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PLAYOFFS

Village Christian Carries On With a Victory Over Salesian

May 20, 2000|STEVE GALLUZZO

Village Christian High lost its first game of the playoffs but still advanced to the semifinals of the Southern Section Division III boys' volleyball playoffs with a 15-11, 15-7, 13-15, 15-8 quarterfinal victory over host Salesian on Friday night.

Ken Benesh led the Crusaders (24-0) with 25 kills and Nick Manghelli added 16 kills and eight digs. Setter Ethan Perry had 31 assists and backup Matt Levoe added 26 assists and three aces.

Village Christian led game one from start to finish but trailed, 7-4, in the second game before reeling off 11 consecutive points to take a commanding 2-0 lead in games.

The No. 3-seeded Crusaders appeared to be on their way to another sweep when they took a 13-11 lead in game three, but Salesian (14-2) fought back to take a 14-13 lead before winning the game when Village Christian middle blocker Josh Seffel hit wide.

It was the first game the Crusaders surrendered since the Chaparral tournament on April 18.

"I think we knew we would win because we were still ahead, but it definitely bothered us that we let up a little," said Benesh, a junior outside hitter. "But they came to play. They weren't going to lay down for us."

With fatigue setting in, No. 5-seeded Salesian offered little resistance in game four as the Crusaders raced to a 12-3 lead. The Mustangs closed to within 13-8 before Village Christian middle blocker Travis Atkinson ended the match with a block.

Seffel finished with 13 kills and five blocks and Atkinson added 11 kills, five blocks and three aces for Village Christian, which will host its semifinal match on Wednesday.

"I think our depth is our biggest strength," Atkinson said. "We're pretty strong mentally and we play our best when we have to."

Christopher Larios had 21 kills and Ivan Garcia added 15 kills and 10 digs for Salesian.

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