take an insurmountable 12-1 lead.

"We wanted to start off with intensity and serve tough," said Van Hoek, who had two kills and two aces during the early run, and also received plenty of help from Grant Ghappell (36 assists), Ian Paprocki (10 kills), and Wesley Cormier (seven kills).

The first game took 13 minutes.

The second game wasn't as easy.

Arcadia took a 7-3 lead minutes into the game, surprising the Falcons, who had a "mental block," according to Van Hoek.

"We had to bring up our game," he said.

They sure did.

After trailing, 11-8, the Falcons scored six consecutive points and 10 out of 11 to take an 18-12 lead.

"It's good to finish strong," Van Hoek said.

Van Hoek and the Falcons started the third game like they did the first, scoring six consecutive points before Arcadia got on the board.

"[Van Hoek] has the ability to kind of takeover," Falcon Coach John Nelson said. "He's obviously really good. He can do it all when he gets going."

Nelson said his team is looking ahead to the postseason. The playoff pairings will be announced Saturday.

Said Nelson: "This game was important to keep our momentum and continuing to build for next week."

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