Rush, Cutrell spark Jaguars to CIF first-round volleyball win over San Diego Academy
May 15, 2013"Better late than never" is the old saying, and even though the Valley Center varsity boys volleyball team got off to a slow start against San Diego Academy in the first round of the CIF Division II playoffs, the Jaguars rallied behind a pair of late-arriving players to get a win and advance to the quarterfinals.
Seniors Mitchell Rush and Sean Cutrell were forced to miss the first game because of advanced placement testing, but the duo burst into the VCHS gym midway through the second game and received a hearty cheer from the home fans.
From that point on, the Jaguars never relinquished the lead and went on to take the next three games to win the match 3–1, with game scores of 20–25, 25–21, 25–10, 25–14.
Even though they were missing two of their key players, the Jags fought to keep the first game close. The teams were tied at 11 early in the first game, but the Cavaliers picked up momentum little by little and scored the last three points to win game one.
San Diego Academy pulled ahead quickly in game two, running out to a 5–1 lead early on. Valley Center battle back to take an 8–5 lead, then the Jaguars held onto an 11–9 lead when Rush and Cutrell sprinted into the gymnasium to an enthusiastic round of applause. The Cavaliers won the next point, but the Jags got a boost from Rush, who drove home a big spike to get a kill only a few points after he came in the game. Daniel DeLeon and CJ Gittleson also stepped up and helped the Jaguars methodically work their way to a four-point win in game two that tied the match at one game apiece.
Valley Center came alive in game three, as the team scored the first four points of the game, then built a 9–1 lead, then ran out to an 18–5 lead that quickly turned into a 25–10 rout for a win and a 2–1 lead in the match.
The Jaguars once again set the tone in game four by taking a 6–0 lead, and even though San Diego Academy kept pace for most of the game, the Jags slowly, but surely, put the game away.
The win advances the Jaguars to the semifinal round to face No. 2 Bishop's. That game took place at Bishop's on Wednesday night, and the winner advances to the Division IV final, which will take place on Saturday at 11 a.m. at Cathedral Catholic High School.
Be sure to get the latest VCHS playoff updates on our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/valleycenter throughout the week.