Wednesday, November 25, 2015 • 10:24

Jags come back for thrilling win over Escondido Charter

Luke Konyn (13) keeps the ball in play against Escondido Charter
April 02, 2014
Two games into the varsity boys volleyball match against Escondido Charter, Valley Center had kept the match close, but had fallen behind 2–0.

A few small adjustments later, the Jaguars gained momentum and never looked back, as they came all the way back to beat the White Tigers 3–2, with game scores of 20–25, 25–27, 25–22, 25–17, 15–11.

"We tried to get the ball to Daniel DeLeon," said head coach Alan Dale, referring to the team's six-foot-four outside hitter and team leader in kills this season. "When we got him where we wanted him, and once we stopped making errors, things really turned around for us."

Throughout the first two games of the match, neither team could pull away for a big lead. The first game was tied at 20 before the White Tigers went on a five-point run to seal the game win.

Game two saw the Jaguars bounce back from an early deficit to stay in the hunt, but time after time, just when the Jags were in position to tie the game, they let the White Tigers pull away again with unforced errors. Still, the game was tied at 16, 17, 19, 20, 22, 23, 24 and 25 before Escondido Charter was able to get two in a row to take the second game.

On the verge of suffering a three-game sweep, the Jaguars made the adjustments to both their lineup and their focus to hang on for a win in game three, as Jared Gilster got the kill to seal the win.

Valley Center played its best game of the night in game four, as the Jaguars methodically worked through the late stages to pull away. The Jags finished game four with a 7–1 run that kept them alive and sent the match to a tiebreaker game.

In the tiebreaker, Valley Center took a 1–0 lead right away and never trailed again, as DeLeon got the final kill of the match to seal the victory.

"We picked up our offense in the middle and started actually running an offense instead of playing vanilla," Coach Dale added. "Everybody contributed. We fought, we adjusted, everybody picked each other up and our serving was phenomenal."

Paul Schaner played a tremendous game, leading the Jags with 23 kills and adding an ace and 22 digs. DeLeon was also a key contributor with 22 kills, two aces, two blocks and 15 digs, while Benji Schechter set a new team record with 59 assists. As a team, the Jaguars totaled nine service aces, 68 kills and 79 digs.

"It's going to be really tough going into league," Coach Dale said. "But if we can cut down our errors, we'll have a chance. The way our team is built, we have to win with defense and playing smart. That's what we did tonight, and everybody stepped up."

The Jaguars have already played at home against Orange Glen on Wednesday and play again on Friday at San Pasqual at 5 p.m.

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