LA CRESCENTA — A tough start to the Pacific League season was smoothed over at bit Friday evening for the Crescenta Valley High boys’ volleyball team.
The Falcons overcame two early deficits — both in a first-game loss and then in a slow fifth-game start — in rallying for a 24-26, 25-23, 25-17, 24-26, 15-11 victory over visiting rival Arcadia in a match that lasted 1 hour and 50 minutes.
“This was a good win,” said Falcons Coach John Nelson, who is in his 24th year. “We haven’t played our best this season or even in this match, but at the end we limited our mistakes and got a few key points to win.”
The Falcons (6-8, 2-2 in league) held a tenuous 11-10 advantage after a hitting error brought the Apaches (2-7, 2-3) within a point in the fifth game.
Crescenta Valley finally created some separation with a kill from senior Alex Shin that was followed by an Apaches’ attacking error that put the Falcons up, 13-10.
While Arcadia countered with a kill from Matthew Ormseth, who led all players with 14 kills, the Falcons moved to match-point on a thunderous spike from Shin.
The match then concluded on the next possession with a spike from Zachary Burch that a diving Esteban De Mendoza (12 kills) couldn’t dig.
“This was a great win. We haven’t played up to our potential, but these kind of games show that we can play better than we have,” said Shin, who led his team with 11 kills and three aces. “Maybe we can get something going.”
Momentum appeared to be on the Apaches’ side as Arcadia scored the final two points of the fourth-game win and then opened up with a 4-1 advantage in the fifth game.
Yet, Burch connected on back-to-back kills and senior outside hitter Freedom Tripp put the Falcons up for good, 6-4, with a block of De Mendoza that was followed by a kill through the stuff attempt of Jonathan Lu.
“We were low on energy in the fifth and we picked it up,” said Tripp, who finished with six kills and six blocks. “That was kind of the problem. We’d play with high energy and then would let it drop.”
Crescenta Valley rallied from a first-game defeat in which it surrendered four of the last five points by closing out the second game.
A Falcons’ 23-20 advantage was narrowed to one point after a kill from Arcadia’s William Sun was preceded with a block from Lu.
The Apaches couldn’t complete the comeback, though, instead tripping up their own success with a service error that put Crescenta Valley up, 24-22, and eventually allowed for a kill from Noah Klotther to win the game, 25-23.
In the third game, Crescenta Valley showed utter control, expanding a 10-9 advantage with an 8-3 run in going up, 18-12, and never looking back.
Whatever momentum was accrued in back-to-back victories quickly evaporated for Crescenta Valley, as Arcadia ran out to an 8-2 lead in the fourth game.
The Falcons not only battled themselves, but the official scorer, who turned a 14-10 deficit into a 14-8 hole without reason. Those two points came back to haunt the Falcons, who lost the fourth game, 26-24.
“I think the emotions were just too up and down in this match,” Shin said. “We need to be more even keel and balanced.
“The good thing is that we won and I’ll take that over being emotionally controlled.”