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CHS, CV boys volleyball engage in see-saw battle
Bulldogs win five-set thriller against Hawks
Austin Crain and the Bulldogs edged the Hawks 3-2 (25-11, 23-25, 25-21, 24-26, 15-11) at Ceres High on Thursday. - photo by DALE BUTLER/The Courier

Central Valley's varsity boys volleyball team fought off six match points in the fourth set to extend its Western Athletic Conference crosstown dual with Ceres High.

The Bulldogs dashed the Hawks' bid for a comeback victory by winning the fifth and decisive set.

Ceres High outlasted visiting Central Valley 3-2 (25-11, 23-25, 25-21, 24-26, 15-11) Thursday evening at Phil de la Porte Gymnasium.

"I wasn't concerned at all," said Cristian Garcia, a 6-foot-5 standout sophomore with the Bulldogs. "I had faith in my teammates."

"We could have done a little better," Hawks junior Jacob Guerrero said. "We didn't play to our full potential."

Ceres High improved to 2-3 in the WAC standings.

Central Valley dropped to 1-4 in conference play.

"My whole team has improved tremendously," Bulldogs head coach Darlene Tobler said. "Their skill level is coming up. We're still building on our fundamentals. This is a learning year. We've had a lot of positive feedback from other coaches and teams."

Cristian Garcia filled the stat sheet with 16 kills, six aces, two blocks, one dig and one assist.

Ceres High teammate Juan Palafox added 22 digs, nine kills, five aces, three assists and one block.

Wyatt Ogden had 26 assists, seven digs and three kills.

Austin Crain had 15 digs, six kills and one assist.

Jordan McGrath had nine kills, four blocks and one dig.

Chris Lubinsky had nine digs, one assist and one ace.

Brandon Garcia had eight digs.

Trenton Blanton had three digs and one ace.

Jacob Guerrero collected nine kills, one block and one ace to lead the Hawks.

Lino Uti had five blocks and three kills.

Robert Perez had five kills, two aces and one block.

Miguel Viayra had three digs and one ace.

Cristian Garcia had two kills, two aces, two digs and one assist.

Central Valley battled back from a 24-18 deficit during the fourth set. There were seven ties (2-2, 3-3, 5-5, 8-8, 9-9, 10-10, 24-24).

"We kept up our intensity," Guerrero said. "We went to every single ball. We didn't let it touch the floor. We just need to work on our passing and serving."

"It was competitive and intense," said Cristian Garcia, who averaged 13.0 points and 8.1 rebounds while starring on Ceres High's varsity boys basketball team this past winter. "It (losing) motivated us to do better in the last game."

The Bulldogs never trailed in the final set.

Palafox secured the victory with a kill.

"They were more confident after they got big hits on us," Guerrero said.

Spectators got their monies worth as Ceres High and Central Valley faced off for the first time in boys volleyball.

"It's something new," Cristian Garcia said. "It's cool seeing athletes from all different sports playing together. We knew we had to get the W, especially here at home. We didn't want to lose."

"I was pretty confident they'd pull it together and work as a team," Tobler stated. "I'm proud of what they accomplished tonight."

"It's not as big as basketball or soccer," Guerrero added. "But there's still a lot of pressure to play well against them because they're our rivals. It would have been a huge step forward for us if we won."