LA CRESCENTA — There was no uniform jinx for the Crescenta Valley High boys’ volleyball team Friday afternoon, although visiting Hoover certainly made the Falcons downright uncomfortable at times.
Crescenta Valley, which had dropped two straight matches along with its standing atop the Pacific League after receiving its new 2014 jerseys, snapped its brief skid with a closer-than-expected 25-21, 25-13, 26-24 victory over the visiting Tornadoes.
“I was starting to believe that something was wrong with these uniforms,” Falcons Coach John Nelson quipped after his team’s victory. “We hadn’t won since we switched from our old jerseys before the Burroughs’ game. I guess we picked a bad time to switch.”
With the victory, the Falcons (15-2 overall, 5-2 in league) stayed within striking distance of idle Burroughs (13-3, 7-0) and Burbank (14-2, 7-1).
While the Tornadoes dropped to 1-15 overall and 0-9 in league, coach Gaby Gallardo was content with her team’s effort.
“I’m impressed with the way we played,” Gallardo said. “We had fire and we had fight, especially in that third game. It sucks we didn’t win, but I’m proud of my guys.”
Gallardo was alluding to the Tornadoes’ play in the deciding third game.
Hoover raced out to a 10-6 advantage built primarily on Falcons’ errors and eventually reached game-point, 24-23, on one of sophomore tri-captain Brandon Knight’s team-leading seven kills, which was created off a pass from sophomore setter Norton Yongpairojwong (nine assists).
On the brink, the Falcons rallied with a kill from Bradley Fernandez (five kills and three aces) to pull even and then took a 25-24 advantage on a lift call versus the Tornadoes.
Crescenta Valley then iced the game and match on a kill from John Tae, whose spike attempt was frantically dug into the net on a sprawling attempt from Knight.
“I don’t think we really expected this game to be that close,” said Tae, who finished with nine kills and two aces. “In that third game, I think we just told ourselves ‘OK’ and we settled down and got the win. We were making a lot of mistakes.”
In the third game, Hoover was awarded 19 points on Falcons’ attacking, ball-handling and defensive miscues.
Perhaps Crescenta Valley’s struggles were most evident after the Falcons took a 22-19 advantage in the third game, but allowed Hoover to reach game-point thanks to a 5-1 run fueled by three Falcons’ attacking errors, an ace from senior opposite Brandon Estrada (eight digs) and a kill from Knight.
One of the reasons Crescenta Valley bounced back against Hoover in the third game, particularly after falling behind by four early, was thanks to the team’s serve as Josh Ruby connected on back-to-back aces to pull the Falcons even at 11.
“Our serve was something that we focused on before this match,” Nelson said. “We had some big serves.”
Fernandez served up three aces in the second game and Crescenta Valley bounced out to an 8-2 lead and never let Hoover climb any closer than four points in a 25-13 win.
Zachary Burch helped pace the Falcons to a victory in the first game as the outside hitter tallied five of his match-high 10 kills as Crescenta Valley broke open a 10-9 game with an 11-5 run in taking a 21-14 advantage.
Crescenta Valley reached game-point, 24-19, on a kill from Tae before eventually securing a 25-21 victory on a kill from Samuel Lim.
“Today was about getting back to having fun and getting a win,” Tae said. “I think we might have been a little too relaxed, but it’s good to finally get a win.”
Follow Andrew J. Campa on Twitter: @campadresports.