This, by far, was the best match I’ve seen so far this season. Rallies and lots of hard hitting. An outstanding high school match featuring some players who could be playing at the next level.
Above: Arcadia’s Scott Novak (8) collects a kill past Claremont’s Alo Tauaese in the first game at Arcadia high School. (SGVN/Staff Photo Keith Birmingham/SXSports)
By Scott Galetti
ARCADIA When it comes to the unique Pacific League rivalry between Arcadia High Schools boys volleyball team and Claremont, only one thing is a given no lead is safe.
The Apaches fell behind two games to none and appeared destined to be swept out of their home gymnasium.
But the hosts mounted a comeback by taking the next two games to force a deciding fifth game.
Claremont eventually wrestled the momentum back to earn a five-game victory, 25-19, 25-20, 19-25, 21-25, 15-11 Friday night.
It was a credit to the team that would could come back and tie it at 2-2, Arcadia coach Chuck Freberg said. Usually when a team comes back like that you want to finish the fifth game, and were still learning how to finish.
Claremont (18-4, 5-0 ) rolled off relatively easy wins of 25-19 and 25-20 before Arcadia (12-4, 3-1) responded with emotional victories to set up the first-to-15 tiebreaker.
The Wolfpack jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the fifth game and never trailed.
Alo Tauaeses roof block put an end to the two-hour marathon.
Its just a privilege to compete with these people, Claremont coach Bernie Wendling said. Thats an epic five-game match where anybody can win, and its good high school volleyball with great plays by both sides.
Thats what its about and why we do this.
Senior middle blocker Scott Novak led Arcadia with 18 kills and tied setter James Alexander for the team-high with 16 blocks.
The Apaches also got a valiant effort out of junior outside hitter Nick Cvjetkovic.
Fighting off a sore right knee, Cvjetkovic posted 16 kills.
We knew this was going to be a good match and were disappointed that we came out with a lack of understanding of who we were playing, Freberg said. The third and fourth games, we settled down and made a couple of changes and it turned the tide.
We were hoping that it would go all the way through the fifth game, but we did some things that caused us not to do so well.
Claremont showcased a balanced hitting attack led by Keith Rossman, who collected 15 kills.
Geoff Powell and Andrew Zetterberg added 13 kills.
Theyre a great team and it just sets up an epic kind of a rematch at our place, Wendling said. We hope that it means the league championship when we see Arcadia again, but we have a lot of work between now and then.
The two teams, who split the league series at 1-1 with a pair of five-game matches last season, will meet again Apr. 24 at Claremont High.