Crescenta Valley High boys' volleyball rallies for tournament victory

LA CRESCENTA — What could have very well been a lost weekend for the Crescenta Valley High boys’ volleyball team may turn out to be the opposite.

Tired, twice-beaten and relegated to the seventh-place game in the silver division, the Falcons showed resiliency in rallying to defeat Woodland Hills Taft High’s “B” team 17-25, 26-24, 15-10 in the final game of 12th annual Crescenta Valley Tournament on Saturday afternoon.

“This weekend wasn’t just about having fun, it was about getting ready for next week and hopefully the playoffs,” Crescenta Valley High senior Freedom Tripp said. “Being one of the few seniors on this team, I want to get us playing our best and I’m proud of how we finished. Hopefully, that’s what we needed.”

The Falcons (9-14, 5-6 overall) are currently deadlocked for the league’s final playoff spot with Arcadia (5-6 in league), as the Apaches will host the Falcons on Tuesday.

Tuesday, however, seemed miles away after the Falcons finished 1-2 in Friday’s pool play action and then dropped their opening two matches to archrival La Cañada, 25-15, 26-24 and then to La Verne Damien, 25-23, 15-25, 15-10.

Particularly troubling was the Falcons’ serve, as the squad combined for 32 service errors in the first two matches.

Yet, despite those issues, Crescenta Valley was tied with the Taft “B” squad at 3 in the third and final game when the Falcons created a little space via a 3-0 spurt fueled by two Toreadors errors and a kill from sophomore outside hitter Min Kim.

That slight separation would never be breached as the Falcons and Toreadors traded points, but not the lead.

Crescenta Valley led, 12-9, and then increased its advantage after consecutive lifting violations against Taft pushed the Falcons to match-point, 14-9.

While the Toreadors countered with a kill from junior opposite David Akhavan, the Falcons closed out their victory with a smash from Kim.

“We figured some things out and we’re ready for next week,” Falcons assistant Jerry Mulder said. “We’ve got Arcadia and to have the confidence going after this win is big.”

The Falcons’ push toward a win began in the second game, when Crescenta Valley jumped out to a 10-6 advantage behind a pair of kills from Tripp, who finished with five kills and a block versus Taft.

Like the third game, it was a small run that created a wedge as the Falcons expanded a 9-6 advantage with a 5-1 run to go up, 14-7, after a kill from Chris Yi.

Yet, Taft recovered and tied the game at 24 after a kill from Mizan Bright.

That score, though, was followed by back-to-back points from Crescenta Valley, the first a kill from Tripp that was followed by a game-winning block from Zachary Burch.

Prior to the Taft victory, the Falcons showed signs of moxie versus Damien, in a match in which Kim led the squad with seven kills.

The Falcons fell behind, 21-9, in the first game before scoring seven straight points and eventually closing to within 24-23. Damien survived, though, by getting a kill from leader Eric Leggio, who paced his squad with 10 kills.

The Falcons won the second game, 25-15, led by four kills from Tripp, before falling in the third game.

Versus La Cañada, the Spartans gave no aid in the first game, taking a 12-point lead before eventually cruising to a 25-15 first-game win.

The Falcons did rally in the second game and were tied at 24. Yet, La Cañada’s Mel Schroeder converted a big kill and Crescenta Valley then followed with a match-ending lift.

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