WATSONVILLE — At some point, things have become muscle memory for the Mount Madonna High boys volleyball team. They had been in so many close games during their two-year regular season league unbeaten run, they knew what to do to prevail.
Soquel was the latest to push Mount Madonna, keeping all three games close. Mount Madonna found a way late and prevailed 25-20, 25-21, 25-21 on Thursday evening at the summit.
The win boosted Mount Madonna’s record to 10-0 in the Santa Cruz Coast Athletic League. The squad is one win away from a share of the league title and two from outright winning it.
“Everyone stepped up when we needed to,” said Mount Madonna coach P.K. MacDonald. “It was an all-around team effort. Playing against a team like Soquel that’s one of the best in the area, we’re happy to get a win.”
With the score 14-14 in the third game, Hunter Renois blocked a kill attempt by a Mount Madonna player sending the Knights and their fans into a frenzy. However, after a lengthy discussion, the officials overturned the call and instead called Soquel for a violation, giving Mount Madonna the point and the 15-14 lead.
Mount Madonna’s Kabir Ahluwalia then blocked a kill attempt to cushion the Hawks’ lead at 16-14.
Soquel didn’t waiver, running off three straight points to retake the lead at 17-16.
Mount Madonna called a time out to refocus. They forced a Soquel error to tie the game, and then Joseph Frediani hit a cross-court kill to give the home team the lead for good.
“Experience had a lot to do with getting the win,” MacDonald said. “We’re constantly going through the grinder, and sometimes, the pressure becomes so intense that the experience from past years is huge for us.”
There were 10 ties in the third game.
There were only two ties in the first game, the second coming when Kala Buthman hit a kill straight at the Hawks to pull the Knights even at 7-7.
Mount Madonna responded with a wide-angle kill by Jake Getz to retake the lead.
Although Mount Madonna continued to hold on with the lead, Soquel never went away. David Broz’s semi-tap over gave Mount Madonna a 19-13 lead.
Soquel mustered a 6-2 run led by middle blocker Alex Shearer to come to within 21-19.
A lengthy trade of hits ended when Willly Bryan sent over a shot that couldn’t be recovered, giving Mount Madonna a 22-19 lead and enough of a cushion to finish off the Knights in the first game.
It seemed as though Mount Madonna had weathered Soquel’s storm, as it bursted out to a 10-4 advantage in the second game.
Again, Soquel did not go away. Although it didn’t use one big run to get back into things, it chipped away.
The six-point deficit soon was 17-17. Shearer’s blocks and Graham Denevan’s kills were the answer to Mount Madonna’s offensive attack.
At 19-19, Bryan tipped the ball past two Soquel players to give Mount Madonna the lead for good.
Soquel High coach Rick Schroeder said he wants his young players to believe that they can break through.
“I want to get them to believe,” Schroeder said. “We haven’t had that signature win yet this season. Tonight showed that we can battle with teams like Mount Madonna. We’re young, but we’re getting better everyday.”
Frediani had six kills, Getz tallied 11 kills, and Rudy Hooven had 13 digs for Mount Madonna.
Denevan led Soquel with 11 kills and 10 digs, and setter Jesse Cohen tallied 30 assists.
For the complete article see the 04-21-2012 issue.
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