WATSONVILLE — The Mount Madonna School Hawks inched to within one game of another SCCAL title with a four set win over the visiting Soquel High Knights on Tuesday evening.
“I think it’s a great sign of this team’s toughness,” said Mount Madonna head coach P.K. McDonald after the win. “ And that’s the kind of toughness it’s going to take to make a run in the post season. To come here and stand toe-to-toe with such a well-rounded and physical opponent means a lot.”
The Hawks (18-8, 10-1 had revenge on their mind after losing to the Knights (12-3, 9-2) earlier in the year in four sets, but just like in the first meeting between the two juggernauts Soquel jumped out to an early one set lead.
“We didn’t just lose that first set,” said McDonald. “We got our clocks turned and they gave us a wake up call.”
The Hawks setter Pedro Aguirre was one of the players that woke up in the second set and ripped some deadly serves in the early part of the set to help build the Hawks lead and confidence.
Aguirre was all over the floor for the Hawks finishing with 35 assists and 10 digs.
“I give tons of credit to him and his leadership as a 15-year-old kid,” said McDonald of Aguirre. “Coming out in such a pressure packed match with such implications and really leading the charge for his team.”
The Hawks rode that confidence all the way to the game-tying 25-20 set win.
The second set was just as intense as the last. Players flew all over the floor and dove for balls with a sense of urgency.
The Hawks had the 22-16 advantage late in the third set, but the Knights continued to fight and they cut the lead to just two points by scoring four straight points.
McDonald wisely called a timeout to try and slow the Knights down. They hung tough through the end of the match, but the Hawks were not going to be denied and they took the lead win a 25-22 set win.
With their confidence continuing to rise the Hawks jumped out to an early 5-1 lead that sent the wild home crowd into a frenzy.
The scrappy Knights clawed their way back into the match and came to within two points, but the Hawks used the energy from the home crowd to stretch their lead back to seven points, their largest of the set, and cruise to the 25-20 win.
“We’ve had alumni from 92, that have played on the team, families, distant relatives, even parents of kids who have graduated already,” said McDonald. “They know that when they look at their calendar that this time a year is title time.”
Jake Getz finished with 17 kills. Daniel Faust had 14 kills. Joseph Frediani chipped in five blocks.
The Hawks have only Pacific Collegiate standing in the way of their second-straight SCCAL title. They will travel to play the Pumas Today.
“I think the senior class has some pressure to win the title,” said McDonald. “They’ve been playing together since fifth grade. They’ve been working for this year and this time, so I think that there’s some pressure on them and you could see it early in this game. It took a young sophomore to really come out and light the fire underneath us.” For the complete article see the 04-25-2013 issue.
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