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Village Christian Wins Round One Against Paraclete

Volleyball: Crusaders welcome Alpha League newcomer, which looks forward to rematch next week.


SUN VALLEY — Village Christian High, which has waited 12 years to create a league championship of its own, wasn't about to let unbeaten Paraclete, the young gun of the Alpha League, crumple up the blueprint.

Behind 22 kills by a motivated Errin Benesh, the Crusaders defeated Paraclete, playing in its first Alpha League match after more than 20 years in the High Desert League, by a 15-3, 15-8, 9-15, 15-11 count Tuesday at Village Christian.

Benesh, who committed to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo last week, helped the Crusaders start strong--they scored 20 consecutive points at one point--against Paraclete before they stalled badly in the third game.

It led to an attitude adjustment by Benesh, who delivered nine kills in the fourth game, including the match-clincher.

"Don't get me upset," Benesh said. "I hate losing and I get really aggressive. It was important for us to step up."

They did.

The Crusaders (9-2, 1-0 in league play) were co-champions in the Alpha League in 1990, but apparently don't want to share the title this season.

"Every day at practice, we say, 'This is our year to win league,' " Benesh said.

Ranked No. 8 in the region by The Times, the Crusaders have not won the league title outright since 1986.

Melinda Archer helped the Village Christian cause Tuesday with 12 kills and 19 digs.

Paraclete (8-1, 0-1) did not want to begin Alpha League play like this, but it has reason to look forward to the rematch Oct. 29.

After an awful beginning, the Spirits played much better defense at the net and in the back row.

Christine Lambert, who has committed to Connecticut, finished with 12 kills and five blocks after having only one of each in the first game.

"I think we heard a lot about them and we might have been intimidated," Lambert said. "But we showed we can definitely keep up with them, play with them and next time, beat them."

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