Balanced, on-point St. Francis High volleyball sweeps Chaminade

LA CAÑADA — With relative ease, the St. Francis High volleyball team got back on track Thursday night.

The Golden Knights snapped their three-game losing skid by sweeping visiting Chaminade, 25-21, 25-18, 25-14, in Mission League play. It marked the team’s first victory since a similar three-set sweep over Crespi in its league opener on March 13.

“I think we just passed the ball a lot better,” said junior outside hitter Markar Agakanian, who led the way with 13 kills. “We had our transition game going, because of our passing. Pretty much, we played as a team, really.”

PHOTOS: St. Francis volleyball snaps losing streak with win against Chaminade

Agakanian tallied four of his kills in the opening set, as St. Francis (3-4, 2-3) wrestled the lead away from Chaminade (1-3, 0-2) to gain an early advantage. The Golden Knights had led, 16-10, early, but gave up six straight points and later trailed by a score of 18-17. But back-to-back kills from Agakanian would put them ahead for good and they pulled away to take the first game.

For St. Francis, it was also keyed throughout the match by sound, mistake-free play.

“We cleaned up our service errors,” Golden Knights Coach Mark Frazee said, “and we were hitting our spots.”

St. Francis posted a mere six service errors Thursday, marking the lowest figure in any match this season, and had none in the first set.

“We didn’t serve it any differently,” Frazee said. “When it came down to the end of the game, we were serving our spots, which were taking them out of their offense and they weren’t able to run things the way they wanted to. And we had even fewer errors at the end. I think that was the big difference.”

Freshman outside hitter Sean Stephan also totaled five kills, including three in the opening game. Junior middle blocker Thomas Lund added five kills and four blocks.

Both teams went back and forth to begin the second set, but St. Francis seemed to break through when sophomore setter David Thompson assisted senior outside hitter Mark Munoz to break a 9-9 tie as part of three straight points to build a 12-9 advantage. The Golden Knights never trailed in the second frame with Munoz tallying three kills of his own to go along with three from Agakanian.

Chaminade never seemed to recover from that.

Agakanian credited cohesive play and an energized group.

“Just our intensity level, really,” he said. “And getting our energy up, going for the balls, going for the blocks. Just hustling for plays and getting over on each pass and digging the ball.”

To begin the third game, the Golden Knights built a 6-1 lead — a margin they nearly maintained for the remainder of the contest. The closest Chaminade would come to cutting the deficit was at 13-10 before St. Francis reeled off four straight points.

“It was more consistent play,” Frazee said. “And we got comfortable seeing what they were doing.”

St. Francis continues league play on Tuesday when it travels to Mission Hills to face Alemany.

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