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Crusaders Pucker Up and Win : Volleyball: Trailing, 2-0, Village Christian seems charmed while sweeping last three games to defeat L.A. Baptist, take Alpha lead.

October 18, 1995|MIKE BRESNAHAN | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

SUN VALLEY — Never mind that they kept kissing a rubber lizard during timeouts.

A crazier thing happened to members of the Village Christian High girls' volleyball team during a key Alpha League match Tuesday against L.A. Baptist.

The Crusaders came from behind for a 10-15, 13-15, 15-13, 15-10, 15-12 victory over L.A. Baptist at Village Christian.

The Crusaders (10-1, 5-0 in league play) beat the Knights (8-3, 4-1) for the first time since 1990 and took a small, yet decisive, step toward the Alpha League title.

Giving away height and, at first, being imprecise with their passes, the Crusaders were facing a sweep when they trailed in the third game, 9-5.

But that's when Lindy James stepped to the forefront, slamming four of her 13 kills and helping the Crusaders pull to within 2-1.

Perhaps not coincidentally, James is the owner of "Gecko," a four-inch good-luck charm that began the match in James' sock, but ended up the recipient of good-luck smooches during timeouts as the match went on.

"We're always real nervous when we play them," James said. "As soon as we knew we could play with them, we settled down."

A shift in passing ability was almost as important as the shift in confidence.

The Knights, led by Kristen Jensen (18 kills) and her sister Tracy (10 kills, 30 digs), were smooth in the first two games.

But the Knights began to have trouble passing and their offense stalled.

"We had it," said L.A. Baptist Coach Sue Newcomb, whose team won the Alpha League title last year. "We made too many unforced errors and they out-passed us."

The well-balanced Crusaders were the reverse with James, Lolly Wilson (10 kills) and Sara Fristad (seven kills and five blocks) steadying the Crusaders' attack in the fourth and fifth games.

"This is the biggest win I've had up to this point," third-year Crusader Coach Scott Caulk said. "We've put ourselves in good position to win the Alpha League."

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