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Canyon Takes Five to Sneak Past the Vikings

High school volleyball: Cowboys rally to win after losing first two games and trailing, 14-7, in the third.


CANYON COUNTRY — Middle blocker Brian Waite of Canyon High said it was a combination of mental mistakes and not playing aggressively enough.

Adam Kaminsky said it was simply a case of overconfidence.

The result was nearly a disaster for the Canyon boys' volleyball team.

Valencia was a point away from shocking the Cowboys in three games before they rebounded for a 13-15, 8-15, 16-14, 15-8, 15-5 victory Tuesday night in a Foothill League match at Canyon.

Canyon (7-1, 2-0 in league play), ranked No. 3 in the region, trailed, 14-7, in the third game before rallying for the final nine points.

If that wasn't enough to shift momentum, perhaps it happened at the start of the fourth game when the Cowboys opened an 8-2 advantage.

It didn't take long for the Cowboys to finish off the Vikings (5-2, 1-1) after that.

Even when his team was on the brink of elimination, Kaminsky said the players had a feeling they could pull it out.

"We have a lot of confidence in ourselves," he said. "I think maybe we came out a little too cocky. We got taught a good lesson and we still pulled through."

While it was a resounding comeback for the perennial league power, it was quite a comeuppance for Valencia.

"We had them at match point," Coach Kevin Kornegay of Valencia said. "It's just a case of Canyon-Valencia emotions coming into play. Our emotions got the best of us and [Canyon] just did some good things after that."

The Cowboys won behind the senior leadership of outside hitters Jesse Alo, Marcos Borja and Fernando Martinez, and middle blockers Skyler Chambers and Waite.

Alo finished with 26 kills and 16 digs, Chambers and Borja each had 20 kills, Martinez had 15 kills and 16 digs, and Waite 13 kills.

Coach Dave Gutierrez of Canyon said one of his team's strengths is that it always expects to win.

This time, the Cowboys' confidence was tested to the limit.

"That has to help us a lot," Gutierrez said. "Now we know anything is possible when you can come back from 14-7 in the third game."

Kornegay is hoping there is a lesson for his team as well. He can at least look forward to having two more matches against Canyon, April 19 at Canyon and May 1 at Valencia.

"It's a good learning experience for us," Kornegay said. "We can use it when we play them again."

Chris Haigh of Valencia had 28 kills and 15 digs, Chris Savage added 15 kills and 15 blocks, and Brian Edwards had 12 blocks and 13 digs.

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