Crescenta Valley High girls' volleyball rallies for win over Alemany

LA CRESCENTA — What a way to start its season.

After losing the first two games of its season and not even holding a lead in either one, the Crescenta Valley High girls' volleyball team staged an improbable comeback against visiting Alemany on Tuesday.

After two forgettable games, the Falcons made less mistakes, scrambled on defense and controlled the offense, leading to a 21-25, 17-25, 25-15, 25-19, 15-13 victory.

"My team got it," Falcon Coach Jen Ku Lee said. "I just have to find a way to dig it out of them every game."

In the first two games, the Falcons couldn't do much.

They committed a combined 25 unforced errors, as they tried to shake the jitters and nerves of a season-opening match.

"We were nervous," Crescenta Valley outside hitter Micaela Guarino said.

Added teammate Allison Reik: "We just needed to warm up. We had to pick the focus up. We had way too many mistakes."

The mistakes didn't allow the Falcons to hold a lead, as they managed to hold just a 4-4 tie early in the first game.

Lee asked his team to simply put forth a better effort.

"I needed them just to go out and play," he said.

That meant not committing as many errors and playing inspired defense.

His team responded with an incredible effort.

Reik and Guarino led the offense with 12 and nine kills, respectively, and Nannette Grigorian (19 digs), Kasieh Cases (12 digs) and Emmie Walker (six digs) provided Lee with a steady defense that thwarted Alemany's attacks.

"[Grigorian, Cases, and Walker] are the three fastest players on the team," Lee said. "With those three anchoring the defense, that's all I need for the season."

A 7-0 run gave the Falcons an 11-6 lead in the third game. It was an advantage that they did not relinquish.

Another seven-point run in the fourth game erased a 17-14 Alemany lead and gave the Falcons a four-point advantage.

"Once you get the good hit, you crave to get that snap," Guarino said. "Once you stop thinking and let your body take over, it's pure magic."

The thrills continued in the fifth game.

The game featured nine ties, the last at 13-13 and CV's Grigorian serving.

She responded in emphatic fashion.

Grigorian hit two consecutive aces, her third and fourth of the match, to end the contest and give the Falcons a win.

Said Lee: "We rallied together."

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